Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen #1) by April Henry - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group/Henry Holt & Co (BYR) on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen #1)
Author: April Henry
Publication Date: June 17, 2014

My Pre-Reading

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


Review: I've never really read a book about a search and rescue group. Not that they don't interest me... I just think they're underrepresented in a lot of contemporary YA fiction. So I was pretty excited when I came across this book that dealt with a search and rescue team! Plus some mystery, secrets, and an investigation? Count me in!

The plot and the story itself definitely held my attention. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen next, and I spent most of the book trying to figure out "whodunnit" on my own. There were times when I thought I had it figured out only to be proven wrong, and even a couple of times when I actually did have it figured out but somehow managed to convince myself otherwise. The mystery part is very well written, and it was really interesting to see snippets from the killer's point of view.

I didn't, however, really connect with any of the three main characters. Nick's chapters are very bland and he's always just trying to prove himself to his brother or his mom. I mean, I guess I can understand why, but you'd think after so many years he'd be over that. And I think there was a little bit of a crush on Alexis going on there, but that's not really developed at all either so I wasn't upset with how that worked out. Alexis has to deal with a mentally ill mother, but we're never really told HOW she deals with it, besides worrying all the time. So I missed a connection there as well. And the romance in her section feels so unnecessary. 

Ruby was the only character who I thought was actually really interesting. She's different, and she has certain obsessions, but she's very focused once she gets her mind set on something. I thought it was neat to follow along with her thought process and to find out what she remembered about...well, everything. Every time the detective blew her off, I felt her aggravation. I sympathized the most with her, and I almost wish there were more chapters from her perspective. 

I think this book is well written as far as the plot and the content goes (there was definitely a lot of research into how search and rescue teams do their job!), but it fell short for me when it came to the characters. I think maybe a younger crowd would enjoy this book more - it's not too gory or anything, and is pretty informative, but I'm not sure that the older YA readers would enjoy this as much. I'd recommend it if you like mysteries and are looking for something a little bit different though! 3/5.


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