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If You Find Me: A Novel Hardcover – March 26, 2013
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Carey is such a wonderful character. In spite of all of the horrors of her life, she is so loving and hopeful. She's incredibly strong and likeable. And Nessa is just a doll.
The abuse that the girls face is simply awful and the book gives a good, if horrifying, picture of the life lived when their mother is sucked into the horrors of meth addiction. There are descriptions of abuse - physical and sexual that, although not graphic, are disturbing.
My only (minor) complaint was that I didn't think it was necessary for the author to make Carey the most beautiful girl in the world physically. Her inner beauty was more than enough - incredibly strong and admirable.
This was a very good read!
This book is not for the weak of mind or faint of heart, its not all hearts and flowers. This book describes the life struggles and pain for two young girls who are growing up in the world of methamphetamine and moonshine.
Carley is determined to make life as great as it can be for her little sister Janessa. However, that starts to prove difficult when you live 7 miles in the woods, in a run down camping trailer, with no water and a dwindling supply of beans.
That is until the day a social worker and man show up trumping through her woods, and not just her woods but her home. Obviously looking for something, they are calling her mother, herself and her baby sister by name.
Oblivious to world outside of wood fairies, beans and cock roaches, Nessa’s eyes are watchful and excited as she sees all the new things around her. The new foods, the warm water, even a real bed that isn’t made of two sleeping bags stuffed with news paper. Having selective muteism helps her to fully absorbed everything and one around her. Shes so quiet they forget the 6 year old is there most of the time anyway. But things for Carley are much harder to ease into. A life of malnourishment, abuse, and neglect has made her fearful of what she could loose. To keep her sister in this life of love and family they have been given she adapts her tweeker mothers mato from her fake AA meetings, Fake it till you mean it. That’s just what she plans on doing to keep her sister safe, loved and happy. Until she has to tell the truth behind the events that caused her sister to stop speaking.
Fourteen-year-old Carey lives in the woods with her six-year-old sister Jenessa (Ness) and their meth-addicted mother who sometimes disappears for weeks at a time. Ness hasn't spoken in over a year. This time she's been gone two months and food supplies are dwindling. Then they are found by a social worker and Carey's father, the same father who beat her mother, her to flee into the wood where they have lived for ten years. Now Carey and her sister have enough food in their bellies, soft beds to sleep on, and brand new clothes. And a stepsister who's not to happy to share her parents. Carey is carrying a secret from the woods, one that could tear her away from Jenessa, maybe forever.
Carey's first person narration was such a realistic voice I almost feel like I could hear her speaking. IF YOU FIND ME (IYFM) is a compulsively readable novel. Debut writer Emily Murdoch is a fresh voice in YA literature. While IYFM isn't suspenseful, I was glued to my Kindle. The fast pace was due to my nonstop interest in Carey and Nessa's story. The plot and writing were the strongest components of IYFM.
Carey was likable and easy to root for. Her adjustment from being neglected and abused by her mother for 10 years was too easy, too perfect. She didn't show enough signs of PTSD, anger, or fear and her adjustment was too linear, with tiny bumps in the road instead of the huge chasms that would surely be present. Neither she nor Nessa had any therapy to help their adjustment. Nessa received speech therapy, but selective mutism is better treated in play therapy since the issue isn't an inability to speak, but an unwillingness to talk for psychological reasons. I'm picky about mental health issues being portrayed accurately in fiction. The other characters were one dimensional: a father who knows when to step back and when to get closer, a perfect stepmother who always says and does exactly what's needed, the snarky stepsister who's not so bad underneath, and the cute guy who is immediately smitten, sensitive and understanding.
Despite flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed reading IYFM and will look forward to future books by Emily Murdoch.