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Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey

Young Adult

I'm very excited to introduce my first YA novel, Finding Audrey.

Audrey is a teenage girl suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder. She has experienced bullying, and as a result has become virtually a prisoner in her own home. This is the story of her journey to recovery, with the help of a boy named Linus. It’s sad in places, but funny and romantic too.

I hope that you will find the story of Audrey and her chaotic family a funny and uplifting one. Audrey is brave, charming and resourceful girl and I hope she will inspire you as much as she has inspired me. I always fall in love with my heroines, but with Audrey I feel a special protective fondness, too.

Sophie x

Finding Audrey is out in paperback in May

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.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you...

Mum and Dad are out for the day with friends at some garden show and they've taken Frank with them to "broaden his horizons," so they have no idea I'm doing this. I couldn't face the whole big deal of telling them and Mum fussing and all that palaver. So I waited till they left, got my key, got my money and the camera, and just left the house.

Which I haven't done for . . .

I don't know. So long.

We live about twenty minutes' walk from Starbucks, if you're striding. I'm not striding. But I'm not stopping either. I'm going. Even though my lizard brain is poised to curl up in fright, I'm managing to put one foot in front of the other. Left, right. Left, right.

My dark glasses are on, my hands are jammed in the pockets of my hoodie, and I've pulled the hood up for extra protection. I haven't raised my gaze from the pavement but that's OK. Most people walk along in their own worlds anyway.

As I reach the town centre the crowds become denser and the shop fronts are bright and noisy and with every step I have a stronger desire to run, but I don't. I push on. It's like climbing a mountain, I tell myself. Your body doesn't want to do it, but you make it.

And then, at last, I've made it to Starbucks. As I approach the familiar façade I feel kind of exhausted, but I'm giddy too. I'm here. I'm here!

I push the door open and there's Linus, sitting at a table near the entrance. He's wearing jeans and a grey T-shirt and he looks hot, I notice before I can stop myself. Not that this is a date.

I mean, obviously it's not a date. But even so —

Midsentence Stop. Whatever. You know what I mean.

Linus's face brightens as he sees me, and he leaps up from the table.

"You made it!"

"Yes!"

"I didn't think you would."

"I didn't think so either," I admit.

"But you did! You're cured!"

His enthusiasm is so infectious I grin madly back and we sort of do a mini-dance, arms waving up and down.

"Shall we get some coffee?"

"Yes!" I say, in my new confident, everything's-fine way. "Great!"

As we join the queue I feel kind of wired. The music on the sound system is too loud and the conversations around me are hitting my eardrums with a force that makes me wince, but I'm going with it instead of resisting. Like you do at a rock concert, when your nerves get taken over by the force of the noise and you just have to surrender. (And yes, I appreciate most people would not equate low-level Starbucks chatter to a rock concert. All I will say is: Try living inside my brain for a bit.)

I can feel my heart pumping, but whether it's because of the noise or the people or because I'm with a hot-looking boy, I don't know. I give my order (caramel Frappuccino) and the surly girl behind the counter says, "Name?"

If there's one thing I don't want it's my name being shouted across a busy coffee shop.

"I hate the name thing," I mutter to Linus.

"Me too." He nods. "Give a fake one. I always do."

"Name?" repeats the girl impatiently.

"Oh. Um, Rhubarb," I say.

"Rhubarb?"

It's easy to keep a poker face when you're wearing dark glasses and a hoodie and you're looking off to one side.

"Yes, that's my name. Rhubarb."

"You're called Rhubarb?"

"Of course she's called Rhubarb," chimes in Linus. "Hey, Rhu, do you want anything to eat? You want a muffin, Rhu?"

"No, thanks." I can't help smiling.

"OK, Rhu. No problem."

"Fine. Rhu-barb." The girl writes it down with her Sharpie. "And you?"

"I would like a cappuccino," says Linus politely. "Thank you."

"Your name?"

"I'll spell it for you," he says. "Z-W-P-A-E-N—"

"What?" She stares at him, Sharpie in hand

"Wait. I haven't finished. Double-F-hyphen-T-J-U-S. It's an unusual name," Linus adds gravely. "It's Dutch."

I'm shaking, trying not to laugh. The Starbucks girl gives us both evil stares.

"You're John," she says, and scrawls it on his cup.

I tell Linus I'll pay because this is my documentary and I'm the producer, and he says OK, he'll get the next one. Then we take our cups — Rhubarb and John — and head back to our table. My heart is pounding even harder, but I'm on a high. Look at me! In Starbucks! Back to normal!

I mean, OK, I'm still in dark glasses. And I can't look at anyone. And my hands are doing weird twisty things in my lap. But I'm here. That's the point.

"I can feel his eyes on me all the time. Like sunshine."

Press reviews

A sympathetic and sensitive treatment of a teenage girl overcoming chronic anxiety... Her family are brilliantly drawn and her relationship with her brother's friend Linus is extremely touching, but it is the message of hope that resounds.

The Telegraph

Kinsella observes family life with win and a light touch.

The Sunday Times

Never underestimate Kinsella... There are echoes of classic Judy Blume here and it's all just lovely.

The Debrief

If you're a fan of Confessions of a Shopaholic, you're going to adore Sophie Kinsella's latest lovely novel... sad, funny and romantic all at once.

Shout

Her compassionate, insightful take on what it's like to live with anxiety is an eye-opener, but her trademark lightness of touch and gentle humour make it hugely entertaining, too.

The Lady

Emotional, captivating and ultimately uplifting - buy this for the teens in your life, as well as yourself.

The Daily Mail

Warm, funny and surprising.

Fabulous Magazine

A sweet and enjoyable read.

Heat

Your Comments

Posted by: Jean BrosiusJune 26, 2017

I loved this book mostly because my adopted daughter is very similar to Audrey. She also has a lizard brain and works hard not to listen to it. My daughter is now reading the book and she said, "Hey that's just like my brain!" It's so hard to be different when you're a teen and there's such a stigma attached to mental health issues. I love all your books for your sense of humor, but Finding Audrey is my new favorite. Thank you for writing this book!!!

Posted by: KateFebruary 26, 2017

Hi Sophie,

I wanted to let you know how much your writing has meant to me over the years. I am like Audrey and have also spent many weeks in hospitals throughout my teens and twenties. I started reading the Shopaholic Series during a hospital stay, which gave me such respite from my lizard brain. I wish I had had Finding Audrey to read as a young teenager, but I'm so happy to have it now at 32.

Thank you so much,
Kate

Posted by: Harmony CorralesFebruary 24, 2017

Hi Sophie,
I am really fond of your book Finding Audrey. I am 13 and will be graduating in a couple months. Wish me luck. I was wondering... why did you write this book? Was there a specific reason you did? But you did an AWESOME job!!!! WELL DONE ✅

Posted by: IsobelNovember 27, 2016

Hello Sophie


I'm 11 and I would like to tell you that this is the best book that I've ever read in my entire life. Thank you so much.


Isobel

Posted by: AnnikeNovember 10, 2016

Hello Sophie,
I want to start off by saying that Finding Audrey, was a really beautiful book that evoked so many emotions. I loved how the topic was so serious yet your spin off it was able to make it super engaging and also really funny. I laughed so many times at the interactions between Frank and his/Audrey's Mum.
I'm doing a project at school at the moment that focuses on Mental Health in Young Adult Fiction and I thought it was so amazing that you have taken the initiative to write about such a raw and important topic that is very prevalent in today's society.
I was wondering if when you were writing this book you had a clear goal of creating an accurate representation of anxiety? And what you think the most important thing to consider is when focusing on the topic of mental health in YA Fiction?
I absolutely loved your story, thank you so much.
Annike

Posted by: Jennie WrightAugust 4, 2016

Hi Sophie,

I read a lot of YA fiction, and Finding Audrey stood out from the crowd straightaway. I thought it was a great take on mental health - extremely realistic and not sugar coated at all. What I particularly enjoyed was how we didn't get sucked into the story of what happened to Audrey to 'make' her like that, especially as that is the whole point of recovery. I was socially anxious with agoraphobia in my teens, so I could empathise with Audrey a great deal, even though our triggers were different. You were spot on with anxiety and the therapy treatment - very nicely done. Reading this book made me remember the social experiments (and that graph) all too well, but definitely not in an unpleasant way.

Oh, and I absolutely loved Frank and his wit. It was very refreshing to read about ordinary teenagers with a spark.

Thank you for this book. I think you should write more YA - it suits your style.

Jennie

Posted by: Wendy Van der StraetenMarch 26, 2016

Dear Sophie,

Although I'm not a YA any more (well, third youth perhaps) I really loved it !

It's a real good read for young girls, struggling with adolescence, fighting their way through their teens, trying to find themselves.

I have a teenage daughter, so I see every day, over and over again the battle she's fighting and I'm sure Audrey's story will help her to find her own way.

When I read her the cover, she was enthousiastic to read the whole story ... now she's reading it, she gets even more excited about it and she even asks me to tell her how the story ends .... but I want her to find out for herself.

Reading the book, I felt a teenager again ...

Thanks Sophie for this great book.

Posted by: SymoneOctober 27, 2015

I am in Love with this book. I would really love and appreciate it if you make a squeal to this book. I have so many questions about it. Did Audrey go to her old school? How are her and Linus doing? Did there Mum stop acting crazy? I am so thankful for all of the time you put in your books and I know you're busy but please consider it. Bye

Posted by: ZoieAugust 6, 2015

Dear Sophie Kinsella,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful bundle of 286 pages! I am a fourteen year old resident of Canada, and after a long awaited haul, this book finally arrived at my library for pick up. I read it in one day, not wanting to wretch my eyes away from Audrey's world and the witty writing. I was laughing from the start, especially if it had to do with Audrey's mom (she probably was my favourite character aside from Audrey herself, although I loved all the characters- ALL OF THEM). I decided that spending one day with her wasn't enough, so I've taken to rereading it, and also went out to buy my own copy, since I couldn't dare let it drift apart from me. I fell in love with Audrey's story, fell in love with all the humour and the plot and EVERYTHING. I truly, truly hope you decide to write more YA, because this novel was an amazing example of this genre. I know I would read it ;)
So thank you for this great read, which has become one of my favourites.
Your YA fan,
Zoie :)

Posted by: ErinJuly 5, 2015

I picked up Finding Audrey to take on vacation with me last month. I've read all your books, including those written under Madeline Wickham, so I was excited for this newest addition!
Right away, I knew it was different. The style, the character, the subject matter. It gripped me. As a 35 year-old, I didn't realize at first that it was a YA book, but that made no difference. Having lived with anxiety and depression for the last decade or so, and currently going through a bit of a "dip" on my jagged graph, this book spoke to me in ways the others haven't. In fact, I will say I think it's your best to date.
I don't know if you have lived personally with anxiety, but the way you describe Audrey's lizard brain and her desire to just be better is so apt. I love this story. It has made me laugh, sniffle, and reminded me that life is not a straight line for anyone. Sometimes the worst part of anxiety is the sense that you are alone. But you're not. Thanks to you and Audrey for the reminder :)

Posted by: Emma CarterMay 2, 2015

I got to read this book before it was released for my young adult reviewing article for my local bookstore and absolutely loved it! It is one of those books where you get attached to the main character and can't put the book down! It is a great funny book and definitely my current favorite book! Can't wait for it to become a New York Times Bestseller!

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