Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mini-Reviews: If You Find Me, and The Diamond Thief

If You Find Me

Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Genre: Contemporary
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
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. -Goodreads
3 Stars

I hadn't anticipated the depth and power of If You Find Me when I first acquired it. I didn't expect it to be such a dark, deep novel. It tells the story of a girl who has lived in the woods her entire life, along with her sister and drug-addicted mother. She is completely disconnected from society, and has trouble adjusting into the life of a normal teenager.

The subject of this book is very depressing, but is explored seamlessly. It's different from other YA contemporaries, in the sense that the overall atmosphere and mood is quite unique and unlike any I've read before. 

That being said, the book was relatively short and because of this, relationships and character development weren't delved into as much as I'd hoped. Sometimes I caught the book falling back on tropes, but those were few and far between.

I hate saying this for fear of sounding insensitive, but the novel itself is ultimately forgettable, despite its better-than-average execution. Really the only things going for this novel are its psychological and mystery aspects, unfortunately.

The Diamond Thief
Title: The Diamond Thief
Author: Sharon Gosling
Genre: Steampunk/Historical fiction
Publication Date: December 1, 2014

By day Rémy Brunel is a daring circus acrobat, by night she is an equally talented jewel thief currently assigned to steal a famous diamond in Victorian London--but when the theft goes wrong she finds herself allied with a young policeman as they try to find the elusive gem. -Goodreads

3.5 Stars
**Thanks to Capstone for granting me access to this ARC via Netgalley.

The Diamond Thief is probably the most fun, whimsical novel I've read in quite a while. Its slightly simple plot, almost reading like a middle grade novel, was unique in its own right. I was a bit critical of the book at first; however, I did begin to lighten up as I became increasingly immersed in the story.

The lovable characters, the lovely writing, the British setting - all these contributed to the pure joy that is The Diamond Thief. I was completely enamored by the adventure and the historical intrigue. While I do wish the beginning had done the book justice, the rest of the book makes up for the initial suspension of interest. Gosling's writing did such an admirable job of painting Victorian London and staying true to historical accuracy, while at the same time juggling the steampunk plot line.

This is most likely the only time I will ever be able to oversee the insta-love that occurs between the two main protagonists - Remy succeeds in redeeming herself by consistently proving she is a fierce, tough girl. But, I did not like how easily some conflicts were solved for her, making the novel seem more juvenile than it actually is.

A highly satisfying blend of historical and fantastical themes, The Diamond Thief truly is an entertaining read with minor flaws that can easily be overlooked.

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