Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Title: If You Find Me | Author: Emily Murdoch Indigo Publishing | Stand Alone | 5 Stars | Source: Netgalley/Bought | 314 pages | Young Adult Contemporary | Release Date: March 26th 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:

Carey is keeping a terrible secret. If she tells, it could destroy her future. If she doesn’t, will she ever be free?

For almost as long as she can remember, Carey has lived in the heart of the woods with her drug-addicted mother and six-year-old sister, Jenessa.

Their mother routinely disappears for weeks at a time, leaving the girls to cope alone. Survival is Carey’s only priority – until strangers arrive and everything changes…


The novel follows the story of Carey. A fifteen-year-old girl who lived in the woods with her mentally ill mother and her little sister Janessa. Carey and Janessa are both found by Carey’s father and she is catapulted in to a world that is a far cry from what she left when she was 5. 

I read this book last years and it still stays with me. I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t think that I would get such a compelling, harrowing and beautifully written tale. 

Our main character comes in the form of Carey. She was five years old when her mother stole her from her father to live in the woods. She is finding it difficult to adjust to a new life and feels that she doesn’t deserve it due to the secrets that she is hiding. She is a broken child and you can’t help but attempt to empathize her. 

Our other characters come in the form of Janessa, her mother, Charlie (Carey’s father) Melissa (Charlie’s wife) and Delany (Melissa’s daughter). Janessa is adorable. Everything in her new world is full of wonder. I loved being with her discovering new things. Charlie and Melissa are something too. They are both wonderful with Janessa and Carey. They are trying to understand how they could have lived for so long in the woods almost by themselves. Delany is a vile being. I suppose that her jealousy and actions are justified but it still doesn’t mean that I have to like her. 

The plot is so upsetting in the novel. Some points are hard to read but it is so beautifully written that you have to carry on. Her use of language amazed me. Small metaphors such as how Carey’s ‘mind returned to her mother’s letter like a tongue to a loose baby tooth’ are fabulous. I have no idea why that one sticks out. It is something that you can imagine, it helps you understand. It is painful but you can’t help doing it. I also adored the Pooh quotes. 

This is the darker side of YA but don’t late that faze you. Add this to the top of your wishlists otherwise you will be missing out! 

Goodreads Average: 4.05/5 (out of 5,387 ratings)

Want to buy it? Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository 


My Top 10 Contemporaries

I am a huge fan of contemporary novels and I think it had definitely been the year for it. I haven’t read all that many contemporary novels but I have read enough for it to have been hard to whittle down to just 10!

My Number 10 spot goes to…

10. Perfect Chemistry by Simon Elkeles

Goodreads Synopsis: 

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created ‘perfect’ life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. 

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart


Perfect Chemistry was one of my favourite surprises of last year. I thought it would be yet another soppy romance but it is so much more than that! Brittany Ellis and Alex Fuentes are one of my favourite contemporary couples. I can’t wait to get on to the next edition in the series.

9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads Synopsis

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.


One of the many things on my fictional bucket list is to be infinite with Charlie. This was one of the novels where I thought I knew what was coming and it was completely different. I have yet to see the film but I urge everyone to read this book!

8. The Future of Us by Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long – at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right – and wrong – in the present


This was a read on a whim for me. I am so glad that I picked this one up. Set in the 90’s where dial up was still a fad, Josh and Emma receive a disc to set there computers up and end up seeing themselves in the future on their Facebook profiles. I read this last summer and I still love it.

7. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Goodreads Synopsis:

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


This is one of the few hyped up books that I truly enjoyed. There was a huge explosion on the blogoshere when it came to this novel. Everyone had read it and everyone had enjoyed just as much as the other. Luckily for me, it lived up to the hype!

6. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Goodreads Synopsis:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same


Looking for Alaska follows Miles in his search for his Great Perhaps. Coining the famous phrases such as “If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest of actions” and “If people were rain, I would be drizzle and she would be a hurricane” this has to be one of my favourite books. I will always be biased when it comes to John Green because he is one of my favourite authors.

5. You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Goodreads Synopsis:

If someone hurts your sister and you’re any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother’s been accused of a terrible crime and you’re the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn’t that what families do? When Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie’s brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn’t do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It’s a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it’s a book about love – for one’s family and for another.


This novel is so underrated. Painfully underrated, even. I read this way back in 2011 and I still remember it and it still stays with me. Hosting some of my favourite characters, this is a read that I urge you not to miss!

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew–just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road–diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards–this is the story of one girl’s journey to find herself.


This was one of my favourite books of 2012. Not only is it a great contemporary, but it has to be on of my favourite road trip novels of all time. So much detail and effort has gone in to the novel and I urge you all to read it if you are a fan of road trips!

3. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Goodreads Synopsis

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


I read this at the start of the year and even though it is pretty short at 250 pages, it packs a punch. It has some brilliant character development and a harrowing story with a happy ending.

2. Wonder by  R.J. Palacio

Goodreads Synopsis: 

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?


Yet another book that I bought on a whim and yet another book that I do not regret buying. This was a brilliant yet short read, I read it all in one setting. It is quite sad at times. Auggie is suffering from a facial deformity so there is so awful bullying scenes, but he comes through them and teaches so fab life lessons while he is at it.

1. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Goodreads Synopsis:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.


I can’t say anything about this book without gushing. All I can say is that if you  have not read it, read it. It has beautiful metaphors, great character development and is to funny to be a cancer book. This will always be my favourite book. Not just because I am a fan of John as a person but simply because it is one of the most amazingly written books I have ever read!

This is my top 10! Which ones are yours? Have any of mine made it on to your lists?