Find Me by Romily Bernard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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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Find Me by Romily Bernard