Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch - A book review

I saw this book on my library's suggested reading list on new arrivals a few months ago.  So I put it on my Goodreads shelf, and there it sat until recently.  When I decided I needed a few good books to take a long on a trip, I decided to add this one to my reading plan because sometimes it's nice to read a book that you already know you won't have to wait for a sequel.

I have to say, I was so glad I finally read this book.  It was a hidden surprise literally from the first chapter and it never let up.  In fact, it was so good and different that I didn't even mind that I was stuck on a plane for 4 hours instead of 3, because it gave me time to pretty much read the entire book.  (Yes, I'm a fast reader.)  The only thing I hated was, I had to get off the plane, when I was about 15 pages from the ending, and I seriously did not want to have to wait a little while to have to finish it.

First, If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch is a tad different than most books.  It hooked me literally from the beginning and haunted my mind for a day following as I contemplated what I read and the storyline.  But when I say haunted, I don't mean it in a bad way.  This book has a storyline and subject matter that you can't help but think about for a while after you read the last page.  I'll be honest though, if you pick up this book you are going to want a good afternoon to read, because this story will grab you and it is not going to be easy to put down.  In other words, don't start it before bed.

Carey was kidnapped by her mother at a young age.  But unlike most mother's Carey's was not one that deserved to have her.  Taken from civilization and brought to a small broken down camper trailer hidden deep in a forest so they wouldn't be found.  With a mother who loved drugs and highs more than taking care of the daughter she took, Carey was left to basically raise herself.  Learning to go without food, deal with harsh winters and be on her own for weeks at a time when her mother would disappear, which for Carey's sake at times wasn't necessarily a bad thing to have free time away from her mother and what that at times would bring.

Eventually her mother got pregnant from one of her solo city visits, and Jenessa was born.  When Carey was still a young child of 9 and 10 herself, she had to become the mother that her sister needed.  Taking care of her, raising her, teaching her to read and write and how to survive.  Protecting her with everything she has, from both the elements and the other dangers that come from the life her mother has given them.

At the age of fifteen, Carey was used to being alone and raising Jenessa.  But when her mother left for town to get food, and weeks, then a month and then some go by without any word or appearance from their mother Carey begins to get worried.  Especially since the food has all but run out, and they are down to eating their last can of beans.
When two strangers appear, and take Carey and Jenessa from the only home they have ever known.  Forcing them into a world of people, civilization, new faces and foods they never imagined existed.  The girls aren't sure what to make of it all and both fear and excitement battle their minds.

Carey is forced onto a path, that is terrifying because she now will have to confront the haunted things from her past, the truths of what happened to her.  Jenessa who hasn't spoken a word in a year, will also have to learn to accept the changes and learn to live and grow.  The girls will be confronted with their own dark secrets from their past lives, that will leave readers in shock but also in awe of what hope and goodness in life can bring.

If You Find Me, is a story that unfolds in layers.  Although the subject matter is painful at times.  Emily Murdock writes it and weaves it a way that doesn't leave you with unsettling feelings, but instead you will fall in love with Carey and Jenessa and the bond between the sisters.  I actually found this book to be beautifully written and highly gripping.  This story will grab your heart and haunt your mind, but when you finish the last page you will be at peace with what the power of love can do!  I highly recommend this book.  It is a Young Adult book, however, the subject matter is more adult.  So in my opinion, adults will enjoy this read more, and I believe the content to be more appropriate for readers 16 and up.

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