I read this book ages ago and have yet to find something as fun, fresh, and whip-smart in the chicklit-ish end of the teen spectrum as Robin Benway’s debut novel. Audrey, Wait! was much lauded and much loved by kids lit bloggers when it first arrived on the scene, but since it IS one of my favourites, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of praise.
The basic premise is girl breaks up with boy, boy writes song about it, song becomes huge, girl becomes centre of media frenzy. Anyone with a passing interest in pop or celebrity culture will eat this book up. Each chapter is better than the one previous, building up to one of the most rah-rah, fist-pumpingly awesome, you-go-girl (for lack of a more current phrase) conclusions you’re likely to find in contemporary fiction. I can only imagine how exhilarating that scene must have been to write. It’s the kind of scene that if it were in a movie, the audience would cheer. Think Bridget Jones telling Daniel Cleaver off as she leaves the office once and for all, except for an MTV generation.
A love of music is at the heart of the novel, which will appeal to teens of all different stripes, regardless of specific musical tastes. Somehow, Audrey manages to be indie and yet not so hipster that I want to roll my eyes. I love that she causes a musical phenomenon, fashion statements, and media frenzy completley inadvertently. In short, I want to be Audrey’s best friend.
Excellent supporing cast here. Audrey’s best friend Victoria is typically quirky, but even better, she is in a loving, committed relationship with the adorable (and patient) Jonah. Audrey’s newest love interest, a fellow minimum-wage ice cream slinger, is a gangly super nerd who would fit right at home in The Burrow with the Weasleys. But nice boys can surprise you, and Audrey learns that there is more to super nerd than she originally thought.
There is a lot of debate about the lack of parenting and good role modelling going on in YA fiction. While a ficticious bad parent doesn’t bother me, it is refreshing to read about kids who like (and for the most part) respect their parents, and parents who trust (and also parent!) their children. John Green is excellent at this. So is Robin Benway. The relationship between Audrey and her folks is open, honest, and supportive. The drama in this book is definitely not familial.
If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, or just something fun as we head into spring at long last, then Audrey, Wait! is just what you need. Personally, I’m counting down the days until Benway’s next book, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June, is released this August.
Audrey, Wait! is available now from Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin.