Retro Friday Review: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway


January 18, 2013 by Heidi

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time!

Audrey, Wait! by Robin BenwayTitle: Audrey, Wait! [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Robin Benway [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published: April 2nd, 2009 by Razorbill (first published in 2008)
Format: Paperback; 329 pages.
Source: Gifted to me via the lovely Jasmine

When funny, charming, absolutely-normal Audrey Cuttler dumps her boyfriend Evan, he writes a song about her that becomes a number-one hit?and rockets Audrey to stardom!

Suddenly, tabloid paparazzi are on her tail and Audrey can barely hang with her friends at concerts or the movies without getting mobbed?let alone score a date with James, her adorable coworker at the Scooper Dooper. Her life will never be the same?at least, not until Audrey confronts Evan live on MTV and lets the world know exactly who she is!

So I think we all know by now that contemporary?  So not my main squeeze.  I’ll step out with one every once in a while, and after reading nothing but praise for Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!, I decided it was worth a shot.  Of course, before cracking that spine I had to sit myself down and have a talk: I was going to have to suspend disbelief, big time.  I wasn’t going to let the notion that the entire plot of Audrey, Wait! is utterly ridiculous and unrealistic overcome my enjoyment of the story.  I was going to go with it.  And you know what?  It really worked!  Telling myself not to get caught up in the details (like how this would never ever actually happen to anyone) allowed me to enjoy the crap out of Audrey, Wait!

What I expected from Audrey, Wait!: Predictable rise to fame story.  Audrey would get über popular and famous, it would go to her head, she’d loose sight of who she was alienating friends and family along the way before inevitably having the bubble burst and coming back down to earth as a decent human being everyone loves.

What I got from Audrey, Wait!: Something completely different and unexpected.  Woohoo!

Audrey, Wait! is so refreshing not because it’s another book about music, but because it’s a book about people who love music.  Not those who play it, but those who make it a part of every moment of their day.  Those who feel the beat in every iota of their being and connect with a song more deeply than they ever could with most people.  Those who post collages of their favorite bands, spend hours making the perfect playlist, and will spend their last $30 on concert tickets to see this band they love open for a band everyone else loves.  I was that music lover in high school, and that is the Audrey we see in these pages.

For Audrey, music is life, but when her ex’s band skyrockets to mass popularity with a song about, well, her, she suddenly can’t even trust the bandwaves.  Instead of embracing her adjacent fame, Audrey retreats–somewhat by force, and somewhat by choice–unable to live her life normally when there were so many out there pegging her as a role model or Muse.

I absolutely adored Audrey and her music obsession, and also loved the fact that here we had an introverted narrator that was still so fun loving.  It’s odd how rare that combo appears in writing, it seems you’re either extroverted or shy and brooding.  I really appreciated Audrey’s personality as a type that exists a lot in the real world, but not so much in books.  It is possible to be introverted and still be an incredibly strong and fearless person!

And of course, one of the things that made Audrey such a strong lead were her relationships with others.  I love that even though her world comes crashing down around her ears as a result of her ex, Evan, she never gets catty with him.  She realizes that he was upset at the time, and that things just happened to fall the way they did.  Her best friend Victoria and Victoria’s boyfriend Jonah are absolutely wonderful and supportive friends, it was so refreshing to see such a great girl friendship in YA that didn’t get ruined when guys became involved (even if Victoria does let the ancillary fame get to her a bit).  Audrey’s “nerdy, but in that really cute Rivers-Cuomo-from-Weezer way” crush, James is so sweet and adorable he had me smiling constantly.  But for me, it’s Audrey’s parents that really take the cake.  They totally tie Mia’s parents for best YA parents of the year.  They know their kid and what works for her, they respect her choices, support her, but also work to keep her safe and set boundaries that she follows because she respects them right back.  Love it!

Audrey, Wait! continually took turns I wasn’t expecting, and I cannot express how completely refreshing that is for someone who reads enough to rarely be taken by surprise.  The ending did seem fairly rushed to squeeze everything in and have a happy-go-lucky goodbye, but considering how low the cheese factor was compared to the incredibly high fun factor over all, I won’t let that weigh too heavily on my enjoyment.  Despite the ridiculous situation, Audrey and co. just came across as so real to me, landing Audrey, Wait! a place among my favorite contemps.

Here’s my favorite paragraph in the whole book:

Looking back, it was absolutely the worst thing we could have done, attracting attention to ourselves, two music geeks singing along with a song for the whole restaurant to see.  But it was just so much fun, and I was sitting with this awesome guy who obsessed over mix CDs he made for me and picked the perfect song at the perfect time.  And he didn’t care about any of the other bullshit, like MTV or magazines or random boys trying to kiss me or the fact that while we were on our first date, we listened to a song written about me by my ex-boyfriend.  I liked James and James liked me and we both knew it and if you think about it, that’s like a miracle.  A real miracle.  Everyone says that babies are miracles, and don’t get me wrong, I love cute little pudgy babies, but if you think about it, me having a baby right now would not be a miracle.  At all.  But finding someone that gets me?  That’s the real work.  That’s where the miracles are.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  As stated, contemp is not my thing, but since Audrey, Wait! easily ranked among my favorite contemps read in 2012, I’ll definitely be checking out Also Known As if I hear great things.

Recommended for:  Great for those who enjoyed Being Friends With Boys, Amplified, The Disenchantments, or other music themed contemporary YA.

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  I read Audrey, Wait! as a read along with one of my favorite bookish buddies, Chachic!  I loved it, had a blast going back and forth about everything from this one–you should go read what she has to say too!

Also–oh hai! I made this awesome Audrey, Wait! playlist on Spotify. Enjoy!

Get a second opinion:
Chachic’s Book Nook – “It really is a fun book to read but I think my expectations were pretty high because so many other blogger friends loved this.”
The Perpetual Page Turner – “This was absolutely one of the most fun romps I’ve had in contemporary YA since I first read Sloppy Firsts.”
A Room With Books – “Sadly, Audrey, Wait! didn’t blow me away like it seems to have done for so many people.”
Book Goonie – “This is a fun book that is so high school.”
The Allure of Books – “So much fun while still having enough of an edge to give it depth.”


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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.