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Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Well, well, well. It's still June and here I am posting my review for this month's Tell Me What to Read selection. This is very encouraging. It helps that my library had a copy in right when I checked and it's a very fast, engaging read. My friend Karen has been trying to get me to read Audrey, Wait! for the last few months and I was happy it popped up this time around. I really had meant to read it when it came out in 2008 and the host of favorable reviews spurred me on, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. I knew just the very basic premise of the book and I knew it involved a lot of great rock music--always a plus--and something about the title just sort of grabs you, doesn't it? I'm also a fan of the original hardback cover. I think the swirling neon colors surrounding the girl with her head flung to the side combine to form a good representation of the sort of eye of the pop culture hurricane Audrey finds herself in in this story.

Audrey never thought that breaking up with her high school boyfriend Evan would land her in such hot water. Evan is the lead singer of a local band and Audrey has been his support system for too long. Every ounce of energy either of them have gets sucked into "the band" and Audrey's decided it's high time to cut the cord and let both of them move on. But Evan is floored by the news. He calls out to her to wait as she walks out the door, but Audrey feels it's best to make a clean break. She doesn't turn back. And, in that moment, everything changes. Evan writes a song that night entitled, "Audrey, Wait!" And the song goes viral. Before she realizes it, Audrey's song is being played on local stations, Evan and the band have an agent, they head out on tour, and everyone on the planet it seems knows her as that girl who inspired that hit song. Things only spiral further out of control from there. Audrey's parents struggle to keep her safe, while her best friend Victoria expresses her support by attempting to capitalize on all the free publicity and sponsorship tossed Audrey's way. Meanwhile Audrey would like to just hide from it all, keep her head down, and work at her after school job at the Scooper-Dooper with her socially challenged, co-worker James, who seems blissfully unaware she has become an international music icon. But the song's growing fandom (and their intense focus on Audrey) will have none of that. And the possibility of a "normal" life just keeps growing further and further away.

First off, Robin Benway's setup is just fantastic. Great title, great idea, great chapter titles, each of them a single line from a famous song and most of them ones that I know and love. Just try to wipe the grin off my face when I start a chapter headed by a line from Stars' "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" or anything by Belle & Sebastian or The Velvet Underground. I found myself giggling through many of the early pages and I liked Audrey just fine. She really did feel like a normal girl thrown into insanely unforeseen circumstances. I liked that Evan was never really the Bad Guy. He had his heart broken. Legitimately. And he's the lead singer of an indie band. What else is he supposed to do? Of course he writes a song about it. And, as the best songs are inspired by acute emotional pain, it was a hit. Audrey and Evan are separated by the whole fame thing almost instantly and when they finally do talk again, I enjoyed their conversations immensely. Another thing I enjoyed immensely was Scooper-Dooper perpetual employee of the month James. He was the cause of most of my giggles throughout the book and he is a great example of a good guy worth swooning over. It was very gratifying to watch Audrey realize this about him. Also, one particular scene set in a walk-in freezer was particularly enjoyable. The thing that was not the source of any giggling for me was her best friend Victoria. It turns out I am excessively tired of the perky, extroverted best friend who is solely there for comic relief and often doesn't seem to get the main character that well, certainly not the way I think a best friend should. Victoria kept pressuring Audrey to do things she didn't want to, to take advantage of the situation in ways that made her extremely uncomfortable, and, in the end, after the inevitable big fight occurs, Audrey (who I thought was in the right the entire time) ends up giving in, apologizing, and begging forgiveness and it just felt wrong to me. That said, Audrey, Wait! is a light and funny look at the way a single, seemingly inconsequential decision can balloon out to change your entire life and, as such, I enjoyed it.

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  1. This sounds like a fun book I would enjoy. Love your review!

  2. Great review, you've made me want to re-read this. It's just such a fun book. I do disagree about Victotia though I loved her and I thought she and Audrey had a great friendship.

  3. I think I remember being really annoyed with Victoria as well. I had similar feelings, like that she wasn't a great friend, and it was ridiculous that it was Audrey that was apologizing in the end. It was still a fun read, but that did bother me.

  4. I thought this was such a fun read.

    I don't remember Victoria hardly at all - clearly I have put her from my mind!

  5. Why? Why do you make my To-Be-Read pile cry? It's big enough, but now I must read this too.

  6. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Great review! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really loved Audrey and James. And I loved Victoria. I thought she had some funny lines. But I do understand what you mean. I wasn't crazy about the big fight, but I had enjoyed the first half of the book so much, I decided to ignore it. I don't even remember what they fought about. I also loved Audrey's parents.


  7. The chapter headings were my favorite part! I love that Stars song!

  8. I love your review, I haven't read this book and it's been on my TBR list for ages, now that I see all those references to bands I love I am even more intrigued

  9. I have never read this one and didn't really know what it was about. I think I'll pick it up now. Sounds really fun and cute.

  10. So glad you enjoyed this one. It was one of my favorite 'quick' reads from last year. And I totally agree. I loved how Benway handled the relationship between Audrey and Evan - the fact that he really wasn't a jerk and was just doing his thing. And their conversations at the end (!) just made it all perfect for me.

    And James! I'm smiling just thinking about him!

  11. Must read this. *makes note*

    And I agree: I would like to see a perky extroverted lady be the star, and have the quietly beautiful, more withdrawn girl be the sidekick. So long as they both got each other - otherwise why be friends?

  12. Christie, it's definitely fun.

    Alexa, I'm glad to hear someone liked her because I was wondering why she was in there. I guess I just couldn't understand her constantly pushing Audrey into the spotlight, but I've never had a famous friend. Who knows what I would turn into?

    Brenda, yeah. I just thought she didn't help Audrey so much as manhandle her. But I was on Audrey's side from page one.

    Janssen, it was. I'm glad I got around to it and met James. ;)

    Janice, lol. I didn't mean to make it cry. *pats TBR pile*

    Karen, yes! I meant to mention her parents. They were very realistic and I love the scene in the studio with her mother in tears. So sweet. Thanks for the rec!

    Lenore, *highfive* yay for Stars!

    Emily, if you love music, you'll enjoy this one for sure.

    Amelia, it is both of those things. :)

    Michelle, James is a winner. No doubt about that. He had me at, "Scoop now, think later." *giggle*

    Sarah, I am thinking you will get a kick out of this one. James has a certain under-the-radar Alanlike quality. Though, sadly, no gun. Probably best, though, as there are no demons or magicians afoot. He does wield an ice cream scoop with speed and skill...


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