Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

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I received this book for free from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: If You Find Me by Emily MurdochIf You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 26th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Buy on Amazon

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.

A deep and emotional journey into the lives of two very special girls, If You Find Me is a wonderfully inspiring story that brings us past the unimaginable horror it inhibits and makes it about hope instead, about second chances.

We meet Carey and Jenessa who are living–or surviving–in their mama’s old camper in the woods. This immediately captured both my heart and rapt interest, seeing two very young girls having to fend for themselves in such cruel ways. I could see from the start how much Carey had matured way beyond her years, caring for her sister more than any mother for her child. This brought me so very close to her. She quickly wedged herself right into my sympathizing heart. Easily, I could feel the deep bond these two girls shared. A sisterly bond that is so powerfully vivid I could feel the love through these pages, almost palpable. Love — a sparse guest in their grim home. But, it is their home, for better or worse, and it’s all they know of this harsh world.

When Carey and Jenessa are introduced to society, I felt as elated at the prospect of their discoveries, as I felt the longing for their woods, their home. Baffling, yes, but no matter how terrible, it was the only life they knew; being just the two of them for such a long time. It’s an unfathomable situation that Murdoch brings into play in this novel. We learn bit by bit just how terrible the girls had it in the woods, some of it is truly horrifying, leading up to the event that caused her sister to stop talking altogether. The book as a whole, though, is not about the horror, but instead it’s filled with an incredible amount of inspiration and joy. Joy for their new-found happiness. Joy for their potential. Joy for finally getting what they both deserve; a home, a family, love, not to mention food and clean clothes. What’s most inspiring isn’t the story itself, but the characters inhabiting it. Carey is old enough to realize the true horror of their time in the woods, yet she remains strong and brave for her sister. This doesn’t mean she’s not damaged and dealing with the psychological consequences of such a childhood, but how she goes about it is admirable. She faces it head on, faking it until she makes it! Anything for Jenessa. While there exists an aura of mystery, this is not a novel filled with action or suspense;  it’s a gorgeously written story about these two girls who are learning to move on from a cruel, remorseless past into a life that is deliciously normal. Crushes, school, friends, parties; a world stolen from them, slowly being patched up and returned.

Yes there are crushes, there are parties, friends, school, burgers and fries, heck, even toilets! Little things in life we often take for granted. And in this book, it all has heart. From the obvious emotional distresses, to the light moments and little things, to each perfectly flawed character–even the step-sister who’s acting like spoiled bitch–every single part of this book is meticulously crafted with purpose, and brought to life with the most flawless of touches. Pixie, the quirky friend, for example, is an absolute light at the end of the tunnel for Carey. She radiates with such kindness; her parts in the book are aglow! Then we have a particularly sweet boy with whom Carey becomes fond of, soon discovering things about him that make him a much bigger part of the story. Still, the romance is kept light, almost non existent, but however small, it’s not without substance and purpose.

Tragic and heartbreaking, If You Find Me is a magnificently told story about a young girl and her sister against the world, finding life and love where they never knew they had any. This is one I could see winning awards, even becoming a classic, for its beautiful prose and stunning storytelling. I will be recommending this gem for years to come!


5 Hot Espressos

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Posted by on 01/10/2013 • 22 Comments

This review contains no spoilers of either Vortex or Tempest

As much as I get fascinated by time travel–especially when it’s created as well as in this series–it can get extremely complicated. Like Tempest, this novel is not to be read with a wandering mind, or you will find yourself in the middle of a complex story with no idea where you are–or when. For this reason, it may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy reads that are as intelligent as they are fun, then this series is for you!

When we left Jackson in Tempest, we had learned just how intricate this whole time travel business was. Not to mention how heartbreaking to see Jackson’s heart torn apart over a girl that has no clue who he…

Review: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Posted by on 06/04/2012 • 52 Comments

When someone sees a zombie book there are two reactions: 1) Oh zombies, scary and gory! AwesomeSAUCE! or 2) Ewww zombies! Icky! – pass. So this is a warning: As far as zombie books go, This Is Not A Test has to be one of the tamest. It’s not gory, nor is it an adrenaline filled story. Yes there are zombies and it can get intense at times, but funnily enough, it is not about the zombies. It’s about a girl who doesn’t want to live in this world anymore. She can’t keep going with a dad that beats her, and a sister that left her. This book is about finding the will to live in all this melancholy. Surviving in a school with others who only want to make…

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Posted by on 01/21/2012 • 28 Comments

Time travel is a very tricky subject to get into. (Look at the epic failure of Lost for example). There is the usual paradox of, if we go back in time then what happens must already have happened to make us go back. As well as the endless time loop theories. Tempest battles this with separate timelines. So now my questions are: if we change timeline, then what happens to our self in the original timeline? Does a fake us keep living there? If not, is it as if we never existed there, or do people think we’ve just disappeared? And what happens to our other self that existed before we got to the new timeline?… Yes, my brain hurts too! These were the sort of questions running through my…