If You Find Me

If You Find Me - Emily Murdoch (As reviewed on Paper Riot.)Check out my interview with Emily Murdoch + a giveaway here!The first thing I want to do is give Carey and Jenessa a big, big hug. I want to keep them in my arms and give them everything they can only dream of. I want to hurt anyone who has hurt them and I want to make sure they never have to suffer again. I want to keep them safe forever. And then I want to curl up in a corner and cry. This book tore my heart out, broke it into a million little pieces and scattered them across the entire surface of the earth. It took over my life like only few books can, and I am not yet ready to move on from it. If anything, If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch is a powerful, thought-provoking debut that caught me completely off guard.The story revolves around Carey and her baby sister Jenessa, who have been hidden and abandoned in the deep woods of Tennessee by their meth addicted mother. Completely on her own, Carey takes care of her sister the best she can, until they are finally rescued and taken back into the real world to live with their father. Told through Carey's perspective, we follow the girls as they try to adapt to their new life style, while at the same time trying to cope with the trauma they suffered. It was both wonderful and painful to see their impression of this world that was so strange to them. It left me on the verge of tears almost every chapter. (And crying throughout the rest of them.)It almost feels wrong to love this book, since it's such a horrible story. But for me, its beauty lies in the way I could not put this book down, the way I tore through the pages, and mostly, the way this story felt more real than any book I have ever read. Filled with heart and heartbreak, this is a story about the consequences of child neglect and abuse in the most raw and real way I have ever experienced. If it hadn't made me incredibly sad, I had been angry at the pain that these girls had to suffer. I had to keep reminding myself that it was fictional, that Carey and Jenessa weren't real and that these things, these terrible things, hadn't happened to them.But Carey's voice was so realistic, so pure, that it was as if I was watching a real life story, her real life story, unfold before my eyes. The woods were in her every thought and experience, and there was a certain hopefulness in those things that was was both beautiful and heartbreaking to watch. I want to compare her to Katniss Everdeen, but not in the obvious way. It wasn't that Carey was just as unfortunate and had a baby sister to take care of, but just that I had no trouble empathizing with her. Her voice was that clear to me, spoke to me that much, was that easy to understand, just like Katniss has always been for me. Emily Murdoch did a wonderful job pulling me in, but it was Carey's voice that refused to let go.The topic was hard, but oh my, it was so well-written and detailed that it left me speechless, mind blown, amazed. And though horrible, it was the little bits of hope that bursted from the pages and stuck with me throughout the story. Because to me, the simplicity of this story and its most important message were what impressed me most: there is always hope, even in the darkest places. If You Find Me is the most impressive story I've read in a long, long time. Despite the horrific things that happened and the fact that I don't think everyone can handle this, I will recommend it to anyone. It was raw and beautiful in a way unlike anything I have ever read. Wow. Just wow.