Sunday, April 21, 2013

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

15 year-old Carey didn't always live in the woods, but it's been her home for the last ten years.  She used to live with her mother and father in a house, but that was before her mother saved her from her father and took her to live in a trailer in the woods where no one could find them.  Now Carey cares for her little sister Jenessa during the long stretches when their mother is away.  Then one day, a man appears in the woods.  It's Carey's father, who never stopped looking for her and has come to take her and Jenessa home.  Everything Carey thought she knew is thrown into confusion, and she struggles to keep the many terrible things that happened to her and Nessa secret.

It turns out that Carey's mother sent a letter to child services, telling them where the children were, then vanished.  Despite all she knows about her mother, Carey still had a hard time believing that her mother would just give them up like that.  And now she's with her father, someone he hardly remembers, who she's always been told hit her and her mom and was so terrible they had to run away from.

Her father doesn't seem so terrible, but Carey does not feel she can trust him.  But she wants a better life for Nessa, who she loves with all her heart.  Nessa, much younger than Carey, has an easier time adapting into this new world of clean clothes, plentiful food, and people who love and care for her.  It is not so easy for Carey.  She cannot help missing the woods, where are least she felt like she fit in.  Her father has a new wife and a stepdaughter, Delaney, who is just a little older than Carey.  Delaney seems to have so much anger toward Carey and she doesn't know why.

As the book continues, we learn about the truly horrible life Carey had while living in the woods with her mother.  It wasn't just that her mother was a meth addict and seemed to have some kind of mental disorder that made her irrational and irresponsible.  It wasn't just that Carey's mother abused her, or left her alone for weeks or sometimes months at a time with little food and a younger sibling to take care of, when she was just a child herself.  It was how Carey's mother used her to make money when she was out and needed drugs.  And of course, there was the secret Carey is hiding, the incident that had caused Nessa to stop speaking.

Carey continues to struggle with her new life, and dealing with what she thought she knew about her father versus how he actually is.  I thought overall the book did a good job of showing how conflicted Carey was.  How she knew this was the better, safer place for her, but that didn't change the fact she yearned for a place that was familiar, and in a strange way safe, even though it really wasn't.

I couldn't understand why Carey and Nessa weren't immediately put into some kind of therapy.  That rarely seems to happen in YA books.  Why is that?  Takes away from the story unfolding?  Too much research into how therapy works?  It seems odd.

I liked how Carey and Delaney's relationship was left.  They didn't suddenly become the best of friends.  But they did have a moment of coming to terms with each other.  It was left opened for the possibility for friendship at some point, but both girls have a lot of things they need to work out.  It had not been so easy for Delaney either, growing up with a stepfather always searching for his other daughter.

Finally, after Nessa finds her voice and is able to speak, Carey decides the time for her to speak has come as well.  She knows it will be difficult for her father to hear, and it will open up a lot of trouble for her family, but she knows she has to do it.

It was a good read.  I was certainly engrossed in it.  I finished it pretty quickly because I wanted to find out what happened.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...