As I was setting up this post, I seriously considered creating a new category to tag my review of Robin Benway’s first book, Audrey, Wait! That new category might be: Practically Perfect in Every Way or Books So Good You Will Actually Hug Them or Stop Reading this Review and Read the Book Already. I’m still thinking it over. Audrey, Wait! is that good people. Many of you are already know this because I am way late in getting to Benway’s much celebrated novel. I’m just glad it didn’t fall off my radar because it is an absolute pleaser. Happy-making to the max.
I could go on and on about why this book succeeds, but I’ll stick to three things: pacing, relationships, and dialogue/humour. I don’t always go in for short chapters. They often leave me with a sensation of being ripped off, or manipulated. Just when you’re getting really invested, it’s over. In those situations, I wonder if the author is capable of writing a longer scene, where things simmer and build rather than simply tearing fast to the critical moment and then moving on to something new. Here, I enjoyed Benway’s quick chapters just as well as her longer ones. That is because she packs so much into even the shortest scene, creating tension and leaving readers with new insight into the characters in just a few pages. The relationships are so believable, particularly Audrey’s relationship with her best friend, the super-sassy Victoria, and Audrey’s relationship with her parents. It was refreshing to read a parent/child relationship in a YA novel that wasn’t either totally, melodramatically screwed up or else practically non-existent. I think that part of the reason why the relationships are so rich is the dialogue. It is, in a word, dazzling. You hear the characters. Each one sounds different. The conversations have a rhythm that is totally real, and the language is pitch perfect for teen characters. Writers out there, if you’re looking for a book that is a study in writing dialogue that differentiates characters and leaps off the page, Audrey, Wait! is what you need. Reading it is like a dialogue master class. You’ll laugh a lot too. I promise.
You can read more about the book at the website, where you’ll also be able to sneak a look at Benway’s second novel, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June, which I’m reading now. I learned my lesson with Audrey, Wait! No more waiting when it comes to anything Robin Benway writes. Get to it.
Audrey, Wait! is published by Razor Bill