by Emily Murdoch
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.
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: March 26th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: eARC, 256 pages
I have to admit that I chose to read this book because I saw somewhere that it was a survival story. And it was. But not in the sense I thought it would be. I expected to see people having to fend for themselves in the middle of the woods, all Hunger Games-like or something... but it was a different kind of survival. A much sadder and realistic one. Two girls had to survive their own mother and the terrible things she did to them. All the things she let others do to them.
Carey raised her little sister by herself, because she learned a long time ago not to count on her bipolar/meth-addict mother. A mother who only cared about making enough money for drugs, a woman who could not be bothered to bring food home for her children, or clothes, or even NOT bring strange, disgusting men over to rape her 7 year-old (until she finally got her period at 13) for pocket change to buy drugs.
Carey is, not surprisingly, extremely mature for her 14 years-old. She would do anything to protect her baby sister, Jenessa. So when a woman from Social Services and a strange man (who looks somewhat familiar) show up in the middle of the forest looking for them, she's ready to fight. But there's nothing she can do. If she wants to keep her sister close, she has to live with this man. Her father. The one her mother said was the reason they had to run away years ago.
Now the two sisters have to learn how to live with the comforts and novelties of modern life. Clean, comfortable, warm clothes. A nice place to sleep. Food whenever they're hungry. Running water. This is all heaven for them, but this new life won't be easy. There's a stepmother involved. Oh, and a very jealous stepsister. And let's not forget about high school. And boys. If only Carey didn't have so much to hide...
This was such a sad, sad book. I loved the way it was narrated. I could almost hear Carey's voice, with her accent and all the missing g's and es's ('don't it?' 'runnin' '). It was such a melodic, dreamy, sad narration. It broke my heart from the start, because I just knew there was something bad to be discovered.
I wanted to kill Carey's mother. What a freaking monster! How can someone do those things to her own children? Ok, I get it, she was sick AND on drugs, but seriously? Completely unacceptable. At the end of this book I found myself very mad with the opposite sex. I can't even begin to describe how satifying it was to me to read what she did to that rapist.
Anyway... it was very heart-warming to see them adapt to their new, love-filled life. If anyone deserved it, it was them. I loved this book. I really did. Even if Carey, a girl who lived in the woods ever since she as a child, without proper nutrients and hydration, with next to no protection from the elements, under constant stress and all, being described as 'OMG, the most amazingly beautiful girl ever, she should be on cover of magazines and movies'. That was completely unnecessary to the story and quite unrealistic, but I'm going to let that go. The rest of the book was terrific, so there you go.
*I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*