Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find MeTitle: If You Find Me 
Author: Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin 
Publishing Date: March 28th 2013
Pages: 256
Genre:  YA Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audio


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.

There are very few books that leave me feeling breathless and powerless at the same time. This book took me in at the very beginning, sunk me deep, then held me with the desire to come up from air but just didn’t know how. Its been a while since I read a realistic novel that stole my heart only to break it. A novel filled with secrets, truths, horror, and hope. I do believe I felt every imaginable emotion by the time I was done. A very exceptional read.

Carey and Janessa have been living with their mother out in the woods for quite a while. There were times her mother would leave and not come back for a few days, that was normal, and Carey just knew she had to take care of little sister in her absence. Truth be told she took care of her little sister even with her mother present. This time their mother has been gone for a quite a long time and they are doing everything they can to wait and to survive. On the much anticipated day that someone arrives, hoping to be their mother, Carey and Janessa are faced down by some strangers that take them and deliver them to Carey’s father. Carey has been told horrible things about her father and knows nothing about the real man he is or how live in society with other people. As she fights through her fears, attempts to be a kid, and make some friends she learns there were many hidden truths in her past.

This book is very powerful. I really wanted to start my thoughts with that sentence. I am sure there are many many reviews out there that state the same thing but I just want to put it out there that its so true. I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this book. I love realistic fiction when its done well (even though they always make me cry) but I don’t think I could have ever been prepared for what I found in this book.

In first glance and with the first couple of chapters I got the feeling that Carey and her mother had been through some pretty horrible stuff and for her mother to take off with her there must have been a pretty good reason. It was hard to find that reason but I figured it was there. As the story progressed and memories recovered, stories told… I was speechless, almost thoughtless. The horror that they girls faced were just too much to think about. The wonderful thing about this authors writing, even though it was hard to think about, she filled the book with hope and joy that I never thought these two girls could ever have.

Carey was just a wonderful character. Her life had not been ice cream and peaches not even close to peas and carrots. Her life had been nothing but sludge. The only joy she ever found was in her little sister. She cared and loved her deeply, more deeply than I ever thought possible for such a young girl. She mothered her little sister since she was born and the bond between them was completely unbreakable. Carey watched and lived such horrible things and I am not sure how she ever lived through any of it much less with a very gentle spirit. Deep down she just wanted to be a girl, go shopping, have friends, eat sweets. Through everything she was positive, cool, and hopeful. It was very refreshing to see someone so beaten down not allow it to keep her down.

The story was paced very well. The entire story seemed to center around the mystery of why Janessa won’t speak. She stopped one day when she was young and from the very beginning we know it has something to do with Carey. Throughout my listen I really wanted to know why but I was completely OK with the pace it came about. I loved (but hated) listening to Carey tell her stories and tell her past bit by bit along with watching her live in the present. The way the story is told was for sure a big attribute to falling in love with the characters. The memories and thoughts made Carey very real and this story wouldn’t of had the affect it did without such real characters.

I really loved everything about this book. The story, the writing, and the characters. I do hope I see more from this author in the future. I would love to read more of her works.

Terrific, lovely, horrifying, beautiful, awesome, a must read!


  1. I didn't enjoy this one as much because I read it after Pretty Girl 13. I found PG-13 soooo good that this one seemed just okay. But the story is indeed powerful.

  2. Yay so happy you loved it as much as I did! Yes this story was immensely powerful and the pacing and the character development were both perfect. I also found the book to be very hopeful more than dark and depressing which is surprising considering the subject matter. Fab review, muffin!

  3. I am happy that you enjoyed this one too. It was so emotional and the awful things they went through had me me crying my eyes out most of the time. Wonderful review.


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