Audrey, Wait! – Robin Benway
Like the Plain White T’s and James Blunt (and The Beatles and Eric Clapton before them), the Do-Gooders have a hit song inspired by and named after a girlfriend. The moment that Audrey broke up with Evan and he shouted after her, Audrey, wait! was the moment of inspiration that took them from struggling high school band to overnight success. And Audrey is shocked and embarrassed, but happy to accept VIP and backstage access to see her favorite band when she gets recognized at their show. And when she has a natural rapport with the sexy, British lead singer and making out with him becomes an option, it’s a path she’s happy to go down. But once it becomes clear that he’s expecting her to inspire him (and is obscurely patronizing about the Greek muses) and maybe garner him some publicity she quickly ends things. But the next day, footage of them making out, of him putting his hand up her shirt, is all over YouTube. And the song just gets bigger and bigger and Audrey is accidentally quotable and interesting to the tabloids and she becomes almost as big of a deal as Evan and the Do-Gooders. Suddenly it’s not so much fun when all she wants is to keep her job, new boyfriend and best friend.
I like how YA books now sometimes include relatable parents. That almost never happened in the stuff I was reading as a kid. Audrey’s parents are solid and supportive and understandably freaked out, but they trust her and it’s important to her that she keeps that up. And even when Audrey’s best friend is pretty awful for awhile, she’s not actually awful and the book isn’t mean about it. Aw, jeez. It’s hard to put into words why this book is so likable. Let me see…a thing I hate: books and movies that titillate the reader and then criticize and comment on the titillation. Whether it’s sex or violence or whatever, it doesn’t work for me. This book in no way judges you or its characters like that. It gives you the vicarious thrills and when the treat ends up being full of empty calories you’re not robbed of the earlier enjoyment just ready to move on with Audrey to something better.
And it made me miss how much I loved music when I was younger. How I was so sad and hormonal throughout a lot of high school and music expressed that for me and gave me a sense of belonging without actually having to become a joiner. I miss that volatility and that connection. But I’m not in the same place anymore and I don’t care as much and maybe that’s why I like YA books so much. The book is similar in this respect to Heavy Metal And You and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, that the characters are so truly and completely wrapped up in and sometimes defined by the music they listen to.
I really liked this book and enjoyed reading it and am glad I was forced to do it. While it may be “ripped from the headlines” and topical the story isn’t gimmicky and the characters are disctinct and relatable.