‘Finding Audrey’ by Sophie Kinsella

280p 2015 Penguin Random House Library

41r2t6m2bsdl-_sx326_bo1204203200_14 year old Audrey has struggled with depression and anxiety ever since she had a mental breakdown due to bullying months ago. She’s terrified of making eye contact with anyone, and consequently always wears dark glasses, even though she barely leaves the house. With a slightly chaotic family, Audrey tries to just disappear into the background, but when her brother’s gamer friend, Linus, tries to talk to her and start a conversation, she has no idea what to do.

Each time he comes round, friendly Linus persists in talking to her. They start writing notes, and Audrey gradually begins to relax around him, realising that she may also have deeper feelings for him. Linus encourages her to leave the house, and slowly, Audrey begins to feel confident that she’s beating her illness, despite warnings that she might go downhill again.

But with her mom on the warpath, and other family problems, will Audrey always be on the way up?

Finding Audrey is a very special book. It effortlessly covers the serious topic of mental illness in teens, but Sophie Kinsella kept the story light and witty, which consequently had me giggling all the way through. The characters were wonderfully written and Audrey’s descriptions of having a mental illness made me realise, and understand a few more things about what it is like to suffer from the condition.

The plot moved along quickly, and I liked the way that Audrey ‘talked’ straight to you, like in a video blog. She didn’t immediately divulge all her back-story, as if she was getting to know you and becoming comfortable with telling you stuff about herself. It made her relatable and it felt like she was a real person.

Finding Audrey is a great read, and an important one too. I would definitely tell everyone to put it on their TBR list- now!

‘The Songbird Cafe Girls: Sunny Days and Moon Cakes’ by Sarah Webb

178p

2015

Walker Books

Bought

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Sunny and her younger sister Min were adopted from China when they were small, and now live in a castle on Little Bird Island off the coast of Ireland with their adoptive parents. Eight year old Min goes to the tiny primary school, but Sunny is home-educated by her mom. She has selective mutism, and physically can’t talk to anyone apart from her parents and Min. She completely relies on the three of them to tell everyone what she wants to say, and there are only a couple other people who understand her: Mollie and Alanna.

Soon after her 13th birthday, Sunny is introduced to a new selective mutism specialist, Rosie. She’s unlike all the doctors Sunny’s had before, and she actually understands what Sunny is going through. She talks to Sunny as if she’s a real person, and Sunny communicates with her by drawing and writing. 

As a birthday present from her parents, Sunny and her family are going to China to visit where the sisters were born. The prospect of facing and maybe being forced to communicate with so many people makes Sunny want to hide forever, but she can’t help wanting to see her homeland again.

Sunny and her family visit places that she and Min had been to before, and also the orphanage that they stayed at after their parents died. The trip brings back many memories to the sisters, of their birth parents and old life. Sunny slowly realises over the trip how much her condition affects Min and her parents, and how hard it is for Min to have a sister who can’t speak in public. 

On their return, Sunny makes small progress with Rosie, but when Min is in danger and Sunny can’t do anything about it, she is spurred on to try even harder. 

Will Sunny ever speak in public again?

I thought Sunny Days and Moon Cakes was another amazing book by Sarah Webb. It covered selective mutism very well, and by the end of the book, I had learnt a lot more about the condition.

The characters were portrayed very well, and you could truly understand what Sunny was going through. Min was definitely one of my favourite characters, and near the end of the book Sunny realised how much her condition effects the entire family, and not just her.

I am really looking forward to the next book in The Songbird Cafe Girls series: Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin.

 

What I Read in January

61fs8sw69rl-_sx329_bo1204203200_The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

 The Lie Tree is a fabulous book. I loved the concept and the writing perfectly suited the era it was set in. The plot kept me breathless until the end, and I just went and reserved Frances’ Cuckoo Song at my local library.

I had only finished reading it a few days ago, when it was announced that it won the Costa Book Awards 2015. So congratulations Frances!

 

Wings, by Aprilynne Pike513bmav0hml-_sx340_bo1204203200_

 I’ve re-read quite a few books this month, and after remembering how much I enjoyed it a few years ago, I decided to pick Wings up.

Once more, I was spell-bound by this modern-day tale of faeries. All the perfect elements are included to make a wonderful, magical series, that I could read over and over again.

 

41kfr8qkxil-_sx324_bo1204203200_All The Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

I’d heard a lot about this book, but to be honest, I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it. (I don’t know why!) But was I wrong!

The story captivated me from start to finish, and I may have shed a tear or ten. It was such a heart-breaking read, and to my delight, I’ve heard that a movie based on All The Bright Places is going to be released this year.

 

61ia2bavjlzl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Model Under Cover: Deadly by Design, by Carina Axelsson

The third book in the fabulous Model Under Cover series was, if possible, even better than the last two.

These mystery books are so detailed and the pace is well-set. I’m definitely looking forward to Carina’s next book, Model Under Cover: Dressed To Kill.

To see my review of the first book in the Model Under Cover series, A Crime of Fashion, click here.

 

41r2t6m2bsdl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

I’d heard so much about this book, and was very excited when I saw it in my local library.

I thought it was a brilliant book, mainly covering the serious topic of mental illness, but written so that I snorted with laughter quite frequently. Loved it!