Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: If You Find Me

If You Find MeAuthor: Emily Murdoch
Release date: March 5th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Hardcover, 256 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
        The Book Depository

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.

I knew it! I knew I should follow my instincts and stay far, far away from this book, but as usual, I let you people convince me with your wonderful reviews and look where it got me! I am heartbroken and depressed. And I ate more ice cream than one person should in a lifetime. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.
If you find me, take me home, I’d written.

The story that poured out of Emily Murdoch and onto these pages is extraordinary in many ways, but above all, in that it defies analysis and predictions of any kind. It both is and isn’t what you’d expect, and comparing it to other books, other stories, seems unfair and unnecessary. This white star stands on its own.

However, some minor comparisons can’t be helped. I’ve read many stories about abused children in the past, but very few of them had voices as strong as Carey’s. Murdoch showed that not all traumatized kids act out. Some of them go to the other extreme – they behave respectfully, responsibly, always polite, always tiptoeing around those who make them feel safe, hoping to be allowed to stay where life doesn’t seem so bad.

The poor grammar served to strengthen the authenticity of Carey’s voice, but she didn’t need it, not really. She was as clear as bell from the very first sentence, her heart and her thoughts clearly on display for all of us to see. Instead of making her seem detached, her matter-of-fact narration only emphasized her hurt tenfold. She had every right to be angry, to rage and scream at the injustice, and I kept expecting her to do so, at least once, but she never did. She is very accepting of her past and her present both, always trying to make the best of things.

That’s not to say that I didn’t appreciate Murdoch’s excellent writing. I can only assume that playing with language while telling a story like Carey’s wasn’t easy, but she did it elegantly. She was consistent in language, and it often reflected Carey’s state of mind, which is quite extraordinary, if you think about it. She did it subtly, making Carey’s grammar more polished when she felt secure (or wanted to protect herself by slipping into a different persona, in a way), and more deteriorated when she was, physically or mentally, closer to her camper in the Hundred Acre Woods.

Everything about Carey’s family seemed warm and inviting, so of course she had a hard time believing it to be real. She’s never had anyone taking care of her; she was the caregiver from the day her sister Nessa was born. Even allowing someone else to take care of Jenessa is hard, but Carey always does what’s best for her sister, and having a family and a warm home is exactly that.

Even if somehow If You Find Me doesn’t get all the literary awards it deserves, I’ll always picture this cover covered in medals. But I’m hoping for the William C. Morris award at the very least, and I’ve been right about these things before, you know. So even though I complained about my persuasive fellow bloggers at the beginning of this review, I am really very grateful. Some books you read for entertainment, and some because they make you a better person. If You Find Me is of the latter variety.


  1. A five star from you? Done. Sold. Purchasing this baby when I can get to my bookstore. I never knew that the voice of the MC would have poor grammar, I'm not too irritated by that, in fact somewhat excited as sometimes, normal isn't good enough for me.

    Well written review, Maja! <33

  2. I've been so scared about picking up this too, I know that I will be a complete mess afterwards. But I agree with you wholeheartedly sometimes raw and realistic stories just like If you Find Me need to be read. I'm sure that I will try and read If You Find Me soon, but I will have my chocolates and ice cream at the ready! Gorgeous review Maja! :)

  3. I'm sold to this book. Every blogger I trust gave this book at least 4 stars and then I know it's a good one. I can't wait to get a copy and read this book myself :)

  4. Maja! I'm so glad! I completely agree with your final sentence. You know I normally stay away from things like this, but I just couldn't resist giving this a try when I had the chance. It made me very miserable too, of course, but I loved it all the same. I really can't wait to see what Emily has in store for us in the future.

    Fantastic review!

  5. LOL! Nothing wrong with an ice cream binge every now and then. ;)

    I am so glad you read this, it really is a fantastic (yet emotional) read! I loved it.

    Great review!!

    Have an awesome weekend!!

  6. DEPRESSED AND SAD AND STILL FIVE STARS?!? Wowzers. I really want to pick this book up, just so I can read about the characters that are blazing off the pages but I do so hate to be depressed and sad. Plus, it's hard to explain those feelings to friends when they ask how you are. They just don't understand the pain of a good book.

  7. That's amazing that this book could provide you so many feels, even heartbreaking ones.

    Wonderful review!
    I love it when I write and read stories written in interesting and movie syntactical choices.
    Will definitely be picking If You Find Me.

  8. Sheez, Maja! I'm so glad you read it. Eating that ice cream is worth it so don't worry! ;)

    You are so right about that William C. Morris award! I'm hoping for that too. Really happy you loved this despite the fact that it's depressing.

  9. Wow Maja. This might be my favorite review of yours yet! I can just feel how much you loved this book and how strongly it affected you, and that has me wanting to make a trip to the bookstore(and then the grocery store to pick up some ice cream. And maybe some chocolate too. And cookies?). MUST READ! Gorgeous review:)

  10. I think that I might just have to be brokenhearted and depressed too!

  11. Well, I just went on a diet so I should PROBABLY stay away from this book if it causes a massive consumption of ice cream. Lol This book sounds lovely though (despite all the messy heartbreaking) and I'm really interested in reading this. Definitely saving this for a rainy day... or when I give up on my diet. Lovely review!

  12. I'm so scared to pick up this book. It's very short length compared to other books I read, but even those few pages are going to leave me in a mess if I open it up. And I'm not an easy crier. I have to read this book, it would be a good learning experience. Great review, Maja!

  13. I really need to read this, I know it's going to be wonderful, but I think I've been putting it off because I'm not ready for the emotional wringer it's going to put me through. But now I have my solution, ICE CREAM. And perhaps baked goods too....:-)

    This lovely 5 star review + a Morris prediction means I can no longer put this one off. Thanks for the much needed nudge!

    Oh & I love this---> "Some books you read for entertainment, and some because they make you a better person." I need to read more of the latter kind, I don't challenge myself enough!

  14. I know what you mean... those mean bloggers getting you all emotional. GAH! They have done that to me as well! Bad bloggers! Bad! ;)

    Btw, you had me at saying this is not about the kid who draws attention but the other side of that coin where they try to fade into the woodwork... or at least try to stay within the "safe margin". You don't get many books like that!

    I have to say you will become one of them as I am more curious about this book now. Bad Blogger!

  15. I had this scheduled two weeks ago and for whatever reason it got bumped. I want to read this and I don't because I know it will punch me in the gut. I struggle with these emotional books, I don't want to gorge on Icecream, oh who am I kidding... any excuse to eat Icecream!

  16. lol when I read the first sentence I was prepared for a bad review. Glad you liked this one! I seen many many wonderful reviews of it, how emotional it is. I actually have a physical copy of this one, but I have not cracked it open :( maybe I need to be in the mood or am swamped as is but I hope to read it soon...I'll probably have to bring icecream.

  17. I'm so glad you loved this one as much as I did! I actually was expecting a darker novel than I got, I guess because we get her story from when she's 'rescued' and mostly see things that happened in the past scattered through out. It was still an emotional read though, for sure. And I think your review expresses pretty much what I felt as well. Wonderful review!

  18. Seriously, the positive reviews for this are making me die of guilt! I'm simply not attracted to the idea behind this tale. I love the emotional heartbreak, but somehow, I can't get over the basic plot of this novel. It just doesn't appeal to me. I'll have to pick it up, though, with all these glowing reviews. Fantastic review, Maja! :)

  19. 5 stars! Wow!
    I've heard so many great things about this book, but like you I'm very hesitant to pick it up because I know it will make me sad. I'm happy that you loved it so much, Maja. I seriously need to pick a book that will amaze me after all the so-so books I have been reading lately.
    Lovely review, Maja! You definitely convinced me to give it a shot!

    P.S I see you're reading Ella and Micha. I'm very curious as to what you think of it because I didn't think it would be your kind of book. Will definitely look forward to your review for that one!

  20. Yes, yes, and yes -- I agree with everything you've said about this book! It's heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. And Murdoch's skills as an author are ridiculously amazing. As an added bonus, I really love the violin so Carey's love of it was wonderful too.

  21. Oh man, I DO want to read this, but I know what it's going to do to me.I have to wait until I can take it. :) Great review, Maja.

  22. I'm so happy that you loved this one as much as I did, Maja! It's such a work of art and it does deserve all kinds of medals! I loved Carey's voice and she became so real and so full of life for me which was really surprising with some a sombre story. But it's what I loved the most about it--it's not about the horror, but the hope and seeing these girls get everything they deserve. And how they cherish all the little things <3 I loved the bond she had with her sister, too! Great review I love seeing this book get the praise it deserves! :)

  23. Stellar review! This one looks so amazing I can't wait for my hold on it at the library to come through :)
    - Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  24. Heh, well I'm not too keen on a reading experience where I will become heartbroken and depressed, but I'm not sure I should be passing up this read either, after all the positive reviews I've read. I think I would very much appreciate the author's writing, the way it evolves throughout the story to reflect the MC's state. I mean, dang, does that ever sound good! She would have to be a very talented author and therefore, very deserving of an award. This was such a fantastic review, Maja! It has convinced me even further that I should be reading this one, despite the heartbreak.

  25. Few months ago I've read Sam's review for this one and I really wanted to read it but after yours I need it like NOW! It sounds like something magnificent and special. I can't wait to read it. Great review Maja :)

  26. Lovely review, Maja. :) This was a difficult read, especially for a mother. I just wanted to scratch that woman's eyes out! I can't believe a mother could treat their children in such a manner. I adored Carey and her positive and hopeful outlook on life in spite of all the crap she was dealt. At least when we read it, it was more a look into the past instead of it happening right then and there.

  27. Woo, 5 stars! That is amazing! :) I was honestly surprised by how much I loved this book—I though for sure all that hype could not be real. But it totally was, and I completely fell in love with Carey and her unique narrative voice (which, I agree, wasn't necessary, but did give this book a little something extra).

  28. Aww crap, now I have to read this..but at least I know to get some mint chocolate chip ice cream before I start reading it. Wonderful review Maja, and I am glad you listened to others reviews!

  29. I am tempted to give this book a go as well, despite it not really sounding like something I'd be that interested in reading. I do love it when authors are really deliberate about the language they use and their writing choices - it makes reading a book that much more of an enjoyable experience, so your mention of that does pique my interest. And you are so right - sometimes it's important to read stories that are difficult to swallow because there is so much more to be gained through literature than pure entertainment. Beautiful, thought-provoking review, Maja!


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