If You Find Me – Emily Murdoch

if you find me paperback“The room fills with Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’, the crisp, sparkling notes dusting everything fresh and new. Our instruments blend together until there’s no separation, no space between us, no end and no beginning.
‘Put it into the music,’ Mama used to say. ‘The anger, sadness, worries- there are notes for all of it.’ There are notes for happiness, too, if you listen past the ache.”

Published: 2013
Publisher: Orion (Indigo)
Genre: YA Fiction

If You Find Me is the debut youth fiction novel from US author Emily Murdoch- and oh my god is it incredible.

The Guardian says:  “Carey and her sister Jenessa have been abandoned by their neglectful mother and they are stranded in the woods, living off their last cans of beans. They are not even living; simply surviving. However two people approach their camp that will change both their lives forever.”

This is a novel filled with hope, but also with sadness and poignancy. It tells us that children are incredibly resilient but how far can this resilience be stretched? Our protagonist Carey spends 10 years isolated in the woods- bringing up her little sister and trying desperately to keep them both warm, safe and fed.

As readers, we empathise with her every step of the way, and I think, this is where the power of the novel truly lies. We identify with Carey- with her isolation, her inability to forget her past or to let go of the woods and to feel like she truly deserves happiness. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t have any light-hearted moments. It’s also funny and sweet and girly with a dash of romance and some very teenager-y moments.

I only picked up is book because it just happened to be lying on the top of my to-read pile, but now that I have, I almost can’t bear to put it down. It’s that good, trust me.

It has been nominated for the 2014 Carnegie Medal, shortlisted for the Waterstones children’s book prize, named Editors choice by the New York Times for  June. And quite frankly, I’m unsurprised. It’s one of the best YA novels I’ve read this year- so make sure it’s one of yours too. 5/5 stars.

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