St. Martin’s Press|March 26, 2013|Hardcover|ISBN’s: 10:1250021529 & 13:9781250021526
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.
Fifteen-year-old Carey Blackburn and her younger sister, six-year-old-, Jenessa, live in a run-down, beaten-up old camper in the middle of Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park where their mother took them after abducting them years before. Their mother is mentally ill and often disappears for days or weeks at a time leaving Carey to fend for herself and her little sister. The only food they have to eat is beans or anything that Carey can kill off the land like rabbit or squirrel.
Little Jenessa depends on Carey for everything, her very existence and survival depends on her older sister and Carey takes this job very seriously. Her love for Jenessa whom she calls ‘Nessa’ is endearing. Carey displayed patience, understanding, and even disciplined her when it was needed. Carey is a sweet, grown-up, mature girl who looks after Jenessa as if she were her very own child.
Then, one day their mother disappears and doesn’t return. Weeks and weeks go by until two strangers turn up and before they know it, they are whisked into a brand new life. Living in a beautiful home, going to school, wearing new clothes and ones that are ‘clean’ and even a dog as a pet which Jenessa falls madly in love with. However, the family’s concern over Jenessa’s silence is worrying and they ask Carey why her sister hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she’s made a vow to herself to always keep the secrets but is it time to tell and unburden herself?
If You Find Me was a beautiful story of the immense love and trust between two sisters, survival in horrible conditions, and hope for a future filled with good things that will override the past.
This story touched my heart like no other. Carey was an amazing young woman whose care of her little sister was paramount in her survival. I had to keep the Kleenex close at hand during this read. My prediction is that If You Find Me is going to be a big hit and I’ll certainly be recommending it to all my friends and family.
I'd like to thank St. Martin's Press and The Reading Room for the Advanced Reader's Copy. I received no remuneration for my review. All opinions expressed here are purely my own.