Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
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.
If You Find Me is certainly a most compelling and emotional contemporary young adult read. I don't often go to this kind of novel but If You Find Me caught my attention after I read many raving reviews and it didn't disappoint me in the least. It treats about child abuse in a most mysterious and heartbreaking way. And to know that this was only the debut novel of this author, well, it certainly promises a lot of great novels by Murdoch.
Murdoch's novel is undoubtedly intense. Child abuse is real and sad, and If You Find Me is a realistically enough written story about this current theme so that you will sympathise with all characters. The special thing about If You Find Me is that the story is told in a certain way that leaves the readers curious, even though we know something awful happened in those woods. Admittedly the novel was a bit too intense for me sometimes, I don't often read contemporary novels, least of all, the sad ones. But If You Find Me was something unique.
What really surprised me in this novel was the realism of the characters. They could have been real people and they probably are. Unfortunately I'm sure that there are many Careys out there. While reading it, you will sympathise with every single characters, most of all, with Carey. I even enjoyed reading about Carey's stepsister. Who seems a bit mean in the beginning but isn't her situation complicated as well?! I really enjoyed that the characters had many facets.
All in all, If You Find Me is a novel that everyone should read. Even if you don't like this kind of novel, you should give it a try. Honestly I found the plot a bit obvious and predictable but still enjoyable. If you are searching for a novel that will break your heart and then mend it back together, then this is certainly the novel you are looking for.
Thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for providing me with a copy for review!