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If You Find Me Paperback – 30 Jan 2014
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Murdoch tells a fascinating tale (Books For Keeps)
An extraordinary debut novel (Daily Mail)
Bittersweet yet gripping ... a gorgeous literary read for teenagers ... breaks and soothes your heart in equal measure (We Love This Book)
Thsi story will break your heart, before slowly putting it back together piece by piece (Sugarscape)
An emotional rollercoaster of a read that also delivers plenty of plot twists and tension (Turn2Page1)
A remarkable tale ... a stunning debut novel (Hackwriters)
This novel will be entering unconventional territory: with dark and challenging content ... Carey's extraordinary narrative voice subtly balances maturity and betrayed innocence ... There's a slow-burning intensity to this story of resilience and hope that will keep readers captivated (Booktrust)
Powerful and accomplished (INIS)
Challenging, uplifting and contemporary (Metro)
This book was so powerful I read it from front to back in one night ... heartbreakingly magnificent (The Guardian)
Fans of Jodi Picoult will love this gripping, disturbing but also uplifting thriller that culminates in a shocking revelation.See all Product description
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This story is an absorbing and compelling read, as Carey and her sister adapt to their new lives within a conventional middle-class family. Carey has to deal with Delaney, who resents sharing her home with these intruders. Carey is also coming to terms with what has happened to her mum, but there are some even darker secrets.
This is a young adult book, with some disturbing content it is suitable for a reader of about 14 up, not the 6 to 11 year olds mentioned in the description here on Amazon.
If You Find Me is the debut novel of Emily Murdoch. It’s the story of Carey, a fourteen year old girl who lives deep in the woods in a caravan with her meth addicted mother and mute six-year-old sister. Her mum goes missing for weeks at a time, and one day a man claiming to be Carey’s father and a woman from social services turn up at the caravan and bring Carey and her sister back to civilisation.
I thought this book was really well-written. The pace and the style of the story kept me reading long past my bedtime and I was always keen to pick it up. It touched on some really difficult subjects, such as sexual abuse, drug abuse and paedophilia, without being sensationalist and gave the reader just enough information to be suitably shocked but without being overly graphic.
The plot was really interesting. You have a kid who was taken into the woods aged five and has had nothing to do with civilisation since then. The possibilities as far as a plot is concerned are almost endless and the author does a really good job of exploring them. Okay, there were some bits that had me raising an eyebrow in disbelief (would someone who is as voracious a reader as Carey really never have heard of contact lenses?), but in all this aspect of the plot was really well explored. Carey and Nessa’s re-integration into society were really interesting to read about and at times my heart just went out to them.
Actually, the plot as a whole was well done. There were enough flashbacks into Carey’s life in the woods to provide a nice contrast with her current situation and although I thought the plotline with Carey’s mum needed some resolution I really enjoyed it.
What let this book down, I felt, was the MC. Although I loved Carey’s loyalty to her sister and the way she fought to protect her (in fact, I really liked the relationship between Nessa and Carey - it was beautiful), in all other respects she was a complete Mary-Sue. Possibly the most Mary-Sueish Mary-Sue I’ve ever read about. Here’s how much of a Mary-Sue she is:
1) She’s beautiful (but never realised it before)
2) Great figure
3) Kind to everyone she meets
4) Super talented on the violin
5) Two years ahead of her peers academically
6) Crazy survival skills
7) Best-looking boy in school falls instantly in love with her
GAH! She desperately needed some dark to provide contrast to all this awesomeness. Even when her stepsister is openly nasty to her (and I wasn’t keen on this relationship either - Delaney was pretty one-dimensional and her nastiness was really gratuitous) she turns the other cheek.
And when we find out that she did do something really bad (and it was really bad) when she lived in the woods, she had a really good, noble reason for doing it. Again - gah!
All in all, though, this was a good story and if you can get over a too-good-to-be-true protagonist, it’s worth a look.
I'm not really a huge fan of contemporary fiction but I just found this book impossible to put down. Despite the fact that it contains some dark and really disturbing scenes (drug abuse, child cruelty, the rape of a minor) it's not really a novel about any of those things. They merely form the backdrop to the tale; it's actually a really uplifting story about hope, love and family.
There isn't really much of a story beyond Casey and Nessa's struggle to fit in and find their place in the world but the book never seems to drag. It's just a nice story that portrays the social services in a good light and shows that it possible for a teenager to find happiness even after years of terrible abuse. Although there are things in Casey's past that really turned my stomach, the important thing is that she's able to grow and see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Casey is a really relatable character. As the novel is told entirely from her perspective, it's really easy to get inside her head and understand her confusion. Her relationship with her sister really tugs at the heart strings. I also really though the relationship between Casey and Delaney was handled very well. Although I loathed Delaney at the start of the story, I gradually began to understand what her problem was and empathise with her position.
I don't want to say much more in case I spoil the story for you. This novel is definitely a must read and I would recommend it to all mature teen readers.