I received this book for free from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Body In The Woods by April Henry
Series: Point Last Seen #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 17th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, YA
Source: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
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In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.
Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.
This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.
The Body In The Woods is a fast paced thriller that is able to pass off as enjoyable if you suspend logic and just go along for the ride. But, when you sit down and really think about the details there is so much that is unbelievable that I can’t really recommend it to fellow readers.
In this novel we get the three main perspectives of Ruby, Alexis and Nick but we also get a few random chapters that are told from the ominous perspective of the killer himself. As far as the 3 kids go, I can’t say that I connected with any of them in any way. This is in part due to the fact that the story is told in the third person (which always leaves me feeling like an outsider looking in) and also because I felt like the details we get of their private life were just ploys to try make us care about them but ones the never managed to do so. Alexis’ mother is suffering from what seems to be bi-polar disorder and even goes missing for a stretch of days but I felt like these details were just there to be there and didn’t add to the story in any way. Nick was always mentioning how his father had died in Iraq and that was the reason he joined Search and Rescue, he wanted to do something that would have made his dad proud. I mean these private life details were obviously there to flesh out our main characters and get us to understand their motivation but it just felt like stuff that we were told here & there and nothing more than that. I would even go so far as to say that it felt as if the personal bits were thrown in afterward when the author went back through and felt that she needed to make the characters people that readers could connect with. Ruby was the only one that I felt like I somewhat understood. She was socially awkward and really struggled with fitting in. I do think that if the whole story had been more about her that I would have become much more invested. Seeing the bits from the killer’s eyes was interesting and felt very reminiscent of Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers (though this novel was not even in the same ballpark as Lyga’s thriller.)
What really irritated me in the novel is the complete lack of logic that went into trying to make it work. The detective working the case of the missing girls was such an idiot, which always irritates me in these novels. 3 teens who haven’t even finished school but had one amongst them who did a lot of googling and watching true crime were much more competent than the police department in this area. The red herring that gets arrested in the first place made no sense at all. They find out that this guy was growing weed in the middle of the park where the body was found and fabricate a story where the dead girl had stumbled upon the grow op and was then murdered for it. There was no evidence at all connecting him to the murder, just the fact that the 3 kids had seen him leaving the park on the afternoon that the body was found. I don’t believe for one hot minute that this man would have been arrested and put away for the murder when there was zero evidence/DNA linking him to the crime.
Bad red herring out the of way, spotting the killer was something that I was able to do the moment that they met him. Piecing together the fragments of this mystery was not challenging at all and reading through the story just felt like I was waiting for every character to finally catch up with me. While I did breeze through this one, I can’t say that it was a remarkable experience at all and this won’t be a book that I recommend any time soon, or ever.
1 Cold Espresso