Monday, June 09, 2014

Review: The Body In The Woods by April Henry

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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.

Review: The Body In The Woods by April HenryThe 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
Buy on Amazon

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.


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21 Responses to “Review: The Body In The Woods by April Henry”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m sorry that this didn’t work for you, Jenni. It doesn’t sound like it was an impressive YA mystery novel, which I feel like most of novels are like anyways. 3rd person POV is also hard for me to digest for some reason, so I can understand why you were unable to connect on any level. I also hate it when the police department in these books act like idiotic. It’s just very annoying and unrealistic.
    It’s such a shame that not every YA mystery book can be like Dangerous Girls!
    Great review, Jenni.

    • Jenni

      Yeah, this one was just a hot mess. I can never connect with third person and I really wish I could. I can’t wait for Dangerous Boys!!

  2. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    Oooh, that’s too bad that this was a bit of a disappointment. I really love Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers series, and am always on the hunt for something similar. Clearly, this is not it.

    Thanks for the honest review.

    • Jenni

      I think any fan of I Hunt Killers would be gravely disappointed by this one.

      No problem, Quinn! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. Rashika

    I was really looking forward to this one because I really enjoyed The Night She Disappeared but I haven’t seen a lot of positive reviews for this one :/ I am sorry this didn’t work out for you Jenni 🙁

    It sounds really unbelievable too. I HATE bad detectives and it just doesn’t sound like a very believable mystery 🙁

    Lovely review, Jenni!

    • Jenni

      I really liked The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die, so I was really excited for this one too. Ugh yes, it’s always annoying when the cops are idiots.

      Thanks, Rashika!

  4. Michelle @ Book Briefs

    Awh, it’s a shame that this one didn’t work for you. It sounds interesting, but the complete lack of logic would bother me too. Plus, I don’t enjoy a mystery when I don’t have to work at it at all. I want to ponder and be confused some!

    Great Review Jenni.

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    • Jenni

      Yes! That’s exactly what I want as well, Michelle. I like to at least be in the dark for a bit of it. Everything was so clear so early on with this one.

  5. Meredith

    I despise the existence of the third person perspective, because I feel like you lose out on a lot of precious details that would make the experience even better. Thank you for giving such an honest and thorough review!

  6. Pili

    Well, I wasn’t particularly drawn towards this book, but after reading your review… I’m gonna stay well away from it!
    I really cannot stand when books make the police absolutely inept to make the other characters shine…
    Thanks for your very honest review as always, Jenni!

  7. Bonnie

    YIKES. I’ve read a couple others by April Henry and have only found them to be mediocre. Why I keep trying is beyond me. I’m sure hoping this doesn’t show up in my mailbox now. Lol

  8. tonyalee

    Aww, I just read another review of this and loved it. SO MIXED NOW.

    That is really irritating about the police. It is one of my peeves too. Personally, I prefer mysteries in first person, so that may be an issue for me too.

  9. Michelle

    This cover looks really beautiful and intriguing and all, but when I read the summary, I wasn’t interested at all. Then finding out that you didn’t like it at all really is keeping me away from this book. Awesome review!