What a stunning and poignant story Emily Murdoch weaves with IF YOU FIND ME, a fictional narrative about two girls who had been hidden away in the wilderness for years before they are found and thrust into modern day society. Not for the faint of heart, and closely reminiscent of the fictitious story ROOM by Emma Donoghue as well as the real-life kidnapping story of Jaycee Dugard, IF YOU FIND ME will twist the emotions of many a YA (and adult) reader.
I must send my appreciation to the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to review what I believe to be a very special story. Not only is this a story about a girl who was kidnapped, mistreated and given back to society (though that is the core of the book) it is also a story about the strength of family. I love stories such as this because they usually strike a chord with me.
What I loved most about IF YOU FIND ME were Careys human interactions. The way the Carey distrusted others from the start of the novel, to the way she perceived the world and the people in it at the end of the novel conveyed a marked change in her character from beginning to end. Careys voice is one to be applauded. In spite of whatever situation was thrown her way, I love that she remained true to herself through it all. Each person that she meets along the way, from her new social worker, to her stepmother and stepsister, to her peers at school, to even her own biological father elicits a different reaction from Carey, and she interacts with them in only the ways she knows how based on her knowledge of the world. Carey is both week and timid, as well as strong and resolute, almost wise beyond her years and it is all a result of her very unusual upbringing.
While some characters seemed to be included in the story to simply allow the author to touch upon a specific theme or topic, I do believe that (due to such events occurring in real life) the reactions of each of the characters were believable and quite probable. While there is a hint of romance, it is a small matter, and thank goodness because the romance was perhaps the weakest part of the story. So dont go into this one expecting much there.
Thats another thing, though the novel begins with the relocation of the girls from the wild to society, we still get a well-developed look into the girls life in the Hundred Acre Woods. Throughout the novel, as Cary encounters new people and things, she is reminded of something from her life in the woods, thus we see the past through her brief memories. The book is also a bit of a tragic mystery, so all these memories lead up to one explosive revelation.
I adored the authors subtle changes in her writing style throughout the book.At the beginning of the book as well as between the present and the flashbacks, her inclusion and omission of the gs was a creative way to set each scene (and show Careys development). Also, while we only saw Carey and Nessas mother through the flashbacks, I felt that I fully understood her as a character and despised her to no end. It sickens me to think that there really are people just like her out there in the world.
In the end, IF YOU FIND ME will likely be one of the, if not the, darkest book Ill read in 2013. Though it may be, at times, a difficult book to read, it will certainly sit with me for years to come. I sincerely cannot stress enough just how very special this story is.