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Reader Reviewed
Find Me by Laura van den Berg

Find Me

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June 2015 Debut of the Month.

A sensitive debut novel by a young American author, previously praised for her short stories, Find Me belongs to the somewhat topical recent school of hopeful dystopias and reminded me of both Sarah Pinborough’s The Death House, for its teenagers enclosed in a prison/hospital space and Emily St.John Mandel’s Station Eleven for its wanderings along the bleak roads of a post-apocalyptic America. Following a partly unexplained epidemic that has devastated civilisation, Joy, a matter of fact street child at quite the opposite pole of the heroics of a Katniss Everdeen struggles with the nature of memory and a mother who abandoned her as a baby. Her picaresque quest, following the rigours of incarceration, takes her and colourful accompanying characters through traumatised landscapes to Florida in search of a holy grail of understanding. Van Den Berg’s talent lies in a visceral identification with a heroine both spunky and vulnerable and the journey will delight many readers with its message of hope against adversity. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

'One of my favourite novels of all time is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. So when I read a review of Laura van den Berg’s Find Me which compared it not only to Atwood but to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, my interest was firmly piqued. For once you can believe the hype – Laura’s debut novel is beautifully written and is so much more than just a great dystopian novel. It’s also a powerful exploration of the human condition and of loneliness. Laura’s prose is hauntingly lovely and the praise for her writing just keeps on coming. (‘The best young writer in America’ is my personal favourite.)

This is also a novel that leaves you with questions – it’s the first time ever that Emily, our assistant editor, and I have sat in my office having a mini – but in-depth – reading group about a book we’ve both loved. It’s also a book the whole Ebury Fiction team has fallen in love with – so much so that we crashed it into our schedules, bringing out the eBook 10 days after we bought the book and now we’re publishing the hardback. So if like me you loved The Handmaid’s Tale – or last year’s Station Eleven – then I’d urge you to read Find Me.' ~ Gillian Green, Publishing Director – Fiction, Ebury

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Ruth Carson-Byrne - 'A fantastic dystopian novel about an epidemic sweeping across America.  I can't recommend this book highly enough. Read it now!'
  • Sophia Ufton - 'Wow this book was really good. I've never enjoyed a book so much. Awesome!!'
  • Rachel Bridgeman - 'Beautiful, apocalyptic and spare. Not a word wasted.'
  • Cherrill Deans - 'A peek into a world outside my own experience; a world of despair, of dashed hopes, and betrayal.  Original, imaginative, deep and daunting.'
  • Riki Bill - 'An awesome début novel set in the modern world. The writer leaves me wanting a sequel to this book which is an adventure from beginning to end.'
  • Jane Pepler - 'A post-apocalyptic tale of a pandemic spreading across the United States.'
  • Teresa O'Halloran - 'This is a bleak book about a world where sickness has taken over and humanity faces an uncertain future.'
  • Laura Gardner - 'Beautifully written, entrancing characters and a vivid world but with an ending that was a little lacking.' 
  • Sue Broom - 'The title says it all.  This is a story of a lost and lonely girl seeking to discover her past and find a place for herself in the world.'
  • Danielle Holyland - 'The writing style is quite different to anything I’ve ever read before and the first page hooked me in. I found the concept gripping & I couldn’t put it down!'
  • Sarah Musk - 'An interesting debut novel with a terrifying sickness at its heart.  Joy, the main character is sad and isolated but is given a chance to find her lost mother by the breakdown in society.'
  • Janet Gilliard - 'This is a strange novel which I really had to struggle to finish. It is well written but not a story I enjoyed.'


Find Me by Laura van den Berg

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. Things other people will forget: where they come from, how old they are, the faces of the people they love. The right words for bowl and sunshine...What is a beginning and what is an end. Joy spends her days working the graveyard shift at a store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with silver blisters and memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. At once a hauntingly beautiful portrayal of a dystopian future and a powerful exploration of loneliness.

Browse inside this book


'A beautiful and compelling read' -- Ann Patchett

'One of the most freakishly talented young writers at work today' -- Karen Russell

About the Author

Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida. Her first collection of short 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 , received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Find Me is her first novel. She lives in the Boston area.

Author photo © Paul Yoon

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Book Info

Publication date

4th June 2015


Laura van den Berg

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Ebury Press an imprint of Ebury Publishing


288 pages


Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Science fiction



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