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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome read
Oh what a fab book. Utterly brilliant, completely heartbreaking and totally addictive to the point where to don't want to put it down.

I've heard good things about this book for a while which meant I was excited to finally get round to reading it and I was thrilled to see it lived up to all the hype. I was hooked from the first page and found as a story it just...
Published 9 months ago by Kirsty at the Overflowing Library

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley.)
15-year-old Carey has been living in a caravan in the woods for years. Her drug-addict mother comes and goes, and Carey is left to look after her 6-year-old mute sister.

One day a man and a woman turn up at their home in the...
Published 9 months ago by Sarah


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome read, 24 Oct 2013
By 
Kirsty at the Overflowing Library (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Oh what a fab book. Utterly brilliant, completely heartbreaking and totally addictive to the point where to don't want to put it down.

I've heard good things about this book for a while which meant I was excited to finally get round to reading it and I was thrilled to see it lived up to all the hype. I was hooked from the first page and found as a story it just got stronger and more compelling as it went on. I honestly can't recommend it enough.

For me this book was all about the relationship between Carey and her younger sister Jenessa. The two have just been taken into their father's home after their mother finally decided she couldn't cope anymore after raising them in a caravan in the woods away from civilisation for several years. During that time Carey was forced to grow up fast and look after her sister and do all kinds of things to ensure they survived as a family. Suddenly the sisters find they have to adapt to a more normal way of living and while having home comforts is a dream it doesn't make the adjustment easy. Seeing the way the girls are together and the way they rely upon one another during such a change is fascinating. I loved seeing how they settled into the new world and the challenges they faced in doing so.

What I really liked about this book and what made it so powerful was that as the story went on you started to find out more about the life the girls had lived before and really started to understand the terrible things they had been forced to suffer whilst in that caravan away from civilisation. Much of what was revealed was utterly heart-breaking and really made me feel for them all the more.

All in all a fantastic book which I would highly recommend
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A child touched by something terribly wrong..., 15 Mar 2014
By 
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
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This is a book for young adults - didn't stop me reading it though, and I am a little older!
Here's a story of Carey, a fourteen year old, and Jenessa, her six year old sister, who live in the woods in an old camper van with their mother who stole them away from their father and in doing that, stole their childhood. For mama is a drug addict, a meth smoker, a woman who has sex with men purely for the next "high", and who disappears for weeks at a time leaving the two girls to their own devices in the woods. So it's Carey who has brought Jennesa up from a baby, ensuring she eats, home schooling her via scruffy books that her mother occasionally brings home. Carey can shoot, the rifle bringing in the odd rabbit or squirrel, and they learn to survive. Until the day a well dressed woman and a man with a sad face find their hiding place.....
This is a moving story of how children are often pawns in adults' lives. How when an adult tells you something you believe it because why wouldn't you? How you forget your past because you have to get on with staying warm, fed and alive on a daily basis. And even if you can get out of this fix, you are going to have to find yourself all over again in another world.
I felt for Carey, who tells her story. She was concerned more for her little sister than herself, and went to any lengths to protect her. Some adults are just not meant to be parents, and the children suffer accordingly.
I think any reader from around 12/13 onwards would appreciate this book, written in a "just another page" kind of style. It's the author's first novel, and I'd certainly look out for her next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a league of it's own by far..., 2 May 2014
This review is from: If You Find Me (Paperback)
I was actually speechless after finishing If You Find Me - for all the right reasons. It left me feeling like I had just read something I just needed to tell everyone about, like they needed to read just how amazing it was. It had the spark of a John Green novel to rope in any YA book lover and the authenticity of a Jodi Picoult book to interest Adult readers. Ultimately, I couldn't see how anyone wouldn't love what beauty the pages held.

I honestly think that there is a very rare beauty in IYFM that just pours emotion all over the pages, written powerfully and exquisitely, constantly leaving me in complete awe. The plot pulled on my heartstrings and it was honestly impossible not to fall in love with the story and the characters.
There was a certain uniqueness about it's premise and the way it wasn't at all predictable, constantly surprising me and leaving me, again, speechless. Love is a main subject that exists in the story-world, whether it's the sisterly bond between Carey and Jenessa or when the sisters have to adapt to the new world that should have been theirs all along, I really got a glimpse at how beautifully complex it all was and how truthful and believable the story felt to me.

Carey had a very distinctive narrative voice and she was quite the incredible character. She was a great sister and friend to Jenessa and their bond and friendship was breathtaking; how they had come to rely on each other and depend on that connection to carry them through some of the toughest times in their lives.
A character that surprised me was definitely Melissa, because I thought that possibly, she wouldn't accept the sisters into her life, but she did and she was wonderful with them, welcoming them with open arms. All the relationships were crafted enchantingly and the characters alone were well worth praising in the novel.

In a league of it's own by far, If You Find Me was a rare gem among the others in it's genre. I can't recommend it highly enough to give it justice. Emily Murdoch is definitely an author I'm going to watch for in the future and I can't wait to read more from her. 5 star worthy completely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MAKING GOOD, 23 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Deep in Tennessee's Hundred Acre Wood a shocking discovery. In a dilapidated camper live two girls recently abandoned by their mother (who was often absent anyway): Carey, aged fifteen, abducted when four from her father's custody; six year old sister Jenessa, father unknown. All this while they have been living mainly off the land, hunting down animals to help supplement the ubiquitous baked beans. What hope for them now? Jenessa no longer speaks. Carey seems haunted by memories of "the white-star night", a terrible secret that must never be revealed.

A powerful novel, crammed with strengths. Carey narrates, often with vivid turns of phrase. Through her eyes we are able to contrast her old life with the new. Suddenly here is a world needing to be decoded: it with light switches, indoor taps and lavatories, proper beds - not to mention television sets and cellphones! At her father's farm, the two girls adapt surprisingly quickly (Jenessa learning the hard way not to eat too much too soon.)

Characterization is strong: the sisters a delight; the father movingly trying to come to terms with what they have endured; his stepdaughter Melissa strongly resenting these intrusive freaks from the woods. Three-legged dog Shorty deserves special mention, he with an important part to play. Particularly impressive is the portrayal of Mrs. Haskell from Social Services - she overworked, but painstaking and forever supportive.

Five stars then? Unfortunately I had a major problem, unable to credit that the two girls should have emerged from that hovel so well educated they were able at once to skip a grade at school. Not only does Carey quote poetry, but proves a brilliant violinist. Much more needs to be learned about that unstable, brutal, exploiting mother for this to ring true. I also felt parts of the final chapters could have been better managed. Events of the terrible night that changed everything were so devastatingly revealed, there was surely no reason to repeat them a page or so later.

Such reservations apart, here is a tale greatly enjoyed. It also excited for, if this is a first novel, what treats lie ahead!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If You Find Me, 12 Oct 2013
By 
Jenny, Wondrous Reads (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
I had no idea what to expect from debut novel If You Find Me when I started reading it. I certainly wasn't expecting to be hooked from the start, to empathise with Carey the way I did and to completely fall in love with little Jenessa. It's a beautifully written book that grips you from page one, pulling you into a story of survival, resilience and, ultimately, living.

Carey's story isn't an easy story to read; it's shocking, heartbreaking, and has the potential to be all too true, to be one of those news stories you read in the papers in real life. At several moments during the novel I had to take a couple of seconds to step back and let it sink in, purely because some of the things Carey and Jenessa go through are nothing short of horrific. These are two young girls thrust into this situation by their own mother, and forced to grow up in the depths of the woods, affectionately named the Hundred Acre Wood by the girls. This innocence, coupled with scenes of brutality, make If You Find Me a hard book to read and imagine, but one that leaves you with a strong sense of hope and morality.

Jenessa is, without a doubt, my favourite character. She's practically mute, but she's so loveable and reliant on Carey for everything. Carey's still a child herself, forced to grow up quickly and far too soon. She's seen and done things no girl her age should ever have to see and do, and she harbours several secrets that are slowly making her unravel. How she reaches the end of her journey as a girl of the woods demands to be read, savoured and then read again.

If You Find Me is by no means a happy, go-lucky book, but it's an important, hopeful story of two girls surviving in a desolate wasteland and living to tell the tale. It's about family and the strong bond that forms between human beings, whether they're related or not, and how all is never lost. I can't wait to see what Emily Murdoch tackles next, and I just hope it's as powerful as this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaker, 26 Mar 2013
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
I stumbled upon this book. Browsed through NetGalley, intrigued by the cover, liked the summary, requested it, and was mysteriously granted access. (My requests often get rejected, so it's nice to be welcomed.)

Let's face it: Emily Murdoch's IF YOU FIND ME is a heartbreaker. With the narrator growing up in a Tennessee forest, basically raising her little sister while their meth addict mother is who knows where for how long - this story was bound to be nothing less than sad.

But the focus of the tale is life after the forest. Carey Blackburn had always been told that her father beat her and her mum, so she's confused that he seems the nicest guy alive. Her selectively mute sister is speaking more and more. Her stepmother is wonderful, and her stepsister is difficult though she does love them.

So yes, it has a happy ending. All the sad stuff is in the past, so things only get better. Of course, Carey feels that she doesn't deserve good things and happiness, because her mum poisoned her against it, saying that everything has its price - usually flesh. And my word, Carey is so precocious that she's almost annoying. Almost. It's a thin line, but the author keeps readers on the right side. Carey's smart, into poetry, testing two grades above her age, a talented violinist, and quickly makes a new friend and a new boyfriend.

And I think that's what stops this book from being a five-star read: the obstacles are in the past, not in the present. The worst is already over. And I don't know much about farm life - and I don't know what Carey's father and Melissa do for livings - but how do they have enough money to afford completely new wardrobes and things for two new children?

IF YOU FIND ME best works if you feel it; not think it. But I'm desperate to read whatever else the mega-talented Emily Murdoch writes. Jodi Picoult fans would be wise to give this a go.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you find me, 6 April 2013
By 
Kate Phillips "Kate" (Southampton, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
Too often I find that authors take a sensitive and serious subject matter and ruin its potential impact with over the top drama and unrealistic story lines. Luckily and rather amazingly Emily Murdoch manages to get this just right. If You Find Me was heart-breaking and touching but also hopeful. The sensitive subject matter was handled with care and consideration and I felt it was realistic instead of over the top.

There are many good aspects about this book. The writing is excellent, the characters are likeable but what I really loved about it was that it didn't dwell on the bad. Often with this type of book the situation for the characters goes from bad to worse and the drama and angst stretches almost to the very end, where the HEA is too short and too sweet. Lots of readers really like that but I am not a fan. I don't want to read endless heartache and pain. If You Find Me by no means ignores the bad but chooses to focus on how the characters move on and rebuild, it gave this book a feeling of hopefulness.

What really helped this book was Carey is an amazing character. I really admired her maturity and strength, what she went through is unimaginable and reading her trying to cope and adapt to a new and modern life is not always easy but she handles herself so well and I never doubted her courage. Her love for her younger sister, Jenessa, was beautiful she is caring and attentive and clearly loves her.

If You Find Me is not always an easy book to read but it is worth reading, it is a stunning debut that is beautifully delivered.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly emotional and different from anything I've ever read!, 28 July 2013
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
If You Find Me shot straight to the top of my TBR list as soon as I'd heard about it. I had read nothing but positive reviews, and it sounded like the perfect read for me, since I am devouring contemporary novels at the moment! So when I saw it in the book store, I went balistic with excitement! It was so embarrassing. Of course I ran, with the book in hand, through busy streets, mild and damp weather, and the occasional pothole, straight for home to snuggle up with my most anticipated read. If You Find Me definitely lived up to my expectations and the hype. Watch out people, Emily Murdoch is definitely an author to look out for!

If I were to choose one word to describe If You Find Me, it would be 'real'. The story was so unique and different, yet Murdoch told it in such a brilliant way it felt like the events the story contained were happening around me as I was reading. I'm glad Emily Murdoch kept the story so realistic, and also relatable, because it leaves a better impression on the reader after finishing the novel. And I have to admit, I did suffer a bit of a book hangover after reading If You Find Me! The story moves quickly, right from the beginning, but the pacing is kept at a relaxed pace that lets the reader familiarise with the characters and the setting. Another thing I loved about If You Find Me, the setting. I've read a lot of books set in the U.S., but this is the first YA book in which I felt I was actually there! I think it was the fact that the novel was told from Carey's point of view, and how brilliantly the author portrayed that accent in the narration, especially with Carey's numerous attempts to remember her <i>gs</i> at the end of her <I>ing</I> words. I don't know if this was intentional, to allow the reader to be more involved in Carey's thoughts and feel like they're there with her, in Tennessee, but it sure worked 'right fine'! I thought that the constant reference of beans was a tad bit irritating, but that was just a small pet peeve of mine! Another thing I slightly disliked about this novel is how abruptly it ended. I wish we were given more of an after-story. I don't even feel the story was fully finished, but that doesn't take away how amazing this book If You Find Me is anyway. The plot line was shocking, heart-breaking, terrifying, and loveable! This is definitely a book people will connect with, I know I did. It's a very special novel, and it may make you cry! Just a heads up!

<b><I>"I answer her with my silence, understanding the full power of it for the first time. Words are weapons. Weapons are powerful. So are unsaid words. So are unused weapons."</b></I>

Carey was the perfect protagonist for If You Find Me. I thought she was a brilliant charcter from page one. It was her relatablity that made her so likebale. It's impossible to dislike her for her innocence, naivety, maturity and protectiveness. She is truly a character that you cannot forget! The characters in this novel were greatly developed, and I loved each one of them. One character I found particularly interesting was Carey's mum. Although we never actually met her in the story, she was the most intriguing for me. Her actions had effected everyone in the novel in some way. She was the instigator of this horrible situation, and still Carey loved her. I wish we could've explored the character more, but I understand why Murdoch kept her under the covers for the majority of the novel. I could go on all day describing my love for the fantastic set of characters in If You Find Me, but I don't want to bore you, so I shall move on!

The writing is probably the best aspect of If You Find Me. Seriously, for a debut author, Emily Murdoch sure knows how to blow her readers away! The skill she has in developing characters, making the story line flow so fluidly throughout is incredible. Every sentence was meaningful, every line had depth. Everything just slid together so perfectly! If this book was written any other way, it wouldn't have worked. This just shows the talent Murdoch holds!

<I><b>“I take my hand back, like a leaf letting go. It hurts too much to hang on. So why does it hurt so much to let go?” </b></I>

If You Find Me was originally titled The Patron Saint of Beans! Thank goodness they decided to go with If You Find Me because I definitely wouldn't have been intrigued to buy it otherwise, and I've already mentioned my dislike if the continuous mentioning of beans in the story. It just shows how important book titles are! And I just want to say that the cover for If You Find Me is incredible! I love how mysterious it is, so great job to the designer, I like you.

Overall, If You Find Me is an unforgettable read. I can't wait to see what's next for Emily Murdoch, and get my hands on her next novel as soon as it's released! I recommend If You Find Me to everyone! It truly is a must read and such a unique YA novel. You will experience the journey this book brings with compelling characters and realistic and heart-breaking events. And you must experience that! As I said at the beginning of this review, Emily Murdoch is an author to look out for. After If You Find Me, I have no doubt that I will adore whatever she brings next!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Touching book, 6 July 2014
This review is from: If You Find Me (Paperback)
Fourteen-year-old Carey and six-year-old Jenessa have been hidden in the woods for years. Their mother would often leave for long stretches of time before returning and they would have no choice but to fend for themselves. This time was different, she didn’t return and instead two strangers arrive and drag them both into the real world.

I think one of my favourite things about this book is the strong undercurrent of sisterly love. Carey is the primary giver to Jenessa and both sisters show absolute devotion to each other. Their relationship is deeply touching and both children make sacrifices for one another.

Unfortunately, I found a lot of the novel to be filled with unrealistic idealism. Designed to show the stark contrast between their former life and their present one it is too unbelievable that they will now have the best of everything. Both children are incredibly beautiful, despite no formal education they are two grades ahead in school, on the first day of school Carey meets a popular boy and it rapidly becomes love, etc. I also found the ending to be very predictable and not at all shocking. It’s unrealistic how quickly Carey believes her father’s truth after so many years of believing him to be abusive.

Ultimately I found that despite these problems I found that I still loved the central themes of the story: love and devotion, and that this made it a very enjoyable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not a children's book as advertised, but an excellent debut novel., 1 July 2014
By 
Jennifer May (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish it. As I’ve only just finished a module called Dialect in Literature and Film, which is about how realistic the representations of dialects are, I was weirdly infuriated by the way Murdoch represented Carey’s accent – there is not a person in the world who drops EVERY SINGLE g, and that and the use of ‘aint’ were the only things used to show she spoke differently to standard English speakers, and I just couldn’t get over how wrong it was.

Luckily, Murdoch’s writing style is so good, and the story so engaging that after a while I forgot about it and started enjoying the book.

I was a bit apprehensive about the narrator being only 14, but Carey has had to take on so many adult responsibilities, that her narration doesn’t seem at all childish.

I really enjoyed the use of quotes from the Bronte’s, Tennyson and Winnie the Pooh. Who knew Pooh could be so philosophical?

While I really enjoyed this book, a large part of it was about hiding the secret of the ‘white star night’, which I thought was really obvious right from the beginning, so I docked a star for that, but it is a fantastic debut novel, and one I highly recommend.
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If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
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