Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: June 9th, 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Mental Health,
My Rating: 4 Stars
Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.
Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.
So a while back, Mackenzie Lee was talking about this book and I decided I had to listen to it. I have to say that I agree with her assessment. I found this a realistic take on anxiety and mental illness that I haven’t read before, and I found it refreshing in a way.
I understood Audrey. Much of how Audrey acts and what she doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but she’s just suffered a mental break. She can come across self-centered and a bit full of herself at times, but that’s the nature of the illness. I catch myself doing it too, it’s the nature of anxiety, I think this is why I enjoyed Audrey and taking this journey with her.
This book also has a great representation of family and sibling relationships. I think many YA books lack this, they tend to focus on friend groups and the family units either don’t exist or they aren’t important. I loved the mom. I thought she was characterized through a teenage girl’s eyes beautifully. All our moms are a bit nutty when we’re 14 or 15 years old right? This mom is that perfect, slightly nutty but means well and is, if you pull back the lens of seeing her through the eyes of her fourteen-year-old daughter, just doing her best. I loved Audrey’s relationship with her brothers, especially Frank, Felix is only four, but she still clearly has a cute relationship with him as well. The whole unit works together in fun mostly functional family way.
To pick a negative, toward the middle of the book, there’s a bit of a “this boy with save me” theme that I really wasn’t a fan of. After finishing the book I get it, but there was a bit there in the middle where I was worried about where the book was going. I had to take a minute, remember the narrator of the book was fourteen. Many of her mistakes can be blamed on the fact that she’s fourteen.
Overall, for me, this was a lovely little book about social anxiety and learning about oneself through the journey of finding the new normal. There’s a lot of talk in this book about the “emotion graph” and how it’s never a straight line. That’s the important thing I took from this book, and I think Audrey takes from it as well.
I think if you’re looking of a character-driven story that has a feel-good vibe, this is one to pick up. I think the mental health representation was good and the characters are delightful.
Until next time, Internet,