If You Find Me - YA Review by AJ G

Reader: AJ G
Age: 17
Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: 03/26/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This is one of the most original, unique books I've read in a very long time. There are books out there about kids from a broken home who don't have much, but this is a story about kids who had almost nothing. Carey and Janessa lived alone in the woods, sometimes with their mother, but usually without her. The voice Carey speaks in is so clearly appropriate, and makes the whole book seem more like looking out from her own eyes, which doesn't often happen, even though many strive for that effect. The whole story is heart-breaking and heartwarming, sometimes simultaneously. It moves at just the right pace, just awkward enough to make you feel the strangeness of Carey's transition to the real world. All the shocks and surprises are actually surprising, and can't be seen from twenty pages ahead.
Memorable or Forgettable: I think what most made this memorable was the extremity of it. These girls had worse than a broken home, they were virtually homeless. Their mom is like the worst person imaginable. They get flung suddenly into a wonderful, near perfect family. It just goes back and forth from one extreme to the other, with Carey trying to hang on to both ends. It's frankly kind of inspiring.
Cover:  I'm not a huge fan of the cover. It's certainly striking, and it stands out on the book shelf. It did draw me in, I'll admit. But there's just something about it that bugs me. I think it's that the girl on the cover doesn't look as simultaneously vulnerable and stoic as Carey. She just looks sort of pissed off.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Carey and Janessa Blackburn have lived in the woods all their lives. So when someone finds them and takes them away, it's a big adjustment. Faced with a normal life with her father, Carey has to come to terms with how her life ended up the way it did, and how she can move on from it.

tags:  coming of age / BFYA nominee / ya lit

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