Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw
My rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Publisher: Amulet (A division of ABRAMS) (October 14, 2014)
Length: 256 pgs
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Format: NetGalley- Thanks to ABRAMS!
* I was provided a free e-Galley of this title in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my review or opinion.
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s 5:00 a.m. on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand—just like Holly Golightly. As the cofounder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself.Filled with hip and sparkling prose, Oh Yeah, Audrey! is as much a story of friendship as it is a love letter to New York, Audrey Hepburn, and the character she made famous: Holly Golightly.
Oh Yeah, Audrey! was a fun and fast modern retelling of the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s. True to the internet age, the protagonist Gemma is a somewhat lost teenage girl who finds inspiration and solace in a pop culture icon from years past, and seeks to channel her to mask what she feels are the inadequacies of her everyday life. Brought together with other misfits through the world of Tumblr, Gemma seeks her metamorphosis- even if just for a day- into a more glamorous life where she’s just as elegant and important as her iconic role model, Audrey Hepburn.
While the cover is undoubtedly gorgeous and its premise is fun (it’s a treat in itself finding the parallels between the film and the book), Oh Yeah Audrey! suffers from a too idealistic trip to New York that has an overabundance of wish-fulfillment. While this book is far from an unrealistic fairy-tale ending, there are elements of it that were hard to wrap my mind around, such as sixteen year olds with enough money to (at the last minute, no less) book a penthouse suite at a world-renown hotel or fly six hours cross country while charging every extravagant purchase on his parents seemingly unlimited funds. I wanted to see Gemma have a more realistic experience reliving Breakfast at Tiffany’s (especially because Holly Golightly herself was neither rich nor part of high society). There was also some purposeful naivety whenever a character chose to mention the escort-like qualities of Holly’s character, and any critical analysis of the famous character portrayed by Audrey Hepburn was often abruptly cut short.
However, the novel did feature some fun characters who added a colorful presence to this quick read. Bryan was delightfully over-dramatic and Telly (who made a conveniently fast switch from bully to fourth wheel, but that’s beside the point) was rather pathetic but called the other characters out on their more surface level love for Audrey Hepburn and called their attention to her philanthropic and humanitarian work (a wonderful reprieve from all the dahhhlings being thrown around). Unfortunately though, due to either short length or lack of planning, all of the characters lack any real development, and even Gemma has a back story that feels pieced together and unexplored properly (such as her poverty and her mother dying, which we mentioned only briefly whenever she was feeling down, rather than feeling as though they shaped her character). The “love interest” was the aspect of the book that frustrated me most, because (*spoiler warning ahead*) he manages to convince Gemma to ditch her friends and her plans that she spent months making in about two seconds, and then turns out to be a total misogynist who thinks he can buy his way into bed with a female. While I appreciate the parallelism this presents, as Gemma inadvertently channels Holly by being given pretty things in exchange for keeping a male company, it was very obviously done and I guessed Dusty’s true motives about two pages after he showed up.
Yet despite these issues, Oh Yeah, Audrey! kept me engaged and I finished the book much quicker than I thought I would. I enjoyed seeing different parts of the city and the descriptions of her iconic outfits and designers she worked with. I also appreciated that the ending was not picture-perfect and that Gemma comes to realize her own mistakes (though the ending itself was very abrupt).
Overall: Oh Yeah, Audrey! is the quintessential “light read” with a lot of wish-fulfillment and less character development than I would’ve liked. However, it presents some fun scenarios and fans of the pop culture icon will delight in the abundance of Breakfast at Tiffany’s details.