Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Number of pages: 313
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked
California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!
Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.
Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.
* * *
I needed a break from all the dystopia an somewhat depressing books I’ve been reading lately, and Audrey, Wait! was the perfect one. I found this book while I was browsing in the Fully Booked and bought it impulsively — and now it’s one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever made.
Audrey is your normal teenage girl who likes music, goes to concerts, works for an ice cream store, hangs out with her best friend and has a musician boyfriend with an MF taylor guitar in tow. However, the musician boyfriend bit is slowly getting old and Audrey knew that she had to break up with him. After much support and list-making with her best friend Victoria, she finally breaks up with Evan in the most gentle way she knows how, and plans on moving on quietly. Nothing spectacular about that, right?
Except for two things: Evan finally found the inspiration to write a song about Audrey after she broke up with him, and they played it on their gig the next night where this bigwig producer was watching. And the song was good. Very good.
Wait, that was three things. Or four.
Audrey’s normal life gets turned upside down as The Song becomes a hit. Pretty soon Audrey gets mobbed by fans, chased by papparazzi, kissed by wannabe rockstars hoping for inspiration, and basically loses every bit of privacy she knows. All the while Audrey can’t wait for everything to die down — the question is, will it ever?
Audrey, Wait! is such a fun book. I love contemporary YA, but I do get sick of having to deal with characters who have dysfunctional relationships with their families, or have body image issues, or friendship issues or any other kind of issues. Sure, no one is perfectly adjusted even in books, but it’s nice to read about someone who has a good life who just happened to make the right decision at the wrong time. That’s Audrey. She’s probably the most normal character I have read in contemporary YA ever. She has good friends, good grades and even a friendly relationship with her parents. It’s comforting to read something like this because it shows that you don’t need to be a messed up protagonist to have a story — sometimes normal in extraordinary situations would work just as fine. Audrey’s voice was clear and distinct, and she often breaks the fourth wall in the story since she’s basically re-telling it to us (Example, on page 241: “He, Victoria and my parents were the only one who had my cell number, because someone — and if you’re reading this, I will find you, oh yes, I will — hacked into my phone and got the number…”). She’s snarky most of the time, but she’s also lovable and I can’t help but sympathize with her as the story went on.
Audrey is the type of person I want to be, but if I can’t be her, I want to have a best friend like Victoria. She’s one of the smart and memorable best friend characters I have ever read. More often than not, best friend characters are always watered down in order for the main character to shine. In Audrey, Wait!, Victoria has her own character without stealing the spotlight from Audrey. Her personality shone just as bright as Audrey did, and even if she seemed a bit selfish at times through out the story, I understood her well when she and Audrey finally fought (oh that is not a spoiler — you know best friends often fight in contemporary YA novels). Favorite Victoria moment: when she brought coffee and a hammer to Audrey after being caught on video with the lead singer of the Lolitas. Coffee for the bad morning and hammer to smash the CDs to smithereens. If that is not a real best friend, then I don’t know what is. :)
The love interests are also very fleshed out. Evan disappears to be on tour soon after they play the hit song, but his presence was never gone in the story. He is the so-called antagonist that redeemed himself in the end without glossing over his flaws and offenses. James, on the other hand, is a sweet and sensitive guy that took Audrey (and me) by surprise. He’s one of those male YA characters that you can’t help but like, and maybe even have a crush on? :P He isn’t my type of guy, but I thought he was a cute and well-characterized male character.
Audrey, Wait! is peppered with so much fun dialogue that I can’t help but giggle at a lot of parts (best example in my Teaser Tuesday post yesterday). Unlike other contemporary YA novels, this one takes stuff from real life and adds fictional elements to it so it’s easier to relate to. It’s a novel with music at its center so don’t be surprised when you see artists such as Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, Belle & Sebastian, REM and the like on chapter titles and within the story. References to Lindsay Lohan and other Hollywood celebrities are there, too, as well as other pop culture, like Harry Potter (“Get over here and talk to her. She’s a reporter, not a Dementor.” – p. 57). The author knows how to make scenes sentimental/poignant and funny at the same time — another example:
“I just want you to know that, okay? I don’t want you to be scared that I can’t handle his. I mean, you know, whatever this is.” He waved his hand to indicate the general insanity that had taken over my life.
His heart was beating even louder now, and I closed my eyes and tried to calm my pulse down to match his. “I’m not scared of that,” I murmured, and I wasn’t. “That doesn’t scare me.”
“What does scare you?”
I thought for a minute, tapping my index finger against my bottom lip. “Sock puppets.”
See what I mean?
I think the only “flaw” this novel may have is the sheer unbelievabilty of the story. Okay, not so much I guess, because what happened to Audrey is possible. I’m just not sure if it can happen in real life in the scale that happened to Audrey. But I guess us normal girls can pick up a few lessons from this story: if you value your privacy,* don’t date someone who will write a song about you when you break up and make it big after. Or at least, don’t break up with them before a big gig. Or something to that effect. Personally, I think Audrey, Wait! shows us that normal non-rockstar guys are still the best. ;)
This is a novel with a happy ending, but not without any difficulties getting there, so expect a ride through fame, fights and a realistic resolution — as realistic as Audrey’s situation can be, that is. This is a fun and crazy read, and while it’s not something I will profess my love for, it’s a book that will definitely be on my favorites. :)
Post Title credit: Anberlin’s Audrey, Start the Revolution