Summary and book reviews of If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me

by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2013, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sharry Wright

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Book Summary

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 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.

1

Mama says no matter how poor folks are, whether you're a have, a have-not, or break your mama's back on the cracks in between, the world gives away the best stuff on the cheap. Like, the way the white-hot mornin' light dances in diamonds across the surface of our creek. Or the creek itself, babblin' music all day long like Nessa when she was a baby. Happiness is free, Mama says, as sure as the blinkin' stars, the withered arms the trees throw down for our fires, the waterproofin' on our skin, and the tongues of wind curlin' the walnut leaves before slidin' down our ears.

It might just be the meth pipe talkin'. But I like how free sounds all poetic-like.

Beans ain't free, but they're on the cheap, and here in the Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park, dubbed "the Hundred Acre Wood," I must know close to one hundred ways to fix beans. From the dried, soaked-in-water variety to beans in the can—baked beans, garbanzo beans, ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Beauty and thinness are touted to be everything in society. Carey is thin with a beautiful face. Would you trade your life for hers, to have those two things?
  2. The author has described civilization as being like a photograph, and Carey's life, the photonegative. What do you think she means by that?
  3. In society today, it's all too easy to pigeonhole or stereotype people. Carey knew great misfortune. But she also knew great gifts. What were they?
  4. Abuse is a sad fact in modern society. Carey eventually told. Did she do the right thing? What would you do?
  5. Throughout the novel, the reader is shown how books and music became soothing touchstones for Carey, in an unpredictable world. What are your touchstones?
  6. Many people remark on ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Emily Murdock has created her protagonist as a survivor – fierce, proud, and tender. Carey is incredibly resilient given what she's been through. Readers will cry with her, root for her, follow her to the terrible center of the dark secret she must confront before she can truly begin her life again.   (Reviewed by Sharry Wright).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Carey's model-level beauty and virtuosity as a violinist, [make] the novel's sense of realism take a hit. That said, Carey and Nessa's story is memorable and deeply moving, and readers will find it very easy to fall in love with these girls. Ages 12–up.

Booklist

Starred Review. First-time author Emily Murdoch has written a painful, hopeful, surprisingly quiet book that charts the best and worst of humanity, especially family, with characters who worm their way into your heart - or repulse the reader's very nature.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A compelling narrative that is both unflinching about life's pain and hopeful about its possibilities.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. Beautifully written. The deep bond between the sisters is almost physically palpable, as is their intense longing for love and acceptance; they will quickly endear themselves to readers.

Author Blurb Jenny Downham, author of Before I Die
“Searing . . . hurt my heart and will probably haunt my ;dreams – a beautiful book about survival, identity, family, love and so much more.

Author Blurb Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List
Within two pages, I was so hopelessly hooked, I felt like the story had attached itself to me. The storyline is original and suspenseful, but most of all, it was Carey’s voice that had me flipping the pages. This is one of those books you devour.

Author Blurb Carol Lynch Williams, author of The Chosen One
If You Find Me 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

Reader Reviews

Diane S.

If you find me
This debut novel, written for the young adult genre, is a very compelling and poignant novel. The heroine is a very strong but bruised, physically and mentally, character who is not a vampire or shape-shifter, or a fallen angel. In fact, that it is ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Parental Child Abduction

According to the U.S Dept of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, about 200,000 children are reported missing each year as a result of parental abduction. 53% of family abducted children were gone less than a week, and 21% for more than a month.

In many parts of the U.S. there is uncertainty about how to handle this crime. If parents have not established an official custodial agreement, the state's child abduction laws do not always recognize parental child abduction as an official crime or take into consideration the danger it presents to the abducted child. In fact, it would appear that, only in California and Texas, is parental child abduction clearly categorized as a criminal offense.

In her ...

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