Friday, March 22, 2013

Blog Tour Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Today, WinterHaven Books is excited to participate in the blog tour for If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch hosted by The Midnight Garden.  We have lots to share with you, including a book excerpt, our reviews, and two giveaways. Enjoy!

If You Find MeIf You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St.Martins Griffin
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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.
Book Excerpt
First, we have a scene from the book to share with you.

In this excerpt, Carey doesn't quite know how to respond to Ryan's attraction to her, and she has a blush-worthy moment right before this scene. In all of their interactions, she's been unsure, skeptical and most of all confused. Here, Ryan makes an attempt to help ease her angst over an innocent reaction on her part, and he shares how he feels about her through sincere words and actions. Absolute bliss... Enjoy!                                                                    
Page 190
"Carey, wait!
He grabs my upper arm, and I tear it away.
"Carey. Please."
I shake my head, my cheeks burning, and take a step away, but he takes a step closer.
"Look at me."
This time, I do.
"Right now, I'm more interested in touching this."
He places his hand on my heart. Barely an inch to the left or right, and he'd be just like the men in the woods. But his hand doesn't move.

Arlene's Thoughts:
"If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But, the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you."

"...on beans I pray… "

Incredibly amazing!!

It always seems to be those amazing and moving books I experience that give me the most difficulty when attempting to put my reactions and emotions into words. If you were able to see the scribbled notes and scattered thoughts this book incited in me, you’d be certain of one fact… I was truly moved and emotionally floored by Emily Murdoch’s novel If You Find Me. To say that I felt this story was incredible doesn’t come close to how I truly felt. So, thank you Murdoch for restoring my faith in YA.

Before I continue, allow me to clarify that last statement… As of late, I seem to keep falling off the YA reading wagon, abandoning book after book because they fail to either catch my attention or provide a unique experience. I was coming close to blaming myself for resorting to other genres for those unique plots and captivating characters, all the while coming to grips with the possibility that I've outgrown YA. Well after reading If You Find Me, I place my lackluster reaction in YA back on the authors, because Murdoch proved once again that when done right, this genre can absolutely be amazing.

So let me share with you what this poignant and powerful book was about. In this story, we meet fifteen year old Carey who has spent the last ten years living in the back woods of Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park tucked away from society and the simple luxuries most take for granted. To her, this is her Hundred Acre Woods… a fantasy concept that has become her reality. The burden of caring for her little sister Jenessa was placed solely on her shoulders when their unstable and abusive mother abandoned them in these woods with a few canned goods (beans for the most part) and very little means to survive. Eventually they are rescued by Social Services and Carey’s father after receiving a tip from monster mom of their whereabouts. When they are finally immersed into society after being on the brink of starvation, keeping down a simple meal and learning to engage in everyday life becomes a challenge and skill they must quickly acquire.

There were so many emotions and reactions I experienced through Carey and Jenessa’s journey because of its vivid detail and realistic feel. They were truly unforgettable. Overall, their story is one of abuse, kidnapping and mistreatment, where I had no choice but to immediately embrace them and ultimately feel anxious as I witnessed their painful yet hopeful journey. Carey and Jenessa’s emotional strength and determination to acclimate to their new reality broke me into a million pieces. Their characters were just as powerful as their story.

In addition to these two girls, I have to share how much I loved Ryan’s character in If You Find Me. He blended perfectly with Carey and Jenessa’s journey, and the backstory that complimented his character was full of heart-warming surprises and perfectly plotted scenes. How he connected with Carey helped ease my angst a bit as she worked to immerse herself in high school and its inherent challenges.

Finally, I wanted to share that there are a couple of topics covered in fiction that have the ability to unground me, and one of them is when a child is mistreated or abused by the person who is by nature responsible for their safety. Parental abuse, neglect and in this case add abandonment to the mix easily throws me into a tail spin of fierce proportions. To read what these two girls had to survive was too harsh for words. So to witness Carey’s protective and nurturing ways with her younger sister incited some serious emotion in me. Loved those two girls!

At a time when more often than not I can’t seem to remember the names of the characters I’ve read a week ago, I can assure you Carey, Jenessa and Ryan will stay with me for much, much longer than the shelf-life of today’s YA characters. They were a powerful and unforgettable cast that shared a beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful story. Emily Murdoch’s debut novel If You Find Me is a must read for fans of quality YA! Well done!
5 Snowflakes

Crystal's Thoughts:
This book is one of the hardest book I have ever read.  I am emotionally drained and I honestly don't know when I will feel in control of myself again.  If you know me then you know that I don't typically get this attached to books, but Emily Murdoch has managed to break my heart into a million pieces.

Carey and Nessa goodness where do I even begin.  I am tearing up just thinking about these two young girls.  What they are made to endure is beyond anything I have ever read and I have read some pretty messed up stuff.  I have no idea how either one of them were anywhere near functional.  They both have lived in a camper with no electricity or water for the better part of their lives.  Nessa has lived without it her entire live and she is seven years old.  Their mother was not all there and had so many problems, but I can't feel sorry for the woman. The hate I have inside of me for this sorry excuse for a woman is something I have never felt before for a character.  What she puts both girls through is just disgusting and well I will leave it at that because even now I am thinking very mean things that are inappropriate for a review.  Just imagine the absolute worst and then multiply it by 100 and you might have an idea of what these poor girls are put through.  Things do turn around when their father finally finds them and takes them home to his new family.  Things are not easy and there are a lot of secrets that test this new family unit, but the story as it unfolds is one that kept me glued to my seat fearing the worst and just hoping for some kind of conclusion that would give Nessa and Carey a home.  Not a prefect one, but one where they could grow up and be loved.

This story totally took over my life if you can't tell from my blabbering.  I just wanted to go through and grab these two innocent girls and hug them.  Carey is the toughest character I have EVER read about.  She does what needs to be done and she takes care of not only herself but her mush younger sister Nessa.  This just shows that people will find a way to survive in the most terrible of situations.  Carey not only keeps them alive but she educates both her sister and herself beyond what I would have thought possible.  I was so proud when I learned how smart they both were.  Another aspect that totally took me by surprise was that there wasn't any outbursts besides the ones by Delaney, Carey's new stepsister.  Which that girl really got on my nerves but she is fifteen and I get it so I forgave her.  I expected way more drama, but the author kept the story pure and just let us the reader see how things unfolded.  The story was filled with enough heartache that the added drama would not have been needed.

I am definitely going to keep my eye out for Emily Murdoch.  If You Find Me will I know stay with me for the years to come and there are only a handful of stories that I can say that about.  Most I read and forget the next day unfortunately which I know is a consequence of reading so much but this story and these characters I will think about and not ever forget.
 5 Snowflakes



As part of our tour stop, we have TWO giveaways to share with you.  The publisher has graciously donated one copy of If You Find Me to one lucky follower, AND we are giving away our own personal ARC as well.  Be sure to fill out both rafflecopter forms for a chance to win this amazing book!  Good luck!  
Publisher Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
WinterHaven Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Lastly, don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops!
3/18  The Midnight Garden
3/19  Alluring Reads
3/20  Live to Read
3/21  YA Romantics
3/22  Winterhaven Books
3/23  Once Upon a Prologue
3/24  Hobbitses
3/25  ExLibris Kate
3/26  Xpresso Reads
3/27  Bookish
3/28  Great Imaginations
3/29  Good Books and Good Wine

Thank you to The Midnight Garden for allowing us to be part of this tour!

25 comments:

  1. I have heard only great things about this book. I think my friend said it's "fantastic". I really want to read it!

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    1. It really is fantastic. I hope you get a chance to read it soon Brooke. :)

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  2. I was so unsure about this book, but in the last few weeks, some seriously great reviews have been coming through that I admit my interest has certainly been piqued! I love heart wrenching reads in a while, so I'll definitely be giving this book a go, when I'm in the mood for it! Great reviews ladies! :)

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    1. Thank you Jasprit! Oh I understand.. There are some heart wrenching moments, but so full of hope and I fell in love with the characters so I became quite vested. I hope you give it a try and love it just as much as we did. :)

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  3. Yet another 5 star review! I am really excited to read this book, I only keep seeing 5 star reviews. Even though it is heart wrenching, and I know I'll cry like a baby, I really want to read it now. I agree, the books you like most are the hardest to write about. Great reviews girls!

    Anatea @ Anatea's Bookshelf

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    1. I've seen so many great reviews of this book and well deserved, I might add. :) I hope you read it Anatea! Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Sounds fantastic! Thanks for the great review!

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  5. Love the cover..I liked what i read about the story now I need to know what happens..Tina M

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    1. The cover fits perfectly with the book teena. Good luck with the giveaway. I hope you get a chance to read it soon. :)

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  6. Just one word: GLORIOUS!! What a lovely post, both in mind and vision. I peeked in after midnight and smiled!

    I keep marveling at how beautiful it is. It's an honor to be here, so, thank you! Thank you for making this time even more special. <3

    Thank you, everyone, for your generous comments. Go books! <3!

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    1. Oh wow! We are BEAMING Ms. Murdoch!!! Thank you so much for stopping by. It's like having a rock star visiting us!! We absolutely adored your book, so thank you for allowing us to be part of the tour. :) Love.love.loved Carey, Jenessa and Ryan. XD

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  7. I have this on my TBR list and I can't wait for my summer vacation so that I can read it already!!

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    1. Oh Rachel we hope you enjoy it. XD

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  8. Aw, ladies--both of your reviews were so wonderful, honest and emotional and heartfelt. Thanks so much for sharing this book with your readers and being part of the tour!

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    1. You're welcome!! We absolutely adored the book, so thank you thank you for allowing us to be part of this tour!! So well organized and the book was pretty amazing, so thanks! :D

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  9. Awesome review I've been dying to get this book it looks and sounds amazing! thanks for the great givaway!

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    1. Thank you Katiria!! The book was FAB! We hope you get your hands on a copy soon. It's a must read. :)

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  10. I just read a review of this a few days ago by Jen from YA Romantics. She talked about this one having some tough subject matter, but how good it was. I'll definitely be reading it! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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    1. The subject matter is tough, but the characters and writing are amazing, so it was well worth it. You're welcome and good luck Tressa!

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  11. This one is on my Wishlist, and I've been seeing lots of great reviews! Can't wait to read it, thanks!

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    1. You're welcome Darlene! Good luck with the giveaway. XD

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  12. Great review. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  13. Thanks so much for the giveaway and I can't now wait to read this book! It sounds so good and it definatly going to be read as soon as I can.

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  14. I have heard absolutely nothing but amazing things about this book! I am dying to get my hands on it and to read it :) Fingers crossed that I am chosen by the Rafflecopter matrix to be the lucky winner of the ARC copy!! It would make life so much sweeter ;)

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