Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin  
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Source: For Review  

My Rating: fullfullfullfullBlank

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. (taken from
I wasn't sure what to expect from If You Find Me. Two girls who practically raised themselves in the wilderness? During the 21st century in Tennessee? What an original concept. From the first page onwards, I knew that this story would stick with me. I can't imagine being in Carey's shoes. 

My favorite aspect of the novel by far was Carey's fierce personality. Heck, if I were left to fend for myself in the wilderness as a young girl, I would've died within days. Carey managed not only to keep her sister alive but also to make sure they were both educated. Her harsh life forced her to mature quickly, and even at her young age of fourteen, she is a strong heroine I admired and enjoyed learning about.

While romance is hardly the main plot line of the novel, there is a definitely a sprinkle of first love. What I appreciated about Carey's love life was not the passion or romance, but the way it illuminated some of her personality traits that had been hidden by years of fear and desperation. 

Murdoch tackles some pretty heavy subject matter. From drugs to rape, the story examines the psychological impacts of some of life's worst problems. While there is nothing too explicit, I probably wouldn't recommend this one to anyone under the age of fifteen or sixteen. 

In the end, I immensely enjoyed If You Find Me. It reels readers in immediately and refuses to let go as it examines how two young girls can overcome true horrors in their early years. Definitely recommended.