This book was rough going. I don’t know why I’m drawn to these books about people going through horrible ordeals. Maybe it’s the train wreck mentality, or how I’ve been programmed to perceive such things as ‘entertainment’ and ‘news’ all mixed into one (thanks, media!), or maybe it’s the fact that I need to know that regardless of how bad it can get (and it can get pretty bad for people), there’s a way out of that hell.

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.

Okay, first of all, wow. This book is one that will stay with me for a while. It was gritty and almost brutal in its telling of Carey’s young, but horrible life. Her mother should be taken out back and shot like a rabid dog for what she did to Carey and Jenessa.

There isn’t much I can say about this book without giving away most of the key points. I will say the inclusion of Ryan was an interesting twist. I also wonder why both girls weren’t IMMEDIATELY placed into therapy because while Jenessa had an outlet for her to pour her feelings, Carey didn’t. I could see her trying to make Jenessa her outlet, but Carey never spoke to Jenessa about the things that had happened to them. She covered it up and told her everything would alright. She was essentially Jenessa’s mother for most of her childhood, which is no way for any child to live. And the thing is, Carey definitely needs an outlet. She needs someone to talk to. She’s been through too much not to be messed up about several things. I just… sigh… I so want her to get the help she needs.

I don’t know if I’d consider this book entertaining or even recommend it to anyone, but it definitely leaves a mark behind. And there are several trigger warnings throughout, mainly to do with sexual abuse, so steer clear if that’s not something you can read about.

If You Find Me comes out on March 26th from St Martin’s Griffin.

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