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 the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the "normal" life of school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away 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.
Review - by Hannah
Carey and her young sister Jenessa have lived all their lives hidden in the woods, away from their abusive father and the rest of civilisation. Their meth-addicted mother has been away in town for several weeks, when they are torn from the only home they know and taken to live with Carey's father. The story focuses on their transition to this new world and how they cope with modern conveniences like showers, mobile phones, hamburgers and being normal young girls. Everything is strange and new to them; sometimes in a good way, but sometimes not for the best, as they couldn't even stomach food for a while. I loved the way they regarded the woods to be familiar and home-like, and in contrast the way they discovered things for the first time. It was so interesting to see the world we take for granted through their innocent eyes. It's not often that people can look at things through fresh eyes, but Emily Murdoch created a very plausible and vivid scenario of what this must be like.
Carey very quickly became a hero in my eyes; in the regular absence of her mother, she hunted food, cooked and had to take on the hard task of bringing up a child in the woods with very little provision. Yet she did it with tenderness and a fierce determination as if Nessa was her own child. And who could blame her - Nessa was a sweet and adorable little girl. When it came to adapting to their new life, Nessa fared much better, having spent less time in the woods. However Carey found it much harder to trust people and get used to being around others. Like Carey, I didn't trust her father at first and I was just waiting for something terrible to happen. But with his new wife Melissa, step-daughter Delaney and dog Shorty, they provided the secure home the girls needed, despite some turbulent dynamics between Delaney and Carey.
The story had a very calm, tranquil feel to it, however it was never slow or boring. I think this was because the writing had a poetic quality to it, with wonderfully tactile and emotive descriptions, which were balanced carefully against a plot that was intriguing, fast moving, and captivating. I was absolutely hooked on the story and seeing Carey and Nessa's transition into their new, strange world and how they would cope with even the simplest of things like modern cuisine. I also wanted to find out what the mystery was surrounding the 'white star night', which plagued the plot with its dark undertone. There were certainly some sinister elements to the story; and coupled with the charming protectiveness of the sisters, it meant the story tugged at my heartstrings.
I have to admit the book took me by complete surprise; it seemed so unassuming. But as soon as I started reading it had me in its grip. This is a must read for teens and adults.
Hope you all enjoyed Hannah's first review, it puts all of mine to shame! I have heard incredible things about If You Find Me and i have a copy myself to read and review which leads to a question for you all. What do you think about seeing reviews of the same book by both me and Hannah here on the blog? When i have read and reviewed If You Find Me would you like to see my review here or would you rather not see reviews of the same book?