Having found success through her Shopaholic series, author Sophie Kinsella has now written her first Young Adult Novel. Teenager Audrey suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder due to bullying at her school. Currently taking some time off she is trying to combat her anxieties with help from her therapist while also dealing with her eccentric family. Finding communicating and even eye contact difficult she nevertheless finds herself bonding with her brother’s friend Linus. Can she turn her life around?
I haven’t read Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, although I did enjoy her other novel Can You Keep a Secret? It was light and easy enough to read. Needing a book to read on holiday I thought I’d give Kinsella’s new book a try, and I’m glad a did as I was really impressed with it.
Protagonist Audrey was a likely and sympathetic character. Even if you can’t relate to all her problems, everyone has been in situations which they have felt difficult or shy so it’s easy to feel empathy for Audrey. I was wondering how good Kinsella would be at tackling a subject like Social Anxiety Disorder, but she writes about it sympathetically and informatively. She also doesn’t make Audrey’s attempt at recovery seem easy or without setbacks.
While being sad at times, the book is also quite funny, with Audrey’s family providing a lot of the laughs. Her mother’s ongoing battle with Audrey’s brother over his computer is funny and Audrey herself also has a good sense of humour despite all that’s happened to her. The book also manages to change tone convincingly, going from touching, sad, funny and romance with ease. Love interest Linus is appropriately sensitive and funny, being the perfect match to bring Audrey out of herself.
While I would have liked to have known more about the bullying incidents that caused Audrey to retreat from the world that is a minor quibble to a great read. Fans of Sophie Kinsella and YA books should both enjoy Kinsella’s latest novel.