This is our monthly wrap up for the previous month's book! We'll let you know what we thought about the story, characters and everything in between!
Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: March 26th, 2013
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.
As soon as Jacquelyn sent me a picture with our book choices for February I knew If You Find Me was going to be the one. From all the rave reviews I had read, to Judith from Paper Riot being its very own cheerleader, there was never any doubt I would enjoy this heartbreaking story. Maybe enjoy isn't the word I should be using to describe my feelings towards If You Find Me, so let's break this down.
Carey and Jenessa are characters that will steal your heart. I can guarantee that they will strike a cord with almost everyone. The reason being that these two young girls have spent the entirety (or almost the entirety when it comes to Carey) of their lives living away from civilization and being hidden away in the woods by their mother. So when they finally get brought back into the real world they don't know the simplest of things, they don't know how to use a toothbrush, they don't know what fries are, they don't know how to open the trunk of a car. These are simple commodities that we are so used to, we don't think twice about them, so when I read about how much Carey struggles with these things it tore my heart out.
The story itself is very short and obviously more character driven than plot driven, but there is also some mystery in the mix, so if that's something that interests you, I recommend checking it out. I actually almost gave If You Find Me 3.5 out of 5 stars because, aside from the characters being great, there were some parts that I found to be unrealistic. I don't want to delve too much into this, but I just want to say that their level of education was something I struggled to believe.
In the end, I decided to give it 4 stars because the ending was absolutely fantastic. It was one of the best done endings I've read in a long time. The ending unravels so well and so heartbreakingly. There were some parts of the way this novel ended that I was expecting, but there were definitely others that caught me by surprise. It was exceptionally real and displayed the characters strengths perfectly.
★ ★ ★ ★/5
I am really happy that we picked this one up for the month of February. It was always a book I was so interested in so I was more than happy to finally be able to read it. Lots of this story focused on family and survival which I thought was really interesting considering most survival stories do not focus a ton on family as well. In YA as a whole, not many books mention or even have a minor focus on family so I thought that aspect of the book was quite nice and refreshing. I also loved the survival and mystery aspects of this book. It was quite short and you would think since it is a survival and mystery type book, it would need to be longer but that wasn't the case. The author did a nice job of condensing things without leaving major plot holes and/or details out.
I really enjoyed the characters and their development throughout the story. For me to enjoy a book, I need it to have some really great and well developed characters and this book provided that. I ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars since I thought the plot and characters were awesome and the little mystery included was great as well. I also thought the end was phenomenal and I felt like it was just the perfect way to end this book. Also, I read this in a day so it was a really and entertaining read.
If you are looking for a survival/mystery novel that surrounds around family dynamics and such I would really recommend this book. It had lovely characters and it is such a quick read that you can just plow through it. I am really glad we read this and I look forward to reading any of Emily's future works.