Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Posted on May 27, 2013 in Read-A-Long, Review, YA | 13 comments


iyfmcoverIf You Find Me

by: Emily Murdoch

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.

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The Woods Can Be a Dark Place.

Carey and her sister, Jenessa live in the woods.  Their mother has put them there, for safety reasons, and they have learned how to deal.  How to live, how to hunt, basically how to survive.  But survival doesn’t come without a  price.  In fact, everything in the woods has a price.  Joelle, the girls’ mother is a meth addict, and due to this, we see Carey step up.  She has a younger sister to raise, and she does what she has to do to protect her.

And then, it happens.  Out of nowhere [this is in the synopsis, I wouldn’t say it otherwise] the girls are taken from the woods with next to no explanation, and they are left to figure out a whole world of whats, hows, and whys.  The journey we are taken on is heartbreaking.  To watch Carey remember is terrifying, and haunting.  But, the story is beautiful, and all our questions do get answered.


An Issue Book At Its Very Best.

I read this because two of my best blogging friends [whom I trust!] were taunting me and telling me I must.  Thanks to Judith and Lauren I got to experience all that is If You Find Me.  The story is so beautiful, and so powerful, I couldn’t imagine ANYTHING being done differently to improve upon it.  Emily Murdoch is talented, and definitely going to be on my auto-buy list.  

But furthermore, this book.. oh THIS BOOK.  It was gorgeous and it was compelling, from the moment it began.   The plot is sad, don’t mistake that.  And you will PROBABLY cry.  But at the end of the day, you realize the message the book sends is so much more than we could ever imagine.  Children like Carey and Jenessa are mistreated, every day in this country.  But this girl overcame all of that.  She did what she had to and powered through, for her and her sister.  

Throughout the novel, we hear of the “white star night”, we don’t know what this is, or what happened that fateful night, but we know it is what likely made a six year old girl. STOP TALKING.  Once that message is revealed, it all makes sense, and your heart breaks a thousand times over.  The issue at hand in this novel, other that drug use, is abuse, of course.  And it comes in many varieties, each as sad and as hurtful to think about.  But the MOST beautiful aspect of this book is the sister relationship.  I’m not sure I can remember a better sister relationship in any book I have ever read.  It is powerful, moving, and heartfelt.  Emily Murdoch knows how to write, and I hope she continues to do so for a long time.

To sum up, Emily Murdoch – I will be bothering the crap out of you until you tell me what you have planned next ;).  I simply can not wait, and this is the best debut I have read this year.  Amazing.  Simply, amazing.



a bonus. the fabulously talented Judith from Paper Riot has a tumblr.

And this is from If You Find Me.



  1. I LOVEEEEE THIS BOOK lol. And I love that you loved it … and now I want to go read it again lol. Loveddddd your review Cass 😀
    Lauren @ Lose Time Reading recently posted…Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra ClareMy Profile

    • THANK YOU LAUR. Next time I’ll listen to you and Judith sooner 😉

  2. Yes, I looooved this book! The characters, the concept — it was all handled so well! I’m officially a fan of Emily’s. I’ll be eagerly awaiting her next book :)
    Kim @ YA Asylum recently posted…Classic Poe: The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor FetherMy Profile

    • I SO agree. Fangirl, from now on!!

      The concept and the execution were so perfect!!!

  3. I’ll admit… I probably wouldn’t pick this book up unless someone told me to! The girl on the cover kind of creeps me out. But I’m glad it turned out to be good! I’ll have to keep an eye out for it!
    Candice @ The Grown-Up YA recently posted…Armchair BEA: Introductions and ClassicsMy Profile

    • JUST READ IT. I promise. Its good.

  4. Honestly, this book wasn’t really on my radar at all until I read your review of it… but now, I just want to read it so badly! I love reading books with a great sibling relationship in it, which is weird, because I’m an only child. Maybe I’m living vicariously through the characters in the book? Who knows. anywhoooo, this book sounds really really good and this was an awesome review of it! 😀
    Natalie recently posted…Top Ten Books I Want to RereadMy Profile

    • I think you must read it!

  5. HERE I AM AGAIN. Fangirling about this book, now THAT is a thing I can do. And I have said it before but I will never ever stop: I am SO HAPPY that you loved it. SO HAPPY. It’s by far one of my all time favorite books and it’s amazing that I could share that with you <3 (Book pushers FTW!) Like you said, it's one of the most powerful books ever (but in a silent way). So beautiful. And Carey and Nessa's relationship is my fave <3 This is actually why I didn't REALLY like Rules' Meg and Mary's relationship, because I'd read this book before and…. perfection. I'm rambling. OBVIOUSLY. And thank you a million for sharing that graphic <3 It's my favorite quote!
    Judith recently posted…Monthly Recap: MayMy Profile

    • Oh you! Its my favorite graphic [i THINK] that you’ve made! So its my HONOR to share it!

      And I understand what you mean about the sisters in Rules, though I love them there as well, its just DIFFERENT.

      However, that Silent Yet Strong thing. That is SO THIS BOOK. So glad you pushed it on me. Its beautiful <3

  6. I read this book a few months back and loved it. If You Find Me is very eye-opening and makes you think. Cases like these happen all the time but most of the time stay under the radar. I’ll totally being stalking Murdoch’s social networking sites as well for any tidbit on her next project. Great review, Cass!

    • Thank you! I totally agree, it is extremely eye-opening!

  7. I’ve heard a lot about this one, and it’s definitely one that I want to read. I’m saving it for an occasion when I can actually fully handle the emotional stress that I feel like it will possibly put me through. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it though!
    Alexa Y. recently posted…Hidden – M. Lathan (Review)My Profile


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