If You Find Me
by Emily Murdoch
Received for Review
Young Adult Realistic Contemporary
Released On: March 26, 2013
Published By: St Martin's Griffin
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.43
Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
There are some things you can’t leave behind…
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
An Overview of the Novel: Carey is used to taking care of herself and her sister Jenessa without any help from others. Her mom was never really in the picture. They grew up in a broken-down camper in the middle of a forest. She wasn't used to seeing lots of other people. Other people usually meant danger too. Her mom wasn't any help. She was usually noticeable absent or else almost gone on drugs. Her mom says they ran away from her father who was abusive.
But then her mom leaves for good and Carey and her sister are returned to her father's care. Carey can't reconcile the image of her caring father with the abusive one her mother painted. Then she learns that her mom actually was the one who kidnapped them. Carey isn't sure what to think and is haunted by the fact that her sister Jenessa hasn't spoken a word to anybody else in over a year. Carey is determined to protect her and her sister but who should she be protecting them from.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: This novel was heartbreakingly beautiful. This book discussed gritty issues that I love reading about. That sounds awful, but I've fond that when authors talk about family issues, abuse, rape, and other issues like that in an appropriate matter, they always make for great reads. This novel was no exception.
It had such a depth to it and was poignantly written. I adored this novel. I'll admit that I trudged through the first sixty pages, but after that I was hooked and couldn't wait to keep reading more and more. This novel was simply incredible.
The relationship between Jenessa and Carey was beautiful and yet tragic. The fact that Jenessa would only talk to Carey was just so sad and I kept hoping that Jenessa would finally talk to others again. Then there was the friendship/possible romance between Ryan and Carey. I loved Ryan and enjoyed watching Carey and him interact with each other.
I know some people that thought Delaney was a jerk and that everything about her was just too neatly wrapped up, but I thought it was really realistic. A young girl could definitely be mad for all of the reasons Delaney was.
I thought this novel was touching and incredibly written. Carey's voice seemed so real to me. It's been awhile since a character took on that strong of a voice and I loved that. Watching Carey learn the truth and grow up was incredible.
So why 4.5 stars? I loved this book, but the first sixty pages weren't as good as they could have been and for that I'm giving this book a 4.5. This book was profound and poignant without trying to be over the top and those are my favorite types of novels.
In Summary: Emily Murdoch's debut is poignant and is a great addition to the YA genre. She's an author that I will definitely be keeping close tabs on. Her writing was engaging, poignant, and above all beautiful.
The Wrap-up: This book really was heartbreakingly beautiful. I loved everything about it and definitely recommend this one. One of the best debuts I've read all year. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend somebody buy this one. Plus, if you pre-order on Amazon, you can get it for 10.99 as opposed to the normal 17.99. So if you think this sounds up your alley, I'd recommend buying it sooner rather than later. (Amazon Link)