Thursday, December 11, 2008

Review: Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway

When Audrey decides to break up with her aspiring-rockstar boyfriend, Evan, she doesn't think anything big will come of it. Girls and boys break up all the time, after all. As she's leaving him and he calls out "Audrey, wait!" she keeps walking - unaware that she was about to inspire the country's Next Big Song.

Evan turns the break up into his band's break out song. As they start jetsetting around the world, Audrey finds her small world - which extends to school, working at an ice cream shop, and going to as many awesome concerts as she can make it to - suddenly invaded by the paparazzi and crazy fans. While at first her newfound celebrity affords her some awesome opportunities - hello VIP backstage passes! - it also has a number of downsides: paparazzi photos of her sleeping in class and blog posts calling her ugly are just the beginning.

While Evan has made her an instant celebrity, Audrey just wants to continue on with life as usual: going to concerts with her best friend, finding a new boyfriend, and studying for the SAT. But as it becomes clear that life, at least for as long as "Audrey, Wait!" is on the Billboard top 100 charts, will be anything but normal, how will Audrey, her family and, most importantly, her friends handle the change?

I thought this was a great read overall. For the first few chapters Audrey's voice and slang kind of grated on me - it came across as the author trying too hard to be young and hip. But eventually the story became so engrossing that I hardly noticed it for the last half of the book.

There were some plot points that were obvious from a mile away, but it was still enjoyable to see how the plot got to that point.

Audrey is a very smart young woman, who knows how to take care of herself. Sure she makes some dumb moves sometimes (giving sarcastic interviews to journalists, for example), but at the important times she does the smart thing. When a pair of creepy wanna-be musicians show up at her door and try to steal a kiss so Audrey can become the inspiration for their next song, she holds her composure and tells them to scram. Additionally, Audrey isn't afraid of showing she's book-smart either; throughout the book she's pointing out the SAT and PSAT words she keeps using. It's a small addition, but I love it when books aren't afraid to blatantly show that their female characters are academically smart.

Also awesome: Robin Benway is one of the few authors I've seen who actually seems to get how text messaging/IM/message boards/blogs all work. And yet her characters are smart enough that when we see IM conversations it's not all "lol i c u l8r." They use a realistic combination of full sentences and some shorthand (for example, Audrey says over IM at one point "got 2 go, dinner"). It's such a small thing, but the internet has been such a major part of my life for so long that it's just jarring to me when people don't get it (Audrey at one point mentions her parents don't understand how she can talk on the phone, IM and e-mail all at once and she doesn't understand how they can't. I can't do quite all of that at once, but my parents sure don't understand how I manage to type as fast as I do, or understand why someone might text rather than call someone).

Ultimately, this is one of those books I found impossible to put down. I read it over the course of an evening, on the subway and on breaks at work, and found it a quick and very fun read.
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