Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Goodreads Stars: 5
Buy it: Amazon UK
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. - Goodreads
If Judith has ever recommended this to you, raise your hand. If you've read it, then you pay lower your hand. Keep it up if you've ignored Judith's persistent tweeting, or have put off reading this due to being busy/having other books to read/not believing it's your thing. Is your hand still raised? Good. Now hit yourself with it.
I've said before that I love stories about family. That's more important to me than the high school dramas that revolve around love interests or the bitchy cheerleaders. All of that can be left out of a novel as long as the family aspect it there, and I will likely adore it. Tatum and I were talking the other night (while we cried over The Fast and the Furious) about how all the shows we love and most of the books we adore are about families in some form or another, whether it's talking about a huge extended family like Spartacus, or a small-but-still-good family like in Supernatural.
Although the girls' mother is never actually present outside of flashbacks, her presence is heavily felt throughout the novel. Aside from Carey always mentioning her, you can really see the impact that her actions have had on these girls' lives. I'm not talking about the obvious things, like keeping them in the woods away from civilisation, but the smaller things, like some of the things Carey sometimes thinks.
I had a couple of minor issues with this book, although I wouldn't even really call them issues. They're more things that I would have liked to have seen built upon. The first thing is the length. This novel is very, very short, and since the pacing is quite fast, it's a quick read. I would have liked to have seen more of Carey and Nessa as they settle into school and their new lives, although that would have probably changed the feel of the book. The second thing I would have liked to have seen more of is Carey's father. I didn't feel as though we got to know him well enough, and I spent a lot of the book suspecting him of being an abuser. However, that may well have been Murdoch's intention.
I feel a bit bad for not reading this book sooner, because Judith has been telling me to read it for months now. I honestly wasn't expecting something so eerily beautiful, yet devastating. Once again, the family theme punched me in the gut. If You Find Me is definitely a book that you have to be prepared for, due to the whole child abuse things, and I wouldn't recommend it to everyone since I know that some people don't want to read things like that. If you love books that focus on family, and don't mind a darker read, then I say go for it!