A deeply compelling mix of high school drama and page-turning mystery that asks profound questions about family, truth, and love
Fourteen-year-old Carey and six-year-old Jenessa have been living in the woods with their mother for as long as they can remember; the sheltering trees and a broken-down camper are all they know. But what they’ve never been told is that Carey vanished from the real world ten years ago, when their mother took her, causing an uproar in the media - and in her father’s life.
Now, abandoned by the mother they trusted, they’re often left alone for long periods of time to fend for themselves - but, in one moment, everything changes. They’re found by Carey’s father and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world, one of shopping malls, shiny appliances, new clothes, and mouth-watering food. Carey desperately wants to believe in this new reality but is held back by a deep and painful loyalty to her mentally ill mother, who gave Carey her violin and taught her how to play the soaring music that helps her survive.
And then there’s the other piece of Carey’s past that haunts her, the story of what happened to her and Jenessa on that dark night in the woods - the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Will Carey ever be able to trust her father and his family enough to fit into this new life? Will Jenessa finally break her silence and ruin the cocoon of safety that Carey’s built so carefully around them? And what will happen if the secret comes out?
©2013 Emily Murdoch (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc
“Grabbed me by the heart on page one and didn’t let go till the very last word. Murdoch’s language is lovely, her storytelling gripping.” (Carol Lynch Williams, PEN Award-winning author of The Chosen One)
“Within two pages, I was so hopelessly hooked, I felt like the story had attached itself to me…Original and suspenseful, but most of all, it was Carey’s voice that had me flipping the pages…One of those books you devour.” (Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List)
“Searing…Hurt my heart and will probably haunt my dreams—a beautiful book about survival, identity, family, love, and so much more.” (Jenny Downham, author of Before I Die)
I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.
Emily Murdoch’s debut novel and is heartfelt, harrowing, and lovely all at once. This is a tough issue book about abuse and survival that is hard to hear/read at times but very powerful and uplifting too. Tai Sammons’ performance makes the story feel even more realistic.
If You Find Me is the story of 15-year-old Carey and her 5-year-old sister Jenessa. They live in the woods in a camper with their unstable mother who frequently leaves them alone to find drugs. Carey is more like a mother than a sister to Jenessa and they only have each other to rely on. One day, Carey’s father and a social worker suddenly appear to rescue them from the woods. Now they must adjust to life in the real world, including school, technology, what to wear, and how to act. But the woods still haunt them in various ways, and secrets can’t be kept forever.
The descriptive writing would sometimes distract me with its elegance and I’d get lost in the story. Even though the subject matter is disturbing, Murdoch adds lighter moments like a new friend, or a cute dog, to brighten the mood. But at the same time there are certain recollections of Carey’s that hurt like a kick in the gut. The reader learns about Carey’s backstory through flashbacks that hint at the mystery behind Jenessa losing her voice.
Carey has an artistic spirit and a unique way of thinking and expressing herself. She is such a mature character, that it was easy to relate to her from one mother to another, even though she’s still a teen. The sisterly bond is strong understandably, and I rooted for them both to get some well-deserved peace and happiness. My heart soared with each small victory on their journey, and ached for the pain that lingered.
Tai Sammons’ reads the audiobook, and this is my first experience with her narration. Her dialect is spot on and she conveys Carey’s emotional state of being well. The book is set in Tennessee and Sammons’ gives the book an authentic feel with her Southern accent. Sammons’ gets to use her talents on different types of voices like the mean girl, authority figures, and a child’s voice for Jenessa. I’d listen to this narrator again- she delivers a strong, nuanced performance that made me feel all the emotions. Though the book is powerful on its own, the audiobook made me connect even more with the story.
If You Find Me is a great choice for realistic contemporary readers, and one you won’t want to put down.
I don't know I've only listened tot eh audio edition. I'd like to see the print one... just to see if the audio edition missed a few pages though.
Yes, I'd be willing to give this author another listen. While I do have some issues with the book itself I did enjoy the story overall.
The narrator helps carry the story along, providing distinct voices to most characters and just provides polish to the story.
A few scenes could have moved me if they'd been executed better.
I don't know if it's the author's fault or the narrator's but there's spots in the book where scenes shift without much lead in. For example, in one scene Carey and her family are around the table eating. An argument breaks out. Carey's dad says he'll talk with Del (Carey's step-sister) after dinner. He never does and the author loses a chance for some character development.
The book could be 4 or 5 stars, except that it feels more like a teen-fiction checklist. It sometimes felt like the author had a checklist and she was writing stuff to cross those items off rather then a full story. There was quite a bit of insta-love going around too.
I did really like the idea and quite a bit of the story. It was the execution that brought the quality down.
The premise of the story was very interesting. A person often reads about a mother and children who go missing and presume they are either dead or hiding from the violent father/husband. This book makes you rethink this.
The way that the oldest daughter fought to keep her sister safe.
The oldest daughter.
Ranks very high
Getting evaluated for placement in the school
The step sister comming around
it is a great story
Yes, this was read by Tai Sammons and much feeling came forth.
When Carey found out the truth about what happened to her.
Carey for sure. Nessia was great too.
If you find me.
I originally got this as a library book. Then because I loved it so much I bought both the audio and the kindle version of it. Thank You very much!
I was riveted by this book. I usually want my credits to be used for longer titles but this book is outstanding. Narrator was perfect. I listened to it in about 24 hours but every time I re-started the app, the cover graphic was so poignant. It's really just a great listen, excellent book and worthy performance.
Tai Sammons really brings this book to life. I truly enjoyed this book! The author does a beautiful job with the characters and storylines.
Moving, heart-wrenching, wonderful
I felt that she BECAME Carey. She was not a performer, but the embodiment of a character... great job!
I loved this book.. the descriptions of Carey and Jenessa's worlds - old and new - the good character, the not-so-good characters... I LOVED it. Sure, it relies a bit on coincidence and people too good to be true, but both the descriptions and the performance of Tai Sammons more than made up for it.
Murdoch's writing weaves a vine for readers and listeners to climb colored with the mixed past and present so often experienced by survivors of childhood trauma. Her characters are relatable and admirable to her intended audience, as she captures the essence of life as a teenager amidst the peculiar struggles of her protagonist. Definitely not easy to put down, the only unfortunate takeaway was the lisp of the narrator (possibly purposeful, but not evidently so, and not adding to the prose as a result.) The narrator was otherwise impassioned and expressive.
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