Hey, lovely readers! This week is the If You Find Me blog tour. Lyn and I read it, and rather than review it separately, we decided to open up a dialogue and review it together. Before we get started, let me get the meta information out of the way!
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 26th, 2013
Genre: Young Adult-Contemporary
Source: Kara-physical ARC from publisher, Lyn-Netgalley
Description from Goodreads: 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.
Kara: I’m hereeeee!
Lyn: Hey girl! My sound was down.
Kara: Haha, no problem! Just waiting patiently, watching the Oscars Red Carpet. So…how do you want to do this?
Lyn: Um, I suppose we just banter like we always do?
Kara: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too. You have to be super entertaining, okay? We can’t look bad. ROFL!
Lyn: Oh crap. No pressure or anything.
Kara: I’m going to let you start with the first question/comment since you JUST finished it. My brain dumps details so quickly. ALL THE PRESSURE!!
Lyn: Okay! Let’s start this crazy train! Anyways, I went through an entire box of tissues. Casey’s constant internalizing of her emotions and her trauma shattered my emotional boundaries. I think what made this book work was the constant use of inner dialogue.
Kara: Did you honestly go through a box of tissues? NUH-UH! Yeah, I agree with you. This book was a master class in voice. It felt like I was reading a diary. Like she was speaking directly to me in her own words. I cried quite a bit too. This was one of the few books I have read that made me cry throughout the book and not just at the end.
Lyn: True story! I have my new box sitting right here beside me! Reading about the white star night was tough. I began to put two and two together during the story, but actually reading about it physically made me sick.
Kara: Yeah, there was a point where I was nauseous and thought I was going to throw up. That has never happened to me before. Obviously we can’t talk about that because SPOILERS but I completely agree with you. I just…my heart broke for that girl. And her little sister. I wanted to give her the world.
Lyn: I wish we could have seen what happened after the big revelation. I was a bit surprised that the book left off where it did. Like you said, no spoilers, but the entire next step would have added some complexity to the storyline. Her sister – I was worried about the entire Mary Sue thing kicking in, but Nessa is just 6. Little girls are lovable, and she did have quite a bit of spunk.
Kara: And this is where my brain dumping comes into play. I need to go grab my book. Hold on!
Kara: Yeah, yeah, yeah! I’m actually okay with where it left off, but I am not opposed to a sequel to see how that all would turn out. I feel like if the author had included that, it would be hurried and the ending would have lost impact. As for Nessa, I’m not usually a fan of little kids in books–I have no love for children–but I loved that little girl to death.
Lyn: It helped that she was so young. Anything older than a 1st grader would have tipped her over the edge. And the dog! It was touching! I hope a sequel is put into place. I think the ending raised a legitimate issue for Carey’s future.
Kara: OMFG I loved her with that dog!! It reminded me of me with my dog. I had a lot of issues before I adopted her and we came into each other’s lives at just the right time. That part of the book probably resonated with me the most because of my love for animals and dogs in particular. I agree with you. I would love to see a sequel. But if there isn’t one, I would like to think that she’s going to be fine. Because, hello, she deserves it. That girl has been through enough already. More than most people can handle.
Lyn: I agree. It is still going take a toll on her. She carries so much guilt. Did it seem to you that others laid more guilt on her?
Kara: You mean like Delaney? She’s the only one I really saw doing that.
Lyn: I felt that Ryan was laying it on thick when she didn’t remember him.
Kara: Yeah, I tend to agree. How did you feel about that part of the story? Their relationship? I know you rated it 4 stars, and I 5, so what kept if from being a 5 for you?
Kara: Okay, I can see what you mean about Delaney. But I loved Pixie and she totally worked for me. It’s tough when you are writing in 1st person POV to develop all the side characters completely and I think the author did a fantastic job. For me, I think if there’s one thing I could complain about it’s that Delaney was a bit too mean. I understand why she felt the way she did, but she was TOO mean for what she was going through. Explain what you mean about her father. I guess I dumped that too. I suck.
Lyn: Delaney did go out of her way to be downright cruel. Like you said, there wasn’t ever a proper explanation. I also felt that the “make up” between the two was a little faked. It didn’t feel real. I think that their relationship will become stronger, but it would not have happened that fast. We’re going to have to agree to disagree over Pixie (she was awesome. I loved her!)
Kara: Yeah, I agree about Delaney. Ultimately I think if I gave half star ratings, I would knock off a half for that, but since I don’t, I just rounded up because I was feeling generous. And I’m not so sure we disagree about Pixie. You just wanted more of her. So did I.
Lyn: I still think Pixie wasn’t developed. I was told more than I was shown. It sounds like I didn’t like this book. I really did love it. The voice of Carey really helped set the southern atmosphere.
Kara: Ahhh, okay. I don’t think you were the only reader who felt this way either. Yeah, Carey’s voice was definitely one of my favorite things about the book. So I know you don’t read too many books like this and neither do I. Do you think now that you have read this you will be reading more tough contemporaries like this?
Lyn: I would LOVE to read more books like this. I have The Burn Journals, which I believe is a heart wrenching contemporary book. I think that realistic fiction is a sorely overlooked genre today. Paranormal and fantasy is fun, but we have some real issues, and they should continue to be covered. The book made me downright uncomfortable. This book could have happened. But I think there is a group of teenagers and children who need to read about these things. They need someone to identify with them. When something makes you uncomfortable, it has hit a nerve.
Kara: I agree. It’s still not my favorite genre and I’m not going to read it THAT often because I don’t LIKE feeling uncomfortable, but I love to see YA contemporary fiction getting more attention. It’s becoming popular again and I think it’s becoming the latest trend and I like that. I definitely have planned to read more contemporaries this year. I just need to space them out a little. And you are right. This definitely COULD have happened.
Lyn: Spacing them out – I think it is a good approach. Reading this book was like turning on the news. If you want your hopes of the future to crash, the news will do it for you. The entire Jaycee Dugard story will start setting off ripples in literature. In fact, did you ever read The Face on the Milk Carton?
Kara: I DID. That book was brutal. I even saw the Lifetime movie. Ha! So maybe we should wrap it up before this gets too long? Anything else you want to say?
Lyn: That went by fast. Here is my overall impression: This book will make you hurt. But it will also make you hope. Young people have such a way of making the world a better place, even when it is virtually a living hell. Although some of the elements seemed to stray a little outside of realism, I think it is important to keep hope alive. This is a book about recovery, and broken relationships, and mending. The voices were great, and the story was compelling.
Kara: I really like that! Yeah, this was a REALLY painful read for me. And I think it’s been like that for a lot of bloggers so far. My favorite thing about this book was the writing: Carey’s voice, the dialect, the flow of the words…it just kept me turning the pages and I couldn’t put this sucker down. I loved the characters and I cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next. I think she’s become an automatic buy for me.
Lyn: Agreed. I’m excited to see what else she has in store.
Kara: Oh, and I am super duper honored we got asked to be part of this blog tour.
Lyn: This has been a very positive experience for one of my first tours. I was a little frightened that I would not like the book, but I ended up staying up late to finish it (I read it in 2 days – almost unheard of for me).
Kara: And I am so glad you loved it! I was pretty sure you would, but I was glad to have my feelings confirmed.
Lyn: I would like to thank Wendy Darling and Emily Murdock for arranging the whole she-bang.
Kara: Absolutely. Thank you, ladies! I’d love to do it again anytime. *waggles brows*
Lyn: I did! I needed to read more than I needed sleep! I even canceled today’s plans to finish this book!
Kara: Haha, that’s awesome! I am sure Emily will be thrilled to hear that!
Lyn: Is that a wrap?
Kara: It’s a WRAP!