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.
Two words: Phenomenal. Tissues. (You’re going to need a lot.)
If you’ve read Chelsea Fine’s novel, Sophie and Carter, another great novel depicting children forced to grow up before their time in this cruel world, then you’re no stranger to having your feet knocked out from under you, and that’s exactly what Murdoch does to her readers in her fantastic novel, If You Find Me.
Raw. Emotional. Gut wrenching. Triumphant. This novel pulled me in from the very first page and kept me up late into the night as I read, unable to put aside this beautiful novel that so captivated me. Carey’s story is one of heartbreak, gripping readers as the plot unfolds, all leading up to the night that everything changed for Carey and Jenessa. The prose, imagery, and characterization are absolutely phenomenal, and I am in awe of Murdoch’s writing style. Poignant and tragic, our heroine Carey steals the stage as her emotions overflow, unable to release the past, afraid of the future. Her life has been one of extreme hardship, caring for her little sister, Jenessa, and hoping to survive another day. This powerful novel is a must read for all lovers of YA; it’s emotionally overwhelming, but amazing all the same. Easily one of the best novels I’ve read this year. Five stars.
St. Martin’s Press has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 26, 2013.