Audrey, Wait! is one of those books that seems to be sneaking its way onto lots of readers’ top ten lists, so when I found a copy at a local used bookstore, I knew I had to check it out. I’m glad I did, because amidst a deluge of YA contemporaries, Audrey,Wait! stands out among its peers.
I love music, but its never been one of my passions. While I understand many music lovers’ diatribes about its visceral power, I can’t say I’ve ever felt it to be a life-changing force in my
own life, and I am far too selective in my musical choices to truly appreciate the concept of music-as-a-lifestyle that permeates many YA novels. None of this impaired my enjoyment of Audrey, Wait!
Audrey is one of the most realistic protagonists I have encountered in contemporary teen fiction. She has a hobby she is passionate about, but it is not an all-consuming obsession that gets in the way of her studies or her personal relationships. She is sarcastic and self-effacing without ever being sour or apathetic. She has already experienced the trials of a first relationship, and embraces the developments in her love life without allowing them to cloud her judgment or impede her other aspirations. Most importantly, she has genuine, loving relationships with her friends and family that I wish more YA books would showcase, as I cannot believe that explosive friendships or antagonistic parental relations are the norm for most teenagers.
Audrey, Wait! uses a unique narrative format to allow Audrey’s voice to shine. While her story is not that of the typical high schooler, the cadence of her daily interactions is something that most teens can relate to: the inane conversations with your best friend in the hallway, the excitement of seeing someone in a new romantic light, the indignity of wearing your employer’s slogan on your shirt during an encounter with your nemesis. Benway manages to
convey the awkwardness and elation of such moments without every resorting to melodrama or forcing her protagonist to make mind-numbingly bad decisions. Audrey’s choices are not always perfect, but neither are they so far afield of what one might imagine oneself doing if in Audrey’s shoes.
Filled with humor and characters to root for, Audrey, Wait! is a great read that makes me excited to see what Benway comes up with next.