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Monday, January 24, 2011

'Audrey, Wait!' by Robin BENWAY

From the BLURB:

When her ex writes a break-up song about her that rockets up the charts, Audrey is suddenly famous--she can't go out without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Readers can take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, confronts her ex on MTV, and shows the world who she really is. This irresistible, fast-paced novel has a totally hot new paperback cover! It’s the song everyone’s singing. And it’s about her! But for Audrey, becoming famous overnight equals total, life-changing disaster. . .

Breaking up is hard to do, Audrey Cuttler knows this. But you’ve also gotta do what you gotta do . . . so she drew up a list of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ and decided that her self-absorbed, stoner/musician boyfriend, Evan, had to be dumped. Little did Audrey know that she would become Evan’s unwilling muse. The Yoko to his Lennon. The Sedgwick to his Warhol. The Delilah to his Plain White T’s. Because when Audrey breaks Evan’s heart, he writes a song about it. A song for his band, The Do-Gooders, called ‘Audrey, Wait!’.

Pretty soon ‘Audrey, Wait!’ is being played on college radio stations. And then Audrey’s yearbook picture runs in the local tabloids. And then The Do-Gooders tour Japan. And then Evan goes on MTV bad-mouthing the musician of another band that Audrey supposedly hooked up with (if grainy YouTube footage is anything to go by). And when Audrey starts to fall for her geeky co-worker the paparazzi and money-hungry classmates come out of the woodwork. . . Breaking up really shouldn’t be this hard.

Robin Benway’s debut Young Adult novel came out in 2008. And I really want to yell at someone (mainly, myself) for keeping this book a secret from me. Seriously! It’s amazing and wickedly cool and I'm only just reading it now, in 2011? What gives?!

This book has an outlandish storyline that most readers will find themselves dissociated with. Seriously, unless you’re Danielle Deleasa (hairdresser married to a Jonas brother . . . don’t ask me how I know that) the general plot of ‘Audrey, Wait!’ will just be a highly entertaining and fantastical fantasy ride. What saved this book from being a total disconnect for young readers is Robin Benway’s stellar voice and a charismatically sarcastic leading lady.

Audrey Cuttler narrates and is a storyteller with a mission. She speaks in first person and is up-front about wanting to set the record straight. No doubt we (the reader) have already bopped along to that Billboard hit, ‘Audrey, Wait!’. No doubt we saw the music video and read the rumours about Audrey’s fling with The Lolita’s front-man. Now it’s Audrey’s turn to have a say. . . She’s just a girl who wanted to break up with her boyfriend. She isn’t an actress, singer or songwriter. She’s no Lindsay or Kardashian sister. There is no reason she should be ‘famous’. . . but she is, because of one smash-hit song.

Benway is writing Audrey’s life as a real ‘what if?’. What if you were suddenly famous? What if your ex-boyfriend became a celebrity overnight? How would you handle it? The plot is still a total fantasy-read, but I loved the fact that Benway wrote Audrey as an average high-schooler thrust (unwillingly and unhappily) into the spotlight.

Audrey is one of those very special fictional characters . . . one of those characters (imaginary or not) that you wish was real so you could be besties. You wish you could go to a concert with them, borrow their cd’s and just generally bask in their awesomeness. She’s witty and snarky and unknowingly cool. So cool that you wish you could be half as quick with the comebacks and hyperbole and say half the things she does with an iota of her cool-delivery. That kind of character, ya know what I mean?

Audrey’s exchanges with her best friend, Victoria, ooze awesome and are of that ‘Gilmore Girls’ irreverence:
Victoria paused and I could tell she was trying not to smile. “Did you just say ‘frolic’?”
“Is it not a word?”
“Who the hell says ‘frolic’?”
I spun the lock on my locker and waited for it to stick like it always did on thirty-three. “I say frolic,” I told her. “And more people should.”
“They should say frolic or actually frolic?”
“Both.”
I also loved the fact that Audrey’s parents play a role in this book. I hate it when YA novels sweep the parent’s under the rug and author’s forget that the typical teenager interacts with their parent/s quite a bit. In ‘Audrey, Wait!’ Audrey’s parents are forced to protect their daughter by any means necessary . . . from the paparazzi, money-grubbing classmates and word-twisting reporters;
My mom sat down at the table and I followed her lead. “We’re not trying to ruin your life, you know.”
“Yeah. I know.”
“Because if we ruin your life, then you’re going to be one of those kids that lives in the den and never moves out, and your father and I have plans to retire someday. It’s not in our best interest to ruin your life. We’d like to see Tahiti.”
Audrey’s parents are actually pretty cool. They’re like Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci in the movie ‘Easy A’ – parental units who actually get along with their kid without being overly schmaltzy beacons of reason and maturity.

The best thing about ‘Audrey, Wait!’ is Robin Benway’s voice. Benway is like Nick Hornby for the young, female set. She effortlessly meshes teen melodrama with a killer soundtrack and keeps the quips coming fast and furious. She has exactly my sense of humour and taste in music. From Jay Z’s ’99 Problems’ to Taking Back Sunday’s ‘Cute without the E’. Reading ‘Audrey, Wait!’ is like browsing through someone else’s iPod and constantly going “I love this song! Yessssss! I freakin love this track!”. An instant connection and a new ‘must-buy’ author for me.

This book is just painfully cool. Everything about it – from Benway’s stellar taste in music to Audrey’s wicked sense of humour and the tenderly slow romance between her and a geeky red-headed boy. Everything just works and rocks. . .

5/5

2 comments:

  1. *scribbling title down on my "go buy" list* This does sound like a good read.

    (And I love that you mentioned Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci - two of my favorite actors!)

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  2. wow this sounds awesome! I laughed when you said: "The Delilah to his Plain White T’s" LOL I love that song hehe =P

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