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Murdoch, Emily.
New York : St. Martin’s Press, 2013

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Strong. Smart. Independent. Resourceful. Those words describe 15-year old Casey Violet Blackburn. Scared. Poor. Abandoned. Hungry. Unfortunately those words describe Casey too. For almost as long as Casey can remember, she has lived in the middle of the woods in Tennessee in a broken down trailer with her mom, Joelle (a drug addict who disappears for weeks at a time), and her younger sister, Janessa. It’s always been up to Casey to take care of them. Casey has been the one who’s had to figure out how to survive or how to keep little Nessa safe. This time their mom has been gone too long, and Casey isn’t sure if their food will hold out. But she’s resourceful and smart and knows she’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her precious sister. But then . . . crack . . . strange noises in the woods. It’s rare to have people come through this part of the woods. Casey’s worried about who they might be and what they might want. Two strangers appear and call out for Casey and Janessa. To find out who these people are and what happens to Casey and Janessa, read Casey’s powerful first person story: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch.
  (South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, 2015,   Prepared by: Susan Aplin, Dutch Fork High School,

Booktalk #2

Ten years ago Carey’s mother abducted her. Carey’s almost 16 now and has spent years living in a decrepit, cockroach-infested camper hidden deep in the woods. Her mother is a bipolar meth addict who sells her body to get what she needs. The result of her behavior leaves Carey with a little sister, Jenessa. The girls’ drug-addled mother disappears for days or weeks at a time. It’s been Carey who’s loved and cared for Jenessa since she was a baby. Carey keeps her alive, though they freeze in the winter and survive by eating canned beans and animals Carey kills. The girls are eventually rescued and taken to live with Carey's father who is now remarried. Readjusting to a new family and to civilization is incredibly difficult. For Carey it includes navigating the confusing world of high school and boys, while continuing to protect 5-year-old Jenessa. Something traumatized Jenessa in the woods and she doesn’t speak. The reasons why Carey’s mom abducted her, and why Jenessa has stopped talking, are uncovered. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, parts of this story are horrifying, but there’s also a measure of strength and love that make it heartwarming at the same time.  (Patty McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award, 2015)


SUBJECTS:      Sisters -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.
                        Child abuse -- Fiction.
                        Family life -- Fiction.
                        Secrecy -- Fiction.
                        Domestic fiction

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