If You Find Me is about Carey who has been living in the woods with her mother and her six year old sister Jenessa for as long as she can remember. She’s learnt to survive and is often forced to look out for herself and her sister when their mother disappears for weeks at a time. Then strangers arrive when their mother’s away and Carey’s world changes dramatically as she and Jenessa must learn how to live in the “real world”.
I really enjoyed this book. Carey’s story is tense and a mystery and as it’s from Carey’s point of view, as the reader you only learn as much as she is willing to think about. You begin to learn about her past as she lets you and, in some cases, as she remembers it. Everything’s a bit messed up in her head – she’d grown up with her mother saying her father beat them and he’s a terrible person but now she’s confronted with a completely different person to what she expected. How she copes with that is very believable as she learns to trust people that aren’t her sister.
Seeing Carey and Jenessa learn about simple things like toothpaste, toilets and running hot water is very believable and kind of heart breaking. In some ways they are both very grown up, strong and clever but in others you can see how much they have missed from living away from civilisation for so long. They are both hesitant around strangers and their social cues are awkward to say the least and many common words or phrases that we take for granted confuse them.
At its heart If You Find Me is about family. How Carey and Jenessa are sisters and have such a strong bond since they’ve only had each other for so long. How they both settle in a house with people who are their family – both by blood and by marriage – and how they get used to these people and let them into their unit of two.
Each chapter leaves you in suspense making you want to read on, I read it in less than two days (I spent time reading for fun instead of working on my dissertation it was that good) and when I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t help but think about it. It’s a haunting story about loss, second chances and family.
I definitely recommend If You Find Me and give it 5/5.