Find Me (Find Me #1)

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Find Me (Find Me #1)
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
September 24, 2013
ISBN
978-0062229038
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A girl is dead, a killer's closing in, and two little words are the only clue: "Find Me". 

These are the words that Wick Tate finds in Tessa Wayne's diary. And now Tessa has been found dead. Does someone out there really expect Wick to uncover the truth about her death? An expert computer hacker, Wick has the skills for the job, but with the threat of her ex-con dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around and new foster parents to keep happy, getting involved with a murder case is the last thing she wants to do. Until her little sister, Lily, is the next target. 

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker-girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare. And now she's going to find this killer, no matter what it takes. Because it just got personal.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Creepy & Suspenseful
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Loved:

The tense, atmospheric tone of FIND ME makes for a compulsively readable story. The suspense never relents, and as more questions are raised and the villain circles near, it's almost painful to keep reading because the reader is convinced that Wick is destined for a terrible fate. The mark of a good psychological thriller is a steady escalation of isolation for the main character and an increasing sense that every other character cannot be trusted, and FIND ME does this exceptionally well.

Many readers will also enjoy the narrative voice of Wick, the heroine, although some may find it harder to connect to Wick's tough, bitter brand of loneliness. Wick is smart without convincing the reader that she cannot be outsmarted, she's courageous while still consistently convincing the reader that she's afraid (and for good reason), and she is able to adapt to her changing circumstances while still leaving the reader worried that she won't adapt fast enough to save herself. Her inner emotional journey of mistrust and loneliness is well-supported by her life circumstances, and she never acts out of character. As a whole, Wick makes for an intriguing heroine whose voice works well for this story.

What Left Me Wanting More:

The main issue I had was with Griff, Wick's eventual love interest. He exhibits dangerous stalking behavior early on (spying on her through her bedroom window and eventually entering her room when she isn't there), and I'm pleased that Wick calls him on it, but unhappy that she decides to accept his behavior as if it's fine. The tipping point for me, though, was when Griff has the ability to help Wick with her dangerous situation but refuses to unless she kisses him (they've never kissed before). She initially resists, but then caves when it's clear that he won't give her what she needs unless she pays for it with physical affection. That isn't romantic. That's treating a girl's body like a commodity. I would be fine with that if Wick called him on it and distanced herself from him romantically, but she again just accepts it and continues her relationship with him.

Final Verdict:

Relentless tension and a steady escalation of mistrust and fear make FIND ME a compulsively readable psychological thriller.
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Seriously Creepy Mystery
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Liked:
In general, mysteries are one of the few genres that fail to interest me. Just like crime dramas, I generally find them really repetitive, and there’s often not enough character development to really get me engaged in the story. I do, however, make an exception for stories about psychopaths, and Find Me by Romily Bernard turned out to be just the sort of incredibly creeptastic mystery that I enjoy.

The overall plot and tone of Find Me heavily recalls the first season of Veronica Mars, which really isn’t a bad thing, since that’s one of my favorite mystery programs. Wick Tate, daughter of a criminal father, the sort of man whose behavior drove her mother to suicide, finally has a comfortable home with Bren and Todd, who are fostering Wick and her younger sister Lily. However, a cop named Carson keeps coming around, probably onto Wick’s recreational activities, which include computer hacking, a skill she learned from her sketchy upbringing among criminals. Then someone leaves a notebook belonging to a dead girl, Tessa Waye, on her doorstep with a note reading only “Find Me.”

Wick’s narrative voice is dark, mistrustful, and blackly comic. Bernard convincingly portrays Wick as a girl who has been dumped on by life enough times that she knows to be ready for anything and trusts almost no one. She can count the number of people she trusts on one hand. Wick is strong, clever, and backed into a corner. Her bitterness may be hard for some readers to relate to, but her core of sadness, particularly with the way the suicide of Tessa, a girl she used to be friends with a long time ago, and the way it stirs up memories of her mothers death. There’s a very emotionally powerful scene where Wick tells off a girl for her judgment of Tessa’s choice to end her life.

The mystery element does have a lot of commonalities with the first season-long arc of Veronica Mars. A popular girl dead, with few leads but a secret boyfriend. These commonalities didn’t really detract from the excitement of the plot, but I did note them. The ending really did creep me out and, though I wasn’t all that surprised by who the killer was, it was still utterly terrifying.

What Left Me Wanting More:
One thing did really bother me about Find Me, and that’s Griff, Wick’s love interest. Though they’ve known each other for three years, it’s in a very basic “we have classes together” way. They’re not friends, really. On the day when Wick hears of Tessa’s suicide, she goes home sick, and Griff texts her to see if she’s okay, having had her number from when they worked on a class project together. Up to that point, I thought he was a nice, sweet guy. Then, that night, he scares the bejeebus out of her when he climbs a tree outside her window because she didn’t respond to the text. WARNING: CREEPER ALERT. Then, later, she asks him for help with something and he offers to do so if she’ll kiss him. WARNING: NOT CUTE; SKETCHY. Later, he breaks into her room and leaves a drawing for her, since, again, she ignored texts. WARNING: RUN FOR THE HILLS. He’s also way too grabby and bossy. Wick recognizes and even calls him out on his stalkerish behavior, but is okay with it because it’s him. No. No. No. No.

The other issue is that a lot of plot lines still seem up in the air at the end. The mystery’s resolved, but Wick’s family drama is not. Based on the ending, it seems that at least one more book is in the works about Wick Tate, though I can’t find anything to confirm that. Plot lines left dangling isn’t an issue if this is a series, but certainly is if this is a standalone.

The Final Verdict:
All in all, Find Me is a highly entertaining, heart-pumping mystery. Fans of Veronica Mars might especially enjoy Bernard’s debut. If there does in fact turn out to be a sequel, I’ll definitely be reading it for Wick’s delightful narrative voice, but hoping the romance goes somewhere less unsettling.
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User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0  (1)
Characters 
 
4.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
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Find Me Review
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Find Me by Romily Bernard blends a great story that includes a bit of mystery and some great characters that have made it onto my favorites list. It kept me turning the pages trying to figure out what happened to Tessa but also because I wanted to see what was going to happen next for Wick. I won't go into a ton of detail around the mystery here because I don't want to give anything away. Just know that the story blends in a bit of hacking (Wick/Griff), some high school shenanigans, and a budding romance.

Wick is seventeen and hasn’t had the easiest life. She and her sister Lily have gone through 3 foster homes since her drug dealing father ran off to avoid the cops but now they are living with Bren and Todd. As a way to make some money…for just in case, Bren has been hacking. There are layers to this story and I don’t really want to give anything away but within the first few chapters, we find out that a girl that went to school with Wick has committed suicide (supposedly) but mysteriously, her journal is sitting on Wick’s porch addressed to Wick with a Post-it that says “Find me.” The main storyline here is Wick trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Tessa (Did she really commit suicide?) and also solve the mystery of who has now threatened Lily.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Wick is the main character. She is a nerdy, computer hacker who has a bit of a sarcastic edge. In addition, she truly cares about Lily and wants to do whatever she can to keep her safe and make Lily’s life better than what hers was at age 11. She struggles with adapting to living with Bren and Todd and I imagine any kid in foster care would have the same thoughts she does. That she doesn’t really belong with them, she needs to plan for the day things fall apart, and why bother unpacking…she will be moving on once they realize who she really is (her father’s daughter).

And although she has known him for a long time, Wick and Griff don’t really connect until the morning Wick finds out about Tessa. From that point on, they start to find out more about each other and it was great to see them become more to each other. They have two very different approaches to interacting with others which makes their approach to hacking very different. Griff also hasn’t had an easy life but where Wick has chosen to avoid others and put up walls, he has opted to blend in and become someone who can interact with anyone.

“He moves pretty easily through school. He’s funny, gets along with everyone and has even been known to save bullied band geeks.”

Griff has easily become a favorite of mine. He challenges Wick and where other guys might run in the other direction when she says certain things to him, he tells her he prefers her hard edges and she shouldn’t hold back.

“You’re the first girl I’ve ever met who’s smart and never plays stupid. You’re small but you don’t back down.”

He has been waiting for three years for Wick to notice him and his interest and he wasn’t going to let it pass – that is one of the things I loved about him. He was patient but he also wasn’t going to let a perfect opportunity pass by without getting her to see him. When he tells her he has wanted her since the moment he first saw her…..SWOON. When she finally does get it, Wick realizes she not only likes Griff, she needs his help.

The secondary characters were great too. I loved Lauren as Wick's best friend. I also thought the bad guys were done well. Wick's dad and his friend Joe...definitely bad guys. But Bernard also did a good job with the good guys...and making me wonder if they were really good...these are definitely not black and white characters. From the detective (Carson) to Tessa's dad (Mr. Waye) I was questioning just what their motives were and where they were supposed to fit.

As always, I love a good character driven story. The story here is definitely one that drew me in…right along with Wick and Griff I was trying to figure out who it is that Tessa wrote about in her journal and it did keep me guessing. The other part here though is the change in Wick. She goes from being this person who feels she can only rely on herself and it is up to her to keep Lily safe to eventually realizing that despite her life and circumstances, she can rely on others to help her…And trust that they will follow through. In the end, it is that trust that she puts in Griff that helps them all.

Definitely check this one out when you can. It is a great debut novel and I will be looking for more from Romily Bernard. She not only writes a solid story but gave me some characters I could care about and honestly, I want to read more about them.
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