International Writers Magazine: Young Fiction
Wait! by Robin Benway
Hodder Childrens Books
16-year old Audrey, breaking up with her wannabe rock star boyfriend
Evan should have been easy. Indeed, she thought it would be. That
was, until Evan hit the big time with his band the Do-Gooders
and aired his opinions of Audrey, their relationship and her dumping
method in public, for the whole world (but more importantly her
classmates) to hear.
teen Audrey, life would never be the same. She was now an overnight
celebrity, with classmates chanting her name down the corridors at high
school, rock stars wanting to have sex with her and the paparazzi swarming
around her whenever she left the house. The only unchanging, completely
dependable things in her life now was her best friend Victoria, her
loving, if not slightly over-protective parents and her highly strung,
chubby cat with glandular problems.
Like many teen novels before it, this is primarily a journey of self
discovery. Audrey is an extremely likeable protagonist. You feel genuine
warmth towards her and want her to triumph over Sharon, the evil boyfriend-stealing
girl in her class and the many characters who only associate with her
in order to heighten their own celebrity or to make money
from her side of the story.
In a culture where Big Brother and X Factor
can essentially manufacture celebrities from thin air, this novel is
extremely relevant. Not only because it reflects the power of the media,
particularly the internet, but also because it shows how fame can affect
young people, especially if such fame has been unwillingly thrust upon
them. Audreys story is not one of a young girl basking in the
glory of fame but instead, of one who is filled with fear of it. She
does not court the press, she did not seek attention, but still people
call her disgusting names on internet chat rooms and speculate about
her without any real knowledge of her, (apart from what a bitter ex-boyfriend
wrote about in a song- You crucified my heart, took every part,
and hung them out to drrrrryyyyyyy). It is certainly a tale that
young teens who aspire to be famous should consider.
However, the language in this novel is confusing. It is written from
Audreys point of view and the dialogue between Audrey and her
peers seems immature. Although there is a wide range of advanced vocabulary
used, its not necessarily useful or relevant to the conversations
between Audrey and her friends. The characters seem to exploit language
for the sake of it in an unrealistic manner and I feel it would become
annoying for anyone above the age of fourteen, but the regular use of
swear words and references to drugs and sex would discourage me in recommending
it to someone so young.
The pace is also slowed considerably by Audreys after-thoughts
which are sometimes charming but mostly unnecessary as the plot is well
defined without them. English teens may also find the regular references
to American culture a struggle, although I could not use that as an
excuse not to read this book.
Audreys relationship with Victoria really defines this book. Despite
neither of them being the perfect friend, their love for
one another is steadfast and the most emotional parts of the novel are
when the two of them are interacting. Although fairly predictable, the
ending of the story is effective and will certainly satisfy young readers.
Audrey, Wait! Is a predictable and sometimes unbelievable story but
is packed to the brim with charm and it is very easy to imagine it being
re-written as a screenplay for a teen chick flick!
© Sophie Berry
Sophie is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
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