'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Monday, 9 November 2015

Review: If You Find This

Nicholas is a boy who feels ‘friendless, unloved, unlovable, and unwanted.’ His world is comprised of musical notes and numbers which he sees in everything. He is a maths whiz who loves prime numbers. Unfortunately everyone is afraid of him because of his philosophical theories.

Nicholas’ younger brother died. His ashes fuelled the tree that was planted in their yard. So to Nicholas, his brother is alive. He communicates with him through the notes of his violin and he is answered via the movement of the leaves and branches that the wind gives voice to.  His father, who lives and works away from the family, is a simple man who can’t understand his genius son. Therefore has never spoken the words Nicholas longs to hear from him.

Mother’s job barely keeps them alive. She wants to sell the house and start afresh. But Nicholas can’t leave his brother or his memories.

When the unknown Grandpa Rose suffering from dementia is released from prison, he turns up at their house. He doesn’t know who he is or who he was, and is immediately placed in the retirement home. When he starts mumbling about hidden heirlooms of great value, Nicholas sees saving the house and keeping his brother become a possibility. Through the elderly characters’ point of view and voice, we hear their concerns about ageing and living and dying with dignity. This is an important theme of great significance in the story.

With the help of unlikely friends, a breakout from the home, the mysteries of a ghost house, and some serious deciphering of a tattooed map, Nicholas sets out to pull off the most ingenious plan of his life.

I found this complex web of mystery, crime and daring, a fabulous read. It speaks of friendships, family secrets, and how the past is irrevocably tied to the present and future. It also reveals how similar people are in that they all have problems, and nothing is ever smooth sailing in life.

The language and storyline is woven from musical notes and sequences of numbers. These are then folded into words and concepts. It’s like reading a melody. Uniquely structured, astonishing and clever, this book left a lasting impression on me.

Title: If You Find This
Author: Matthew Baker
Publisher: Five Mile Press, $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781471404528
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Fiction

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