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Find Me

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2.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,386 ratings  ·  782 reviews
After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us Find Me, her highly anticipated debut novel—a gripping, imaginative, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.

Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress
...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published February 17th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Laura Hi, thank you for the question. Sometimes we talk about present tense in terms of creating urgency, but my favorite quality about the present tense is…moreHi, thank you for the question. Sometimes we talk about present tense in terms of creating urgency, but my favorite quality about the present tense is that way it can actually slow down a narrative: the "momentness" can lead to a state of suspension. Since Joy's turning points as a character are happening in the present moment, and I knew I was going to leave her on the edge of her quest, this quality of suspension and "in the momentness" felt right to me. It was also partly an intuitive choice: I found myself writing present tense lines ("I see," "I walk," etc) and I decided to follow that impulse. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Laura Hi, there! It took me quite a long time to figure out that there were questions I could answer on here, but thanks for this and yes: without being too…moreHi, there! It took me quite a long time to figure out that there were questions I could answer on here, but thanks for this and yes: without being too explicit, I did want to open the possibility that Marcus was a kind of supernatural guide for Joy--she needed him to embark on this journey and as he fades near the end, it's a sign of her deepening self-reliance. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 2.89  · 
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 ·  4,386 ratings  ·  782 reviews


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Annet
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocalyptic, dark
Things I will never forget: my name, my made-up birthday... The dark of the Hospital at night. My mother's face, when she was young. ...
This is an weird, absurd and dark book. I'm still thinking about... what to think of it. But it was intriguing for me and well written by a debut author. It runs between 3 and 4 stars for me. Especially the part after the hospital turned less interesting to me, storyline seemed sort of lost. The final part of the book got better again though. But, a special d
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Maciek
Find Me is the story of and narrated by 19 year old Joy, who lives in a world swept by a mysterious pandemic known only as "the sickness". The sickness begins with memory loss and inevitably ends in death, claiming victims by the hundred thousands. The novel open in a hospital, where Joy is being held along with 74 others - they are all thought to be immune to the plague, and are scrutinized, tested and studies with hope of finding a cure. Joy and others constantly recall various and often obscu ...more
Saraquael
Feb 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
The beginning of the book had me: I'm a sucker for a good, non-zombie pandemic. Add in a potentially-unreliable narrator? Man, I'm sold. But while some aspects of the book really worked early-on, it fell apart at the halfway mark. What it devolved into was a weak road-trip saga, full of imagery and ideas that never really culminated in anything substantive. The last 50 pages felt completely rushed, as if even the author wanted to be rid of the mess. None of the 'plot-twists' were even properly e ...more
Chris
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
I felt like this book was just a collection of unrelated sentences.
Megan
Feb 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Usually, if I deem a book worthy enough to finish, I rate it at least two stars. Not this one. Started out moderately interesting and devolved into a mess that does not resolve itself. Recommended for those who want an acid trip without the acid.
Dianne
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
A dystopian impressionistic painting - a jumble of questions with no answers; unrelated images and events. Kind of like waking up after a nightmare and only remembering fragments of unsettling and surreal dreams that you can't quite shake and that make absolutely no sense. I felt zero connection to any of the characters but kept reading because I as curious to see where she was going with this story. Apparently nowhere.

I liked the writing but I found the story relentlessly depressing and grim. N
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Bethan Watson
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
The story revolves around nineteen-year-old Joy and begins in a hospital where she is being held with seventy-four others. A plague only known as ‘the sickness’ has swept the world and killed hundreds and thousands.

My only problem with this novel is that it feels a bit aimless. There are a lot of questions without any answers or sense of closure. I do enjoy reading about dystopian worlds, as it’s what seems to be popular at the moment, but this, unfortunately, didn’t really cut it for me. I feel
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Maybe reading this and Blueprints of the Afterlife at the same time, two blue text covered dystopian-ish novels about not the complete annihilation of society, but rather the irreversable and extremely obvious altering of it, was a bit of an overload. Or maybe the quiet yet somehow also too painterly indie film feel of Find Me never stood a chance against Boudinot's refreshingly inventive swing-dancey writing style, but this one started up high on the mountain, and then dove straight off. I was ...more
Taryn
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
You can't throw a rock in a bookstore these days without hitting a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel or three. There are SO MANY. Surprisingly enough, considering the saturated market, most of the ones I've read are quite good.

The thing is, they're all very different. Some are gory and scary, going into gleeful detail about a global catastrophe. Others are more character-centered, focused on an individual or small group of survivors, exploring what comes after the world-altering event rather th
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is an author I had not heard of until we recorded Episode 014 of the Reading Envy podcast, and Jason (our guest) mentioned her in passing as he discussed a book by her husband. Then I was poking around in Edelweiss looking through review copies of interesting sounding books, and found this, Laura van den Berg's first novel. (Oh yeah so disclaimer, I got this for free, but that does not alter my honest review.)

This is the author's first novel, but I will definitely be finding her short stori
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Book Riot Community
This is such an interesting and surreal dystopian novel. Essentially, the reader meets a super unique protagonist, Joy, who has her own complications even as the human race is struggling with its own. After an outbreak of a disease that causes people to forget those around them, Joy enrolls in a hospital program that separates her from the rest of the world and the book kicks off from there. I really enjoyed this one even more than I expected because the caricatures of people that populate this ...more
Drew
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
5+.
For the smart, nuanced consideration of memory alone, the book would get 5 stars. I dog-eared probably 15 pages with quotes to copy out later - they're all over the book, whether turns of phrase or deep thoughts or (sometimes) both. Ms. van den Berg has taken the same tools with which she crafts her short stories and simply written a longer one, fleshing it out in all the right ways. It's a brilliant, funny, sad, smart, and impactful novel - one that, while you read it, takes you by the throa
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Teresa
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked the first half much better than the second, the descriptions of the Hospital and being quarantined were just so much more interesting than the cross-country bus wanderings. Also, after reading Station Eleven I don't think any other book about sickness and a decimated society will compare.
Laura Bedingfield
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Probably more a 2.5...it starts off great--very interesting and eerie but then shifts into just plain weird in the second half. It was a fast read so I kept plowing along, waiting for the great revelation, which didn't happen for me.
Janis Skoczylas
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I am torn between wanting to give this novel a 5 and a 1. :) This book is by far the most maddening book I've read recently, and while parts of it were absolutely brilliant, other parts made me want to bash my head in.

Short synapsis: The world in a not so distant future has suffered from a devastating pandemic in which people turn silver, lose their memories, and then die. Joy, our protagonist, is strangely immune and recruited for a "hospital" where she can be studied in hopes of finding a cure
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Jessica Anne
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Okay, so:

Part 1: 5 x ∞ stars
Part 2: 4 stars...or maybe 2 stars...wait, what? WHAT is happening? NEGATIVE STARS.........well, maybe back to three.....and now five again. We ended on five.

Which I think averages out to four stars.

Now that we have that out of the way, a slightly more serious review:

Laura van den Berg is an excellent writer. Her sentence structure is meticulous and surprising. The pacing for part 1 is superb, even though it's essentially about one person confined to a single building
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Kelly
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review forthcoming, O the Oprah magazine.

Edited: read the review online here! Hint: it's so good.
http://www.oprah.com/book/Best-New-Bo...
...more
Sean
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Near the conclusion of Laura van den Berg's superb debut novel, Joy, the protagonist, theorizes that we go through such tremendous effort to avoid processing trauma that eventually our brains allow to forget, but on the condition that we will never feel whole.

Recruited into an experimental hospital because of her immunity to an epidemic that is erasing the minds of all it infects, Joy quickly establishes herself as one of the most unique narrators in recent memory: snarky, thoughtful, and tragic
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Sean Owen
Feb 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
I have enjoyed Laura van den Berg's short fiction, but when I saw her read from this book the selection she chose was terrible. I ignored this initial impression and wrote it off as the difficulty in choosing a few paragraphs from a novel to stand alone. Unfortunately though my initial impression was correct. This book is amateurish and haphazardly thrown together. It's just scene after unrelated scene. Nothing builds on anything else or carries any meaning. It's just random scenes that are supp ...more
Catherine
Parts of this book were lovely, but so much of it just didn't make sense. The mysterious disease to which the protagonist, Joy, is apparently immune kills fewer people than the flu pandemic of 1918, but throws the country into complete chaos? This is "sci-fi lite" -- same genre as The Age of Miracles -- more literary than sci-fi, but it doesn't really come together.

During the first half of the book, Joy is stuck inside a hospital, where she and other apparently immune people have been brought to
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Vivian
May 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Maybe you like some beautiful sentences, some interesting thoughts about memory, and what makes up a life, anyway? But by the time I finished this book, I was angry I had wasted my time reading it: the plot meanders, takes up threads, and then leaves them unresolved; the characters are hard to get a handle on, which makes them particularly unsympathetic; and the quest of Joy, the main character, in the second half of the book, feels unending...and doesn't actually end, come to think of it...

I ke
...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
DAMMIT. This book was a four or five star read, gripping as hell, beautifully written... until the second half. It's like I just read two separate books. I was so invested in Joy's life, so enthralled by what was going on at the Hospital and her relationship with Louis. I shed tears! I didn't want to put it down!

And then it just fell apart.

I know van den Berg has written short stories before this, so I'll definitely check them out, as she's a beautiful writer. Rounding up to three stars because
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Terri Wino
First half of the book was okay. The second half was just weird. I don't mind books that don't wrap things up nice and neat, but after I finished this one I just felt I wasted my time.
If you want to read a good book about the end of society as we know it, I recommend Station Eleven. This book didn't even compare.
Kim
Jan 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Honestly, I'm just glad it's over.
Claire
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A rather strange, unusual book, but I enjoyed it. The story is about memory and the past and how memories can be false or true, but that is true for reality also. I was fascinated by the way the book jumps from here to there and the way things were put together like when you make a puzzle. Even then, did I put the puzzle together the right way? This is not a book for you if you like the straight forward stories, but is you like to be surprised or a book that makes you think, I recommend reading ...more
Sera
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
It starts as a post-apocalyptic novel and carries on as the story of a young woman who looks for her mother. More slow-paced than I expected. While characters just come and go through the pages, the writer does not give us how the virus comes out and its consequences that we can read on any other post-apocalyptic book.
Kelli
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: stopped-reading
More than fifty pages in I didn't feel at all compelled to read this. To be fair, these dystopia, disease-related stories aren't really my thing. I wanted to get to the beautiful writing described by others but this book is not for me.
Thom
Aug 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This book has two halves, and unfortunately they end up with different ratings. The first half works okay, introducing the situation and the characters and the overall breakdown. The second half is a weak road trip that finally leaves the reader hanging.

Both halves use flashbacks to tell the story, and both have interesting characters. Like the main character, few of these reach resolution. Reading the first half, I was reminded of The Girl with All the Gifts. Late in the second half, the ground
...more
Sarah
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Read this and other reviews at Ampersand Read

Over half of the story is spent in the Hospital. Just as creepy as it sounds. Patients who are considered immune from the plague that has swept across America (and the world? It's unclear whether it's worldwide or not), are kept captive in this abandoned Hospital. They share a TV. They are tested weekly, their blood is taken to be studied every couple of days, and they basically walk around like zombies, looking to fill their time with something.

Which
...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
May 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Alternating Curre...: Book Review: "Find Me" by Laura van den Berg 1 20 Mar 09, 2015 08:52AM  

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Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her second collection of stories, The Isle of Youth (FSG Originals, 2013), received the Rosenthal Award for Fiction from the American Ac ...more

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