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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

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Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci

If You Find Me

If You Find Me - Emily Murdoch I think I need to reconsider one of my pet peeves.After you read around in a genre, you start to develop your tastes. You learn to decipher tricky synopsises and read the codes to find the stories you would like, and you also learn about your own pet peeves. One of mine, as it turned out, is cutesy child characters. Namely, cutesy child characters that serve little purpose outside of motivation for the protagonist and a magnet for our sympathy. I despise poorly done characters as a rule, but it’s even worse when you throw little kids in the mix. Nine times out of ten, they’re not even given a proper character.This book… changes things somewhat.I don’t know why, exactly. Carey and Janessa’s relationship is very much like that of Katniss and Prim from “The Hunger Games” - sisters forced to grow up, one who managed to turn into a surrogate parent and one that couldn’t take the transformation. Theirs is a relationship build in isolation, one that is rooted much deeper than most sibling bonds, both sweet and a tiny bit dysfunctional. In the wrong hands, such a set-up could have turned disastrously, but Emily Murdoch balances things out with a heavy dose of real world truth in her narrative. She explores the dynamics of this kind of relationship by juxtaposing them with the outside world and what a relatively normal family looks like, and by doing so, she gives her characters an opportunity to evolve past their basic type.Basically, if you’re looking for a way to write sibling relationship, this would be a good place to start.Also, I don’t usually mention the writing, but here, it was particularly striking. Lyrical, occasionally haunting, but never romanticising or downplaying an important moment. It suits Carey’s voice, conveying the atmosphere of the book - a state between dream and reality, where one isn’t sure where they’re awake or still sleeping. I wonder, in the darkest puzzle piece of my heart, if he’d say those words if he knew, really knew, about the white star night.Janessa would never tell. It had sucked the words right out of her. - Emily Murdoch, “If You Find Me”, e-galley, page 104In case you’re wondering, this book isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. But it handles its subject matter (all of its subject matter) with care and respect, which makes it possible for the reader to immerse themselves in the story.Actually, if there’s one false note in the whole of this, it would probably be the romantic subplot with Ryan. Though I understand the importance of it, I feel it stretched a little too far, and added just a little too much to the overall story. There’s a lot of love in this book, many different kinds of it, and I don’t think it would have hurt to leave Ryan and Carey’s relationship on a more ambiguous note. Still, that’s just a minor nit-pick. I do believe this is a wonderful book, though, so if you can, definitely give it a read.Releases March 26th from St. Martin’s Press.Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publishers via NetGalley.