If You Find Me
May 3rd 2013
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.
If You Find Me is a really incredible book about family, love, identity and survival and I'm trying to think of another book to compare it to to give you an idea about what it's like, but I can't. I don't think that I've read a book like it that tells this sort of story so well.
My favourite part of this book was probably the writing. Everything about it was perfect - Carey's voice especially. It felt really solid and real as well as at the same time being kind of dreamy and beautiful. The way things are described is done in such a way that just felt really new, and it didn't feel like I was just reading a bunch of cliches like it can sometimes do. I think that this was mainly because we're seeing our world through Carey's eyes - though the eyes of someone who doesn't know what a lot of this stuff is and is experiencing all these things for the first time, and I just really enjoyed getting her perspective.
Also, the relationship between Nessa and Carey was incredible. I mean, you'd expect it to be after they've spent however many years in the woods with pretty much just each other to rely on, but still. And not just that, but the healing that was done between Carey and her father after having lived through fourteen years of her life thinking he was a monster that she had to be saved from, that he was the reason her mother took her. I was worried that it wouldn't be resolved by the end, but I didn't need to worry as even though the ending was kind of open ended in a way, everything that mattered was resolved.
I had been a bit worried about Ryan, Carey's sort of love interest, because even though the first part of the book had been all about her, it felt like her thing with Ryan was going to overshadow that which possibly would've annoyed because, well, I don't really know, because I just wanted it to be about Carey, I guess? But it was actually pretty sweet and interesting to see it develop and to see how that changed her and helped her adjust better, I suppose.
The way in which the book was structured did feel a bit jarring at times, not because there's, like, any huge change in narration or anything, but just because the book is split into 3 parts and each part is very thematic, which I know it pretty much the usual. But it was just that each part felt like it was solidly about one or two things until those things had been resolved and then we wouldn't hear about it the next part, you know? Apart from the things that were important across the whole book like the White Star night and that sort of thing. Like, for example, the whole second part was really about Carey at school, and meeting Pixie and Ryan, and then there was hardly really a mention of Ryan in the next part. But that may just be me and it didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the book.
There is definitely more that I wanted to say about If You Find Me, but my brain is currently dead and I can't remember it, besides, I think I've got the point across that it's very very good you should definitely at least consider reading it. It's a beautiful, raw and very emotional story but it is so worth it, every damn page.