If You Find Me is a story of how fifteen year old Carey and her younger sister Jenessa copes with the aftermath of their mentally ill mother abandoning them for good. Living in a broken down camper hidden deep in a national forest for the majority of their lives, their world is completely turned upside down when their father– virtually a stranger– finds them and takes them in, with the task of reentering them into the civilized world of high school, a new family, girl problems, and the perplexing issue of boys.
If You Find Me is an emotional rollercoaster that brings you through the first-person narrative of a young girl who’s dealt with more trauma and turmoil than any fifteen year old should ever face. Having to quickly grow up in order to provide and be the ultimate caregiver for her younger sister while her meth addict mother leaves for weeks at a time, Carey’s voice provides great insight into the obstacles she and her sister have had to face, and now the struggles they need to face in order to adapt into a world they never had a chance to experience.
While I found the relationship between Carey and her sister truly touching, and was interested to see how the book did evolve right to the last page, I overall found there were way too many loopholes in this novel to truly work. First of all, I believe the portrayal of the social worker was off what she would be like in real life. You probably shouldn’t wear high-heels and get all fancied up when heading hours out to the woods to retrieve two lost, kidnapped, very scared girls. Second, since it was a kidnapping, wouldn’t their be some sort of police involved? I also believe Jenessa adapts to her new life way too quickly, seeing as she is the one who never really knew that type of living at all, and became mute after a particular traumatizing event, one would think it would take her a much longer time to put trust in others. It made zero sense the two sisters were grades above their level of education, since they had to teach everything they learned to themselves.
But most of all, Carey believed (on her mothers word) that her father had abused her, and while extremely terrified of him in the beginning, that fear almost completely vanished even before finding out the truth. She also trusted Jenessa with him alone at times without a second of concern, yet believed he had abused her as a child? It made no sense.
The book was very well written, and as previously mentioned I stayed tuned in to the very last page. However there were too many “huh?” moments for me to get over to ever recommend this book.