I'd been looking forward to Find Me for months. Another case of an excellent cover, plus a promising blurb... I was sold. And, for the most part, I happily found that Romily Bernard's debut holds up to the expectations I had going into it. This is a rather strong debut, though one not without its faults. I raced through this in an afternoon, because Bernard's talent added to Wicket's pulse-racing story was not something I could set down and come back to later. It's an incredibly readable story; thoroughly entertaining with just the right dashes of creepy.
I liked what Bernard had to offer - the prose can lean a bit more to the "telling" than the "showing" of the standard writing rule, but this is a taut, often suspenseful read. From the first chapter, I was intrigued and the tension was palpable. The beginning is especially well done - the readers are plopped down into Wick's life and it's a maze of trying to figure what's really going on, and who to trust. The pace is breakneck and pages fly by with ease and alacrity as Wick begins unfolding the mystery around what happened to her former friend Tessa.
Wicket is a pretty good protagonist. On a scale of Bella Swan to Karou, she's definitely more on the Karou side. Meaning: she's rather well-fleshed out, she has a definite personality. and she doesn't let her growth come as a result of her love interest. She does make some mistakes and is imperfect, but I liked her and I liked how proactive she was as a main character. Her sister Lily is the main reason Wick gets through all the crap that has happened to her, but Lily remained a bit flat throughout the story. She is more important as a plot device than as a real person, and her characterization showed that.
Sadly, as much as I liked Wick and wanted good things for her, I really was left cold by the romance. It was unnecessary and it just didn't fit in well with the thriller/mystery vibe of the story. I found myself wanting to skim over the less plot-centric segments. I probably could have without missing anything essential, and that is Not Good. The love interest himself is not the problem --- it's the inclusion of any romance at all. Find Me is a perfectly engaging story of suspicion and suspense and the love storyline only subtracts from the better elements. Wick is plenty sufficient to carry the story, and the rest just reads and feels like filler.
Though the main events of Find Me are wrapped up pretty finally and neatly, though the author leaves a little wiggle room at the end. I didn't mind because there is plenty of resolution to be had for this particular plotline. It all feels resolved, and I wouldn't be averse to continuing a next book with Wicket pursuing a different antagonist. All in all, I was pretty satisfied with this young adult thriller and look forward to whatever Romily Bernard writes next.