An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized.
She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before.
As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.
I've heard mixed things about this one and honestly, I understand why. Also, I've read it because it's short so I knew that my agony won't be long. Honestly it wasn't that bad, but don't expect a deep read, feelings, complex characters, an engaging plot or a honest and realistic portrayal of anxiety and social anxiety, because for sure this is not.
I don't have anxiety, but just thinking logically, if Audrey had anxiety of such degree, even if she wanted and she tried very hard, and wouldn't have 'cured' herself that fast. Because having anxiety is not just a constant fight with the outside, situations and people, but also a struggle with yourself, your body and your brain; as far as I know and as far as I experienced instances of anxiety, even though not that severe, you maybe want to be better, to get out, to be happy and have a good laugh, but your body will be tired and scared and you'll feel nauseous and nervous and sweaty etc. Your brain will go into panic mood and you'll feel like running or hidding, you wouldn't leave your room or house even though you're completely ready to go, you won't be able to convince yourself to open the door and go out. Even though nothing and no one will hurt you. You know it, but a part of your brain and your body don't believe you. So, for me, Audrey's journey seemed faked, unrealistic and superficially treated by the author and by the characters. Even by Audrey.
Yes, she went to therapy and she took small steps and bla bla, but you can't go from not leaving the house, not talking to anyone, not looking at anyone and barely speaking, to getting out in crowded places, getting touchy with someone and confronting the people that got you into that as easy as you blink. Because maybe you want all of this, but your brain and body won;t. And I haven't seen this conflict portrayed in the book, and in my opinion, is very important. Or maybe Audrey didn't get it, because the author didn't care for it and thought it was unimportant. I'm not saying that anxiety is the same for everyone, but if this book wants to portray anxtiety then at least try to make it as realistic as possible. You can read about it, tons of books and articles, there're movies, probably, you can ask people who suffer or suffered from it. Information is everywhere.
Also, can we speak about the fact that Audrey wanted to get better just to be more with Linus and she started taking bigger steps because of him? Like how unrealistic and cliché is that?! So, if a person falls or cares a lot about a guy or another someone, she or he instantly would want to get better and she/he would find the power to do it and the brain and body would conform. And all the anxtiety would be gone. Really? In my mind, in a realistic way, if Audrey cared for Linus, it would have taken a lot more time and for sure she wouldn't have gone to a freaking crowded area to meet him. Or love cures anxiety and I didn't know that? How stupid I am! Every person who has anxiety or other disorder should fall in love and would be cured. How fucking awful and utopic this sounds. And I'm not saying that people that care and give you love, attention, they offer their shoulder to cry on and support, they give you space and so on, don;t matter, but they can't make miracles.
I'm so tired of this idea that if a girl, because usually is used more with girls in YA (even though is a lot used in NA too), needs help with a battle or she doesn't have money, she's sick, her cat was stolen or she has a illness or a disorder, she will be cured if the prince or the geek returns her feelings. Love conquers all! * let me puke * And it doesn't work! Because in reality, people who suffer from anxiety, to get back to this book, have already family and friends who care for them, love them, try to make life easier for them and etc, and still that person is feeling bad, because anxiety doesn't give a fuck for love. And if you have severe anxiety, you want even those peole to stay far away from you. But I'm sure that sexual love and attraction and butterflies and unicorn rainbow vomit is the perfect cure for this disorder. I'm wonder why the fuck doctors and scientists are still trying to do their job if the cure is already under their noses and it's working...
Audrey, as the other characters in the book, seemed unidimensional to me, they had nothing special and sometimes they just made me roll my eyes for what they were saying. For example, the mom, god! I still try to believe that a mother like that doesn't exist and is just the nightmare or the crazy idea of an author. Or if the author tried to be funny, it just had me cringing and swearing the whole time, desiring to to just strangle the woman with her bare hands. HER HANDS! That mad I was. The father was of course another cliché character, just listening to the mother, because she knows best for the family and the children, even when she's freaking crazy and listens to a fucking newspaper, and who tries every second to lock himself away from family when is not at work. I mean, who doesn't do that? I think that from the whole story I liked Frank, he seemed ok, and I'm sorry for him that he had to live with a mother like that; who knew 'the best for him' from a freaking newspaper. But I'm no parent and maybe there're tons of crazy parents and people who think that they know best for they children and instead they ruin their lives.
Did I like this book? No. It was ok, a very fast and easy read. It's not my first from Sophie Kinsella, because I've read some of her adult ones, so I kind if knew her style. I knew that is best if my expectations aren't high. You would enjoy this as a simple novel with teenagers and a crazy family with a 'special' mom, and not a book about a girl who has anxiety and social anxiety... because if you read this for that part, you'll be very disappointed. Is not real at all. Or maybe it is, if you think that everyone who doesn't have anxiety thinks this way and they are like 'oh, she has anxiety but she just has to try more! I'm sure is not such a big deal!'. And it's a big deal! Would I recommend this? Yes, you can read it, so you know how people think that anxiety is easy and highly treatable in a matter of days and weeks, you just need to fall in love! Or you can read it, to see how so many people think that anxiety is just a phase and you will get over it, just wait. Nope. Or you have anxiety and as Audrey you think that is treatable as fuck, and then... I dunno, good for you. Even though, I highly doubt it.