My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
“Most people underestimate eyes. They’re infinite. You look someone straight in the eye and your whole soul can be sucked out in a nanosecond. Other people’s eyes are limitless and that’s what scares me.”
To say that I didn’t enjoy reading this would be a lie. It was a refreshing book because it approached something serious like mental illness in a lighthearted way.
Audrey was diagnosed with Social and General Anxiety Disorder. She has temporarily stopped going to school, locked herself up inside the house, and could only interact with the ones she labeled as “safe people”. And oh, she wears dark glasses 24/7 to avoid eye contact.
The family aspect of this was incredibly comical. Frank, his older brother who is “addicted” to a computer game called LOC; her mother who is obsessed with trying to stop her son’s addiction to computer games; and her father who is trying his best to support his wife’s established rules. The family dynamic was funny, quirky, and reading it felt like watching a sitcom, I kept waiting for the collected sound of laughter from the audience. That being said some the scenes didn’t feel very realistic to me, it was too comical especially the character of Audrey’s mother.
This is my first Sophie Kinsella book, I didn’t know what to expect. But I guess that her writing style is really on point, it was lighthearted, well written and filled with humorous dialogue.
I have two issues with this book. First, is that I was underwhelmed with the details of Audrey’s anxiety disorder. Something happened in the past but it was never elaborately discussed. I thought that it was just finding the perfect moment to be dropped, but it never did. This may not bother other readers but I wanted it to have more depth with what triggered her anxiety.
And the second one which really bothered me and hindered me from truly enjoying this book is the Romance. Linus, is a lovable character—sweet, supportive, and thank goodness he wasn’t used a magical cure for mental illness—maybe, he’s so lovable that’s why Audrey INSTANTLY fell in love with him. I was so put-off by the sudden attraction of Linus to Audrey, it lacked depth and was under developed. I couldn’t deny that they became a really cute couple, there was a lot of warm and fuzzy moments but I the critical part of me kept asking where did the attraction came from? Because they literally met a couple of times, where in Audrey actually flee at the sight of him, pass a few notes to each other, and then POOF…they’re making out. Insta-love is real strong in this one.
Overall Audrey’s character was remarkably developed, she left like realistic teenager living with anxiety and panic attacks. Mental illness was also portrayed very well, her journey towards recovery was believable. She wasn’t magically cured by any means or by anyone, it was a series of ups and downs, and in the end she has progressed a lot but still far away from being cured. I commend the author for her approach with this book. It was a fun and quick read, it’s a shame that it didn’t fully deliver for me. Nevertheless, I still recommend this to anyone who wants to read something humorous and lighthearted.
“I think what I’ve realized is, life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn’t matter if you slip down. As long as you’re kind of heading more or less upwards. That’s all you can hope for. More or less upwards.”
I just had to mention these, every time I see, read, or think about the title it always reminds me of Finding Dory! And the name Linus, reminds me of Linux the Operating system with a penguin logo. So basically I picture Linus as a penguin.