If You Find Me
By Emily Murdoch
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Source: PublisherSummary: 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.
Carey has been living in a camper in the woods for almost as long as she can remember. With her mentally unstable mom and little sister, Carey has learned to fend for herself out in the woods, fighting to survive a threadbare life. Her mom often disappears for weeks at a time to come back with supplies, money, and drugs, but this time she's been gone for two months and still hasn't come back. Two strangers arrive at the camp with a letter from her mother, telling her they are there to take her back to her real life. Now, Carey must face the truth that she was stolen by her mother ten years ago while trying to forget the horrible life her mother made her live, deep in the woods. While trying to adjust to a new family, a new home, and a typical teenage life in high school, Carey keeps her secrets buried deep inside of her, constantly fearing that one little slip will take her new life and beloved little sister away.
Oh my goodness, where to start? This book was so powerful and serious that I ate up every single page. Carey has had to grow up super fast, basically taking on the mother role of her five-year-old sister. Her relationship with her sister is so sweet and plays such a huge role in this story. There are still huuuggeeee gaps on what happened all of those years they lived in the woods, but Emily Murdoch did a brilliant job revealing their dark secrets one bit at a time. Through flashbacks and conversations, the reader is slowly let into the truth about what really happened to Carey and her little sister throughout all of those years.
Another great part about this book were all of the characters. Carey's Dad and his new wife are the sweetest people ever, and how they react to taking in two girls who have been living in the woods for ten years is amazing. Then there's Delaney, Carey's new stepsister, who has a far from perfect reaction to having new sisters around. Even though she's 15 years old, Delaney has to have a caddy attitude towards Carey. I especially loved the friends Carey makes at school, the ones who really accept her despite her resistance to let people in. The emotions and reactions in this book are so real that they keep you hooked throughout the entire story.
I absolutely recommend this book to all YA lovers out there. You have to be in the mood for something serious, but it's so heartbreaking that you'll end up loving it when you finish. This novel deals with serious issues, so prepare yourself. In the end, you'll be glad you got to read such an emotional, wonderful book.