March 5, 2013

Book Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

At First Sight: For almost as long as she can remember, Carey has lived deep in a national forest park, in a rundown camper with no other company but her drug-addict mother and her little sister Ness.

She's used to her mother's long absences, to cooking beans a hundred different ways to tempt Ness into eating and to counting their ever dwindling supplies.

But one day, after months without hearing from their mother, a social worker shows up, and along with her a man that Carey can just vaguely remember: her father.

Before they know it, Carey and Ness are swept up and trust back into civilization. They are taken in by Carey's father and embraced by his family - his second wife Melissa is understanding, his stepdaughter a little reluctant - and now they have to deal with this new life.

Ness is mostly okay, everyone loves her - even the dog - and other than not really speaking, she's fine. But for Carey things are more difficult, as she tries to make sense of the lies her mother told her and the reality she faces every day. Not to mention how far she went to protect her sister and the reason why Ness hasn't talked in almost a year. 

Second Glance: If You Find Me is a very, very intense read and so incredibly sad and difficult to read, but it was also so engaging that I couldn't stop once I started.

The story goes back and forth a bit, as Carey remembers the years in the camper with her mother and the things she was forced to do to ensure their survival and to protect her sister whom she adores more than anything in the world.

In her new life, living with her father again, she struggles a lot even as she forms friendships and reconnects with people of her past. She's doesn't magically adapt, she misses the camper and she misses her mother and sometimes her new life is just too much. I'm glad the author adressed this and that it isn't just swept under the rug.

Being inside of Carey's head and seeing what happened to her was really hard, sometimes I just had to put the book down and cry a little, but it never crossed my mind to drop the book because it was so good and compelling and hopeful.

The ending is a little abrupt but it was a good place to end and I wasn't left wondering if the ending was hopeful or if Carey would be okay, I knew she would be. 

Bottom Line: If You Find Me packed quite the emotional punch, it made me cry and it made me feel a lot of The Feelings. There were parts I didn't quite like as much - certain narrative points were a little repetitive, certain things were just too darn convenient - but all in all, this book gutted me but in the best possible way. I even look forward to the author's next offering, even if it'll probably make me cry too.

If You Find Me comes out March 26th. 

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