Saturday, August 24, 2013

Don't Wait to Meet Audrey

Audrey, Wait!
by Robin Benway
Published by Razorbill
4 Out of 5 Stars

What to do when you come to the realization that, behind the pretty packaging, your boyfriend is basically a self-centered, narcissistic asshat? If you have a brain in your head, you dump him, of course. And that is precisely what Audrey does. Normally that would be the end of the story--except that Audrey's boyfriend has his own band, a modicum of talent, the inspiration for the ultimate break-up song, and a record executive coming to see his gig on the same night that Audrey dumps him. And so, out of Mr. Shallow's pain and anguish, the song, Audrey, Wait! is born, and it's not long before it's sweeping the country and racing up the charts. Suddenly, Audrey is famous and not coping so well. 

At first, I thought the idea that Audrey would become so famous for simply inspiring a hit song was a little over the top, but when I look around at the number of people who have become famous for doing absolutely nothing other than allowing cameras to follow them through their every waking moment, I had to admit that it's certainly possible. I like that Benway portrays Audrey realistically, bumbling through her new found fame and making mistakes that exacerbate the situation (such as talking to a reporter who doesn't register sarcasm, finding out a video of her making out with another singer has gone viral, allowing her fame to alienate her from her friends, etc.). I also enjoyed the fact that Audrey and her friends seem authentic. They're sarcastic and intelligent without becoming unbelievably hip, a la Nick and Norah of the infamous Infinite Playlist. There are quite a few funny moments, a fairly predictable romance (but, alas, such is the familiar landscape that is young adult lit), and an intelligent, funny, and strong female character. However, what really sold me on the whole concept is Benway's message about the pitfalls of fame--a message teenagers need to hear in a celebrity crazed, electronic media-based society. All in all, this makes for a fairly enjoyable read for adults, but a winning recipe for the target audience (I say this with authority as my female students love this book).

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