If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch isn't my usual type of book, at least not where this blog is concerned, but when I was browsing for books released March 26th it caught my eye. The blurb for If You Find Me appealed to the former psychology major in me.
Just a warning, this book is heart breaking at times.
Carey Blackthorn is a 15 year old girl who lives in a camper with her 6 year old sister Jenessa in the middle of a national park. Her mother brought her to the woods when she was 5 and she has lived there every since. When she is eventually found by a social worker, she and her sister have been on their own for over 3 months and have little food left, just a few cans of beans. Carey's mother Joelle is a bipolar meth addict. She would randomly take off and leave the girls alone for weeks at a time with just canned goods, no heat, no water, no way of communicating with the outside world. The only thinks that Carey and her sister have are a collection of books and Carey's violin.
When they are found they are put in the custody of Carey's father, a kindhearted man. Carey and Jenessa soon find themselves in his home with their new step mother and step sister. Melissa welcomes them home but Delaney, their new step sister, isn't particularly excite to see them. Delaney teases them about their backwoods ways and Carey vows to do what it takes to fit in and protect Jenessa.
With their shift to the real world comes new experiences, Jenessa discovers Shorty, the family dog and falls in love. Things are harder for Carey as she adjusts to a world she doesn't remember, a world including high school and interacting with boys.
I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5. It deals with the psychology of the isolation the girls grew up in and I really liked how the author dealt with Jenessa and her mutism after a traumatic event. I thought it was relatively realistic though in the real world it would be much, much, more complicated. It was a really good book and I sped through it in about two hours. I would definitely recommend reading it, it is an excellent debut novel for Emily Murdoch.
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah- This is the book that came to mind when I was reading If You Find Me. Jenessa's character really reminded me of Alice, a found girl in Magic Hour. A very good book by Kristin Hannah.
A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer- This book is a classic for pretty much every psychology major. A Child Called It is a heart breaking real life account of a child raised by extreme abuse. It is an amazing book and the first one I think of when thinking of child abuse - something no one likes to think about. Just a warning, it is not for the faint of heart, it would not be uncommon to cry during parts of this book.