Book: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Published: March 26, 2013
Hardcover, 256 Pages
B.O.S.SF Review: 4 stars
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.
I received this book as a First Reads Giveaway from Goodreads…. woo hoo!
Wow… If You Find Me is a heart wrenching, touching, and emotional. One of my favorite in the Young Adult/New Adult genre. It reminded me of one of my favorite novels from my childhood, The Face on the Milk Carton.
The book begins with our fifteen year old main character, Carey, who has been living in the middle of the woods (AKA The Hundred Acre Woods… the first of many Winnie the Pooh references). Her drug addicted mother brought her there years ago, and she leaves Carey and Carey’s little sister, Nessa, alone for weeks at a time. She goes to get them food, supplies, and do all sorts of shady things Carey and Nessa are as close as two sisters can be. Carey raised Nessa, and she is the only person who Nessa will speak to. The weight of the world is on Carey’s shoulders, and she is old beyond her fifteen years. I was instantly intrigued by their life in The Hundred Acre Woods. In comes Child Services and her father to come and take them “home.” This home will be with her father’s new family. Is this a great setup, or what?
Even though Carey is well read and makes beautiful music on her violin, Carey is a bit uncivilized. Who wouldn’t be if you were raised in the woods? She constantly tells herself to remember her ‘g’s and to speak like a lady. The warm bed, running water, and the delicious food are luxuries that the girls are more than happy to receive, but there are some obvious obstacles to overcome…… First, High school is such a stressful time – I was never a member of the IN crowd, but I also wasn’t picked on. I’d say I had a normal teenage life. Thinking about Carey walking into a new high school with no idea what even a locker is… it’s hard to imagine. To say that she was terrified and overwhelmed would be an understatement. Secondly, I moved from Chicago to San Francisco in 2011, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Things were great out here, but I had to get adjusted to my new life. If that sort of a move can be such a difficult adjustment, I can’t wrap my head around Carey’s adjustment. She was just thrown into a new family and new school… I would have thought that the book would have her character go to a child psychologist, or something.
If You Find Me follows the New Adult genre with the damaged girl background. What’s different is that we start the book in Carey’s damaged life, so we are a part of her past. Even though there is a love story, it isn’t the primary focus of the book. I’m glad about that, because the issues between Carey and her family/new life were much more interesting to me.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes books in the Young Adult/New Adult genre.