|If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch|
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.
~Published March 26th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
The premise of If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch caught my eye. Two young girls living alone in a camper away from civilization? How do they live? How would they adjust to normal life?
I look for emotional release in books and I knew that there would be some major character arch here. I wasn't disappointed.
Carey is such a strong character, and although she's lived alone with her sister for many years, she is intelligent and wise beyond her years. I enjoyed reading the story through her eyes, and her emotions were powerful and spot-on.
I was impressed with the imagery in the book. Ms. Murdoch certainly knows how to use metaphors to enhance the story. The imagery was naturally woven into the book, and always felt genuinely spoken by a young girl who carries so many burdens. Here's an example:
"I almost choke on the v word (violin) with the planet-size history curled up inside it, a history that could break me if I let it, spilling out my middle like Gran's jam cake when you first cut into it."
Carey's perception of the world is colored by her experience and I rejoiced and cried for her as she learned more about her past and her family.
Because of some the things that happened to Carey, If You Find Me is a read for older teens and young adults. The issue of child abuse is handled carefully but if you are sensitive to that sort of thing, proceed cautiously.
If You Find Me is a heartbreaking and hopeful look at the human spirit. I highly recommend it.