The Horror Honeys: Hardcover Honey's Haunted Book Club ~ Don't Try to Find Me

Hardcover Honey's Haunted Book Club ~ Don't Try to Find Me

A Book of the Week Review by Jocelyn

Don’t Try to Find Me – Holly Brown

This week’s Hardcover Honey Book of the Week isn’t a horror book, per se, and I didn’t pick it because I thought it was – it’s one I just picked up at random at the library because the title caught my eye.  And although I realize most of you are more interested in zombies and vamps and ghosts (oh my!) this taut family drama kept my interest throughout and was a scary enough cautionary tale that I feel comfortable making it a Book of the Week.  I promise more supernatural scares in the near future, but in the meantime…..

 “Don’t Try to Find Me” starts off with a note saying just that – from 14 year old Marley to her mother Rachel – Rachel finds the note on the fridge upon arriving home from work one day and immediately panics.  Could the family’s recent move to a small California town from San Francisco have taken that much of a toll on Marley?  She is, after all, a normal teenager, not moody, depressed, on drugs, etc.  Rachel and her husband Paul have done everything they think good parents do, friending Marley on Facebook, staying married despite their growing distance, etc – so where could Marley be??

Taking a page out of the “Gone Girl” playbook, “Don’t Try to Find Me” gives us alternating narrators, switching seamlessly for the most part between the deeply unhappy Rachel and Marley herself, who, it turns out, is on the run not away from something but towards something, a boy she has fallen in love with after long discussions on Facebook after he reached out to her through mutual friends.  As we catch up to Marley on her travels, we are also privy to some backtracking through her online chats with Brandon, and knowing what we know about the world, that vague sense of unease is well-founded.

As we follow along with Marley on her trip to South Carolina to meet the boy she thinks she is in love with, Rachel and Paul make every effort to find her.  Paul is a man who likes to control everything he can, and he soon becomes the family spokesperson and face of the desperate search, launching websites, tweeting, Facebooking, and following up every tip in order to find his daughter.  Rachel, on the other hand, has secrets of her own to hide and soon becomes, if not a suspect, at the very least a “person of interest” and the subject of much online speculation and scorn.  And this part of the book hit home for me – who among us hasn’t narrowed their eyes and shaken their head in suspicion, when, say the latest info on someone’s internet searches become public right as their baby is missing or their spouse killed in some unlikely way?  I know I am guilty of judging based on the slimmest of media info and I bet so are you.

Author: Holly Brown
As Marley meets and gets physical with Brandon, her suspicions start to rise – why does he seem so much older than he was online?  Where are all the friends he promised her she would meet and hang out with?  Why does his entire building seem unoccupied except for his unit?  Are Marley’s parents as terrible as she thinks or has Brandon colored her view of her family?

Let me tell you a little secret about why I liked this one so much.  Your jaded Hardcover Honey was, at one point, a boy-crazy 14 year old girl.  With parents going through a divorce and nobody paying much attention, I did spiral a bit out of control.  No needles between the toes or anything, just suburban angst – out after curfew, smoking, shoplifting, sneaking out, and most of all, plenty of making out with whoever happened to drive me home from any given party or give me the time of day.  I remember distinctly one night taking a racy Polaroid to be delivered to my latest crush. Thank goodness scanners and smartphones didn’t exist then. If Facebook had been around then, this story could have been about me.  It reminded me that no matter what we do, the outside world doesn’t always have our children’s best interest at heart.  And truly, what could be scarier than that?

Hardcover Honey Rating ~ 3.5 unsavory online predators for this one...