E-ARC Review: If You Find Me

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Author: Emily Murdoch
Release date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Purchase: The Book Depository | Amazon
Add to your library: Goodreads

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.
   
     Doesn't that synopsis make you cringe and look at your surroundings for possible enemies? It sounds like paranoia for my part. But then that's what reading do to me. It makes me feel. Saying that this book made me feel a lot of emotions is such an understatement. I experienced a whirlwind of feelings that I can't even begin to express it in words. I always have a hard time writing a review for books that I felt and still feel after days, months or even years of reading it. You know, some stories just don't truly leave you.

    I was amazed by how vivid the words of Emily are. It just feels so real. The way she described how Carey was feeling was so honest that I absolutely felt it. I especially liked the beginning of the story. The way that she gave such an image of what Carey's life has been was so unique and real. It gave me the creeps because I can't imagine someone having that kind of life. Taken when young. Out there. In the middle of the woods. Parents absent. Caring for a younger sibling. Without the basic needs. Fighting for their lives. I've read books which are so unique and honest that I was so thankful that they are just fictional stories and not real ones. But all stories are reflections of what's happening in the real world, right? 

     Carey was not so hard to love at all. Especially because she was definitely one of the most unique and honest characters I've known. Unique in both good and maybe bad for other people. She can be very backward in all aspects because obviously, she grew up in the woods. She wasn't placed out there in the real world. She was deprived of that right everyone has. Although that fact itself didn't stop her from learning. I remember my subject last semester! Theories of Learning. Seriously, we studied on how human beings and animals learn. At first, I was like, "What? Why shall I study the process on how people and animals learn? Isn't that an inert capability that everyone has? So it depends purely on the person or the animal given specific circumstances!" But in the end, I still took the subject anyway. It actually taught me on  the things that make people learn. May it be because of a drive or a reward or a punishment. Thus Learning is not the same for everyone. And Carey is a proof for that. Despite not attending school, she was able to learn the basics and math. She learned through the books her Mother bought. She was even learning more than the average. Although it wasn't the same for her English language. But hello, her English was understandable anyway. I know I said she's honest and yet she kept a secret until then end. I wonder what will you feel and think if you learn her secret. I actually had that guess but I want to think otherwise because it was too much for her. It was too much for anyone her age or for anyone for that matter. Thing is, all of us are afraid to tell our deepest secrets because we're afraid that everyone we love and everything we have will turn their backs away from us. She was honest in a way that I felt her sincerity that she really want to tell it. I bet it took all of her courage to say her secret to her dad. All she needed was time and I guess we all do.

      Jenessa was the sole reason why Carey did what she have to do. It was her sisterly love and instincts that drove her to do it.  Because of what Carey have done, Jenessa decided to be silent since then. Of course, Jenessa won't give Carey away for what she did since she was the only one who took care of her in the middle of the woods. She knew better that it was for their own protection. It was just so amazing how she can be that serious in keeping her mouth shut. I understand how Carey's dad and his wife Melissa adore her.

       The lives that Carey and Jenessa have to adjust with were not so easy. It's like a toddler during the first day of school. There will be lots of people and you have to trust someone else outside your family. That was the difference with Carey and Jenessa. They still have to learn how to trust their own family. It wasn't that hard with Jenessa since she's just a kid. And we all know how kids can be so innocent and just so good! But with Carey, it was so hard because she was keeping something. She can't even give in to Melissa even if she was such a good Mother figure. But of course, all walls do break. When Carey started to trust people, she became friends with Pixie whom I adore and even with Ryan whom I adore more. The connection that Carey and Ryan was so surprising and shocking for me. In the end, it was so good.

      Carey's dad, Melissa and Delaney became their family. I thank St. Joseph for giving the girls such a family. Although there were struggles at first, the two of them deserve the best. Even Delaney as their stepsister.  Of course, I wouldn't forget to mention the girls' Mom here. I just wish that she is in such a good place as her daughters are.

      If You Find Me is a story I'll never forget and a story that will always make me be thankful for the life I have. This story reminds me a lot of Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. It was one of my favorites so as this. I can't say more without giving a lot. So I suggest that you go read this book! There are a lot of  twists and turns which will make your heart ache. Be ready for an emotional read! If You Find Me will surely break your heart. 

      I forgot! The fact that this book contains quotations from Winnie the Pooh and Friends made me love it even more. 

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together...there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart...I'll always be with you."



     (Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing this galley in exchange of an honest review through NetGalley.)

2 comments:

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I think this book is far too heartbreaking for me. I have a review copy, but I'm such a wuss when it comes to realistic YA. When people say heartbreaking and REAL, I tend to run the other way.
I'm glad you enjoyed this as much as you did, most people seem to have loved it. Perhaps I'll finally gather the courage to read it myself.
Great review!

Nina Waters said...

Thank you, Maja! I hope you'll be able to read it soon. Tell me what you think about it! :)

I was actually not expecting anything from it. I thought it was just a fun light YA read but it was far from that.

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