Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Netgalley
Publication date: March 26th 2013
My rating: 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.


If You Find Me was a story that took me through a whole range of emotions, and tore out my heart at times, but for the most part, it was a story filled with hope. 

Fifteen year-old Carey has been raised in woods with her little sister Jenessa by their mother, both isolated from the outside since for most of her life.  Thanks to her mother, Carey has always been under the impression they ran to escape her dangerous father.  Her life in the woods has been no picnic (total understatement), but she always thought it was the lesser of two evils. Ten years later, her father shows up with social services at their camp, and everything Carey thought she knew is turned upside down. 

This story was an awe inspiring story of survival and hope.  I immediately connected with Carey, she went through so much but wasn’t bitter, nor did she use her past to act up or make stupid decisions. She was a selfless girl who put the welfare of her sister above her own.  What Carey and her sister, Jenessa went through is related through flashbacks after they are found, and this helped in reading this, because you know they are safe now.  My heart filled with gladness every time these girls were shown kindness because it touched and healed them so.  I cried a few times with happy tears.  Carey’s father and his wife, Melissa, were the very thing these two needed.  Even the connection Shorty the dog, and Jenessa had filled me with joy, two little broken souls drawn to each other.

As a mother, parts of this were tough for me to read.  The mother was an absolute HORROR!! Probably the worst I have ever read about.  There is nothing that could excuse her behavior and treatment, IMO.  I cannot fathom how someone could treat their children like this, and I kept dreaming up vile ways I could punish her (yes, I know, the mother is a fictional character!). 

I read this a few months back and yet the details and emotions stuck with me, leaving a lasting impression.  I was captivated by Carey and Jenessa’s unfolding story of survival, healing and love.  






23 comments:

  1. I agree, I think relating what happened to the girls in flashbacks helped us to process the information a bit in a way that wasn't as...unbearable. It's hard enough to read as is. I was so happy to read about the kindness shown to them, too! My friend Kate made a good point, which is that so often we hear about social workers in particular who are shown in a bad light--when there are many, many of them who are doing the best they can, with good intentions and a kind heart.

    I'm so glad you connected with this, Rachel.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  2. Oh wow, Rachel! I've seen quite amazing reviews for this book, and your review has definitely mademe push this one up the TBR pile. This story sounds unique and maybe even one of those feel-good books about hope and recovery. The family elements in this book seem very strong. I'm going to have to pick this one up soon, since you cried happy tears! Lovely review, Rachel! <3

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  3. I've seen Sam's review for this book recently. I wanted to read it after her review but after yours I want it even more. This story really sounds like a wonderful read. I can't wait to read it. Great review :)

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  4. This sounds quite upsetting but I'm glad to hear the tone is mostly hopeful. I know exactly what you mean about your feelings towards the mother, I felt like this when I was reading Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. Brilliant review Rachel :)

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  5. I won a copy of this! I really want to read it.

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  6. Wonderful review. I really enjoyed this and I agree that as a mother of 3 children, I had stop a few times because it was hard to think a mother could do this to her children. I am glad you enjoyed this.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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  7. Rachel, that's a beautiful review. I know this book was a success for a lot of readers. I'm excited to get to it myself one of these days. The mother does sound pretty terrible. I feel like I already hate her without even meeting her. It sounds like this book brought out a lot of emotions in you. Fantastic review, Rachel. You've definitely convinced me to read this sooner!

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  8. Sounds very emotional and a powerful and I love hearing is it a story of hope.

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  9. Ahhhh Rachel! I need to read this! I love that you said it's filled with hope as much as the horror of what happens to the girls - I can deal with the terrifying flashbacks and the monster of a mother as long as I know the girls are safe and happy at present. I'm thinking the mother is going to incite some violence in me. I may throw the book in the hopes she'll feel the pain of its landing:) Lovely review as always!

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  10. It seems like Carey and her sister had endured quite a lot when they were in the woods with their mother. I think this wound be an emotional read for me. Thanks for sharing, Rachel!

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  11. I can't wait to read this one Rachel! I think I'm really going to enjoy the sister relationship. It definitely has me intrigued although I feel like it might leave me heartbroken. Thanks for the great review!

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  12. I'm reading this in the next couple of days and I really like the concept of it. Casey and Jenessa seem like such hearty characters that I would probably shared these tears with you. I have read some horrible mother's in some of books, but this ones sounds terrible. Lovely review Rachel, I love how a book can stay with you, it just shows you how much of an influences it has over you. ;)

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  13. Every review makes me want to read this more and more. It's clear that you were truly touched by the story. Beautiful review, Rachel!

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  14. I am glad that this carried a strong message of hope for you Rachel. I have this coming up for review and I have been hesitant because I know it is going to be dark. Thanks for giving me a bit of a pep talk!

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  15. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, Rachel! I actually just order a copy yesterday, and although I am excited to read it I wont so immediately as I have to be in the right mood for this kind of book. Emotionally moving books always get to me! Fab review!

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  16. Wonderful review, Rachel! I've been eying this book for a while now but wasn't sure if I could handle the emotions. Now, I'm really looking forward to reading this book, I want to see the girls have a good future and move on from the past somehow. I want to see them happy.

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  17. Wow, I really just need to pick this up. I've seen only positive reviews for it but have still been hesitant to read it because it's not the type of novel I usually go for. Still, this really just seems TOO good and emotional to pass up on. Lovely review, Rachel! :)

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  18. I'm just about to start to read this book. I cannot wait. I've heard so much about it, this review just makes me all the more excited! It sounds so powerful.

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  19. I keep hearing great things about this book! I really love the sound of it. It sounds so different too. Lovely review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

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  20. Sniffs. This book was just so so so good. <3 I'm glad you loved it too :) And omg. Her mother was AWFUL! Gaaah.

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  21. It's interesting that Carey went through it all and didn't turn bitter. That makes me a bit more excited about reading this, even though I've been hesitant so far because I'm a big, giant wuss.
    This book screams heartbreak to me, and I have to somehow bribe myself to read it. I think a few blueberry muffins will do.
    Great review, Rachel!

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  22. This seems like the saddest episode of Without a Trace. I can't even imagine having to live in the woods like some feral animal. Eek.

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  23. What intrigues me most about this story is the focus on the relationship between the protagonist and her sister. I am a sucker for strong sibling relationship stories. :) And who doesn't love a story that ultimately focuses on the hope present in dark situations? No reviews I've read thus far have really provided much of a synopsis, so I'm curious to see how this story actually unfolds.

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