Emily Murdoch If You Find Me

ISBN 13: 9781470840020

If You Find Me

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9781470840020: If You Find Me
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A deeply compelling mix of high school drama and page-turning mystery that asks profound questions about family, truth, and love.

Fourteen-year-old Carey and six-year-old Jenessa have been living in the woods with their mother for as long as they can remember; the sheltering trees and a broken-down camper are all they know. But what they've never been told is that Carey vanished from the real world ten years ago, when their mother took her, causing an uproar in the media -- and in her father's life.

Now, abandoned by the mother they trusted, they're often left alone for long periods of time to fend for themselves -- but, in one moment, everything changes. They're found by Carey's father and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world, one of shopping malls, shiny appliances, new clothes, and mouth-watering food. Carey desperately wants to believe in this new reality but is held back by a deep and painful loyalty to her mentally ill mother, who gave Carey her violin and taught her how to play the soaring music that helps her survive.

And then there's the other piece of Carey's past that haunts her, the story of what happened to her and Jenessa on that dark night in the woods -- the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Will Carey ever be able to trust her father and his family enough to fit into this new life? Will Jenessa finally break her silence and ruin the cocoon of safety that Carey's built so carefully around them? And what will happen if the secret comes out?

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About the Author:

EMILY MURDOCH lives in the Arizona desert with her husband and adopted dogs, spending her days operating a sanctuary for slaughter-rescued horses and burros. At night, she writes furiously by candlelight, capturing the ideas inspired by the day.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1
 
 
Mama says no matter how poor folks are, whether you’re a have, a have-not, or break your mama’s back on the cracks in between, the world gives away the best stuff on the cheap. Like, the way the white-hot mornin’ light dances in diamonds across the surface of our creek. Or the creek itself, babblin’ music all day long like Nessa when she was a baby. Happiness is free, Mama says, as sure as the blinkin’ stars, the withered arms the trees throw down for our fires, the waterproofin’ on our skin, and the tongues of wind curlin’ the walnut leaves before slidin’ down our ears.
It might just be the meth pipe talkin’. But I like how free sounds all poetic-like.
Beans ain’t free, but they’re on the cheap, and here in the Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park, dubbed “the Hundred Acre Wood,” I must know close to one hundred ways to fix beans. From the dried, soaked-in-water variety to beans in the can—baked beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans ...
It don’t sound important. It’s just beans, after all, the cause of square farts, as my sister used to say with a giggle on the end. But when you’re livin’ in the woods like Jenessa and me, with no runnin’ water or electricity, with Mama gone to town for long stretches of time, leavin’ you in charge of feedin’ a younger sister—nine years younger—with a stomach rumblin’ like a California earthquake, inventin’ new and interestin’ ways to fix beans becomes very important indeed.
That’s what I’m thinkin’ as I fill the scratchy cookin’ pot full of water from the chipped porcelain jug and turn on the dancin’ blue flame of the Bunsen burner: how I can make the beans taste new tonight, along with wishin’ we had butter for the last of the bread, which we don’t, because butter don’t keep well without refrigeration.
Sometimes, after a stint away, Mama will appear out of nowhere, clutchin’ a greasy brown sack from the diner in town. Then, everythin’ we eat is buttered thick as flies on a deer carcass, because it would break mine and Jenessa’s hearts to waste those little squares of gold.
Mama says stealin’ butter is free, as long as you don’t get caught.
(She also says g’s are free, and I should remember to tack them onto the ends of my ing words, and stop using ain’t, and talk proper like a lady and all. Just because she forgets don’t mean I should. Just because she’s backwoods don’t mean me and Jenessa have to be.)
At least we have the bread. I’m glad Ness isn’t here to see me scrape the fuzzy green circles off the bottom. If you scrape it carefully, you can’t even taste the must, which, when I sniff it, smells like our forest floor after a wetter month.
Snap–swish!
I freeze, the rusty can opener one bite into the tin. Nessa? The crunch of leaves and twigs beneath careless feet and the unmistakable sound of branches singin’ off the shiny material of a winter coat is too much noise for Jenessa to make, with her cloth coat and footsteps quiet as an Injun’s. Mama? I scan the tree line for the lemon yellow zing of her spiffy store-bought ski jacket. But the only yellow in sight drips from the sun, fuzzyin’ up the spaces between hundreds of shimmerin’ leaves.
I reckon I know how a deer feels in crosshairs as my heart buh-bumps against my ribs and my eyes open at least as wide as the dinner plates stacked on the flat rock behind me. Movin’ just my eyes, I see the shotgun only a superloooong arm stretch away, and breathe a sigh of relief.
We’re not expectin’ anyone. I think of how I look: the threadbare clothin’ hangin’ loose as elephant wrinkles, my stringy hair limp as overcooked spaghetti soaked in corn oil overnight. In my defense, I’ve been stuck on the violin for days, workin’ out a piece I’ve yet to perfect; “suspended in the zone,” as Mama calls it, where I forget all about the outside parts. Although, here in the backwoods of Tennessee, it don’t matter much. We’ve had maybe one or two lost hikers stumble upon our camp in all the years since Mama stowed us away in this broken-down camper in the sticks.
I listen harder. Nothin’. Maybe it’s just tourists after all. I run my fingers through my hair, then rub the greasy feelin’ off on the legs of my jeans.
The few times I seen myself in the fancy store mirrors, I didn’t recognize myself. Who’s that scruffy, skinny girl with the grasshopper knees? The only mirror we own is a small shard of glass I found in the leaves. In it, I can see one Cyclops eye at a time, or half the button of my nose. The v sittin’ pretty in the middle of my top lip, or the peach fuzz on the tip of my earlobe.
“Seven years bad luck,” Mama said after she’d seen the shard. And I ain’t even the one who busted it. Luck ain’t free. Seven years might as well be ten or twenty or forever, with luck bein’ rare as butter, for Mama, my sister, and me.
Where’s Nessa? I sink into a squat, my eyes sweepin’ the ground for a broken branch to use as a club, just in case I can’t get to the shotgun in time. After last night’s storm, there are a few choice limbs to choose from. The crunchin’ starts again, and I track the sound in the direction of the camper, prayin’ Nessa don’t come back early from her fairy hunt. Better for strangers to move on without seein’ either one of us.
“Carey! Jenessa!”
Huh?
My breath breaks free in marshmeller puffs, and my heart beats heart-attack fast. It’s a man, obviously, one whose voice I don’t recognize, but how does he know our names? Is he a friend of Mama’s?
“Girls? Joelle!”
Joelle is Mama, only she’s not here to answer back. In fact, we haven’t seen her in over a month, maybe two at this point. It’s been a worry, the last few days. While we have enough beans to last a week or so, this is the first time Mama has been gone so long without word. Even Jenessa has started to worry, her face an open book, even if her mouth refuses to voice the words.
More than once, I’ve caught her lips countin’ canned goods and propane tanks, and she don’t need to say what she’s thinkin’, because I lug around the same worry: that we’ll run out of necessities before Mama comes back—if she comes back—which is a dark-enough thought to tumble me into my own pit of silence.
My sister don’t talk much. When she does, it’s only to me, in moth-winged whispers, and only when we’re alone. By the time Ness turned six, Mama had grown worried enough to disguise her youngest daughter as “Robin” for the day and whisk her off to the speech therapist in town, a smart-lookin’ woman who diagnosed Jenessa with a condition called “selective mutism.” Nothin’ Mama said, threatened, or did could break Ness’s resolve.
“Carey? Jenessa!”
I clap my hands over my ears and use my thinkin’ to drown out the calls.
It’s strange, hearin’ a man’s voice, when it’s mostly been us females. I used to wish I had a father, like the girls in my books, but wishin’ don’t make things so. I don’t remember anythin’ about my own father, except for one thing, and Mama laughed when I brought it up. As embarrassed as I was, I guess it is funny, how my one memory of my father is underarms. She said the scent of pine and oak moss I remember came from a brand of deodorant called Brut. And then she’d gotten annoyed because I didn’t know what deodorant was, said I asked far too many questions, and her jug of moonshine was empty.
“It’s okay, girls! Come on out!”
Why won’t he just go away? What the heck is Mama thinkin’? I don’t care how much money he promised her—I’m not gonna do those things no more. And I’ll kill ’im, I swear, if he lays one finger on Jenessa.
All I have to do is stay hidin’, and wait for him to leave. That’s the plan, the only plan, until I catch a skip of pink dancin’ through the brown and greenery, and the butter yellow head of a little girl lost in a fairy world.
Look up! Hide!
But it’s too late—he sees her, too.
Nessa stumbles, her mouth open, and a gasp escapes. Her head whips left, then right. The man probably thinks she’s searchin’ for an escape route, but I know my little sister better than anyone, even God. Jenessa is tryin’ to find me.
Makin’ my own careless leaf sounds, I rise, my eyes on Nessa, who sees me immediately and flies across the forest into my arms. Our heads crank in the direction of new movement, this time in the form of a woman thin as chicken bones, her gait uneven as her heels sink into the soft forest floor.
Jenessa clings like a leech, her legs wrapped round my waist. The scent of her hair, sunbaked and sweaty, is so personal, it aches in my belly. Like a dog, I can smell her fear, or maybe it’s mine. I shake it off fast as my face smoothes into stone and I collect myself, because I’m in charge.
Neither the man nor the woman moves. Don’t they know it’s impolite to stare? Bein’ city folk and all? She looks over at him, her face unsure, and he nods at her before goin’ back to starin’ at us, his gaze unwaverin’.
“Carey and Jenessa, right?” she says.
I nod, then curse myself as my attempt at a “Yes, ma’am” comes out in a squeak. I stop, clear my throat, and try again.
“Yes, ma’am. I’...

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Book Description Blackstone Audiobooks, 2013. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. A deeply compelling mix of high school drama and page-turning mystery that asks profound questions about family, truth, and love Fifteen-year-old Carey and six-year-old Jenessa have been living in the woods with their mother for as long as they can remember; the sheltering trees and a broken-down camper are all they know. But what they ve never been told is that Carey vanished from the real world ten years ago, when their mother took her, causing an uproar in the media--and in her father s life. Now, abandoned by the mother they trusted, they re often left alone for long periods of time to fend for themselves--but, in one moment, everything changes. They re found by Carey s father and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world, one of shopping malls, shiny appliances, new clothes, and mouth-watering food. Carey desperately wants to believe in this new reality but is held back by a deep and painful loyalty to her mentally ill mother, who gave Carey her violin and taught her how to play the soaring music that helps her survive. And then there s the other piece of Carey s past that haunts her, the story of what happened to her and Jenessa on that dark night in the woods--the reason Jenessa hasn t spoken a word in over a year. Will Carey ever be able to trust her father and his family enough to fit into this new life? Will Jenessa finally break her silence and ruin the cocoon of safety that Carey s built so carefully around them? And what will happen if the secret comes out?. Seller Inventory # AAS9781470840020

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Book Description Blackstone Audiobooks, 2013. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. A deeply compelling mix of high school drama and page-turning mystery that asks profound questions about family, truth, and love Fifteen-year-old Carey and six-year-old Jenessa have been living in the woods with their mother for as long as they can remember; the sheltering trees and a broken-down camper are all they know. But what they ve never been told is that Carey vanished from the real world ten years ago, when their mother took her, causing an uproar in the media--and in her father s life. Now, abandoned by the mother they trusted, they re often left alone for long periods of time to fend for themselves--but, in one moment, everything changes. They re found by Carey s father and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world, one of shopping malls, shiny appliances, new clothes, and mouth-watering food. Carey desperately wants to believe in this new reality but is held back by a deep and painful loyalty to her mentally ill mother, who gave Carey her violin and taught her how to play the soaring music that helps her survive. And then there s the other piece of Carey s past that haunts her, the story of what happened to her and Jenessa on that dark night in the woods--the reason Jenessa hasn t spoken a word in over a year. Will Carey ever be able to trust her father and his family enough to fit into this new life? Will Jenessa finally break her silence and ruin the cocoon of safety that Carey s built so carefully around them? And what will happen if the secret comes out?. Seller Inventory # AAS9781470840020

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