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The International Writers Magazine: Young Fiction

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
ISBN: 978-0-340-97050-8
Hodder Children’s Books
Sophie Berry

For 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.

For Californian 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. Audrey’s 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 Audrey’s point of view and the dialogue between Audrey and her peers seems immature. Although there is a wide range of advanced vocabulary used, it’s 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 Audrey’s 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.

Audrey’s 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 October 2008
Sophie is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth

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