For a long while I've been think about the lack of books which talk about young people suffering from anxiety. We could look to John Green's Looking For Alaska where the romantic lead suffers from panic attacks but I always felt that her difficulties only existed to add to her flighty and mysterious nature. You can't have a line like 'If I was a drizzle then she was a hurricane' and expect her to be like everyone else. I think that is so damaging because you place an illness in the position of a personality trait and portray it as fetish. Is seems harsh but that is what I've been finding quite a bit in YA fiction. That is until now.
Finding Audrey is written by Sophie Kinsella who up to this point has been known for her amazingly entertaining Shopaholics series for adults which I read a number of years ago and to say I was curious about this new book is an understatement. It follows the story of Audrey who suffers from a number of mental health issues after an incident involving some girls from her school which has left her unable to leave the house or look anyone in the eye and needs to wear sunglasses everywhere. We have a lovely romantic interest in Linus, a online game playing friend of her brothers who tries to bring Audrey out her shell.
This book is lighthearted and accessible enough that it makes a very good read, even for teens who wouldn't be into a book which delves so deeply into a sensitive topic. We hear about Audrey's treatment in therapy and her medications all while she navigates crushes and trying to survive her over the top parents.
Kinsella is true to form and has toned down her writing to make a truly interesting book for teens, something that not all authors can do. If your young person is a very avid reader, the style and linguistic level of this book may not appeal to them; it is a simple book which focuses on delivering its content without being inhibited by over-complicating things. I really enjoyed this book and although it may be a bit of a hard sale, no more than any other books on mental health we sell these days, it's so important that these conversations are had and we see the girls going through them as characters in their own right, not fetishes!