Standalone Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Megan @ bookslayerreads. Standalone Sunday was created to let others know about all the standalone books you have loved, but maybe don’t get the attention they need. Megan created the banner as well and anyone joining in can use it too. Please go check out Megan’s blog and say hello!!
Today I’m choosing a book I read a few years ago and that I totally loved!!
There are some things you can’t leave behind…
In If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, 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 two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her 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 by Emily Murdoch is only 256 pages and you can read it in one sitting, but wow oh wow……..this is a book that will stay with you for a long time after you finish reading it. Carey is fifteen years old and has been living in the woods for ten years. Her sister, Jenessa who is five, has never known any other way of life. Their mother is a meth head and leaves them alone in the camper for weeks at a time. They have no running water, electricity, and barely any food. This time their mother isn’t coming back. She sends a letter to the authorities and tells them where to find the girls. One afternoon, a man and a woman come into the woods, explaining to Carey that her mother sent them a letter. They tell her that her mother kidnapped her because sole custody was awarded to the man, who turns out to be Carey’s dad.
Once Carey and Janessa are in their new home their lives change drastically. At first, Jenessa shovels her food in her mouth so fast, afraid it is going to go away, that she gets sick. Carey has difficulties with her step sister Delaney. Delaney doesn’t like her and wishes her life could go back to the way if was before the girls were found. Carey will do anything to make sure Jenessa is safe and unharmed. She will always put the welfare of her sister above her own. Jenessa and Carey went through so much in those woods and you learn just how much through flashbacks as you are reading. Carey’s father and his wife, Melissa, were the very thing these two need. Even the connection between Shorty their dog, and Jenessa had filled me with joy, two little broken souls drawn to each other.
IF YOU FIND ME is a book that grabbed my heart from the very first page and never let it go. As I was reading, my heart was pulled out, stomped on, over and over again, and then shoved back into my chest. The things that Carey and Jenessa go through is truly heart breaking. How could a mother do this to her children? I cried a few times with happy tears. Overall, a compelling, heartbreaking, and beautifully written first novel. Emily Murdoch is an extremely talented writer, and I will be looking for more of her books in the future. Don’t forget the tissues.