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So This Girl Walked Into the Woods

Jenny reviews a good suspense thriller in The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting.

So This Girl Walked Into the Woods

BOOK REPORT for The Body Finder (The Body Finder Book 1) by Kimberly Derting

BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Paranormal Activity
Bonus Factor: Suspense, Cliff Huxtable Award, Covertastic
Anti-Bonus Factor: Serial Killer
Relationship Status: My Date To Fall Fling

The Deal:

Violet has a problem. Her best friend since she was a little, Jay, is suddenly a BOY. He hasn't undergone a gender transformation or anything, it's just that during their 16th summer, he underwent a serious growth spurt, and Violet isn't the only girl in school to notice. Now she can't be around him without her heart speeding up and her body becoming VERY aware of his. But he's her BEST FRIEND. Can she possibly let him know that her feelings for him have changed? She tries to ignore her sweaty palms and opts NOT to give him googly eyes, because she'd rather keep him as a best friend than risk not having him in her life at all.

Oh yeah, and also, ever since she was a little girl, dead things have called to her. Mostly murdered dead things. Mostly animals, except that one time...

Only her family and Jay know her secret, and Jay has helped her through the years, as she found the dead bodies of forest animals, and gave them a proper burial, so they could rest. But when she discovers the body of a dead girl, and another girl goes missing, Violet's ability brings her closer than anyone else in the town to a serial killer. She is determined to help find him. Only thing is, she might end up as his next victim.

BFF Charm: Yay

I would love to be Violet's BFF. She doesn't really let her friends in, even though they're alright, but I think I could push past her carefully constructed walls. Then I would tell her to stop obsessing over Jay, and just tell him how she feels already. And I'd feel much safer walking in the woods if I knew she could sense the danger before we came upon it. However, it might be tough, because this girl would NOT want to go investigate exactly WHAT Violet was sensing! As soon as her spidey sense started tingling, I would do my best to high tail it outta there, and go find her cop uncle. From safely inside the house.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

It's obvious to the reader that Jay and Violet share their feelings for each other from the beginning, but it's fun to see how slow Violet actually is to realize the truth. I did get tired of Violet's obsessing, but feel that it was a realistic portrayal of newly discovered feelings. Jay is pretty swoony, and there's some Hotty McHot scenes later on.

You know how sometimes you like the boy in a book, and want him for yourself, and sometimes you just like him for the girl in the story? The way this story was written made me feel the latter for this one. Jay isn't a mysterious loner dude, he's the nice friend, who also happens to be a cutie. He's steadfast and single-minded, and I found that to be a nice change from the bad boys we find in so much YA.

Talky Talk: Paranormal Activity

Publishers, why do I still have a stack of fantasy books to read? I want more real-life stuff, dangit! This book was a welcome break, because Derting used the paranormal element as a device, instead of leaning on it to tell her story. There were a couple of plot moments where I thought it was maybe a little bit of a stretch, but for the most part, Derting crafted a suspenseful, believable thriller, that had my spine tingling throughout. And she did it with a rich, normal high school setting, balancing the mystery with days of curfews and shopping.

Bonus Factor: Suspense

I LOVE suspense! This book brought me back to the days in 10th grade, when I read nothing but Christopher Pike books, and then had trouble falling asleep. It's one of those books that's just in time for Halloween, when I want some thrills and chills along with my pumpkins and cider.

Bonus Factor: Cliff Huxtable Award

This award goes out to both Violet's dad AND her uncle. It was delightful to read of a close-knit family who were protective but not crushing. There were moments when I just wanted to sit in the car with Violet and her dad and hug both of them.

Bonus Factor: Covertastic

I know that authors don't get much, if any, say on what their covers look like, so this is for you, publishers: This is a nice cover. Thanks!

Anti-Bonus Factor: Serial Killer

This isn't an anti-bonus factor because I didn't like the plot device in the story. It's an anti-bonus factor because serial killers scare the bejezus out of me. Because that shizz is real. There were a few nights when I was reading this that I had to go downstairs, just to double-check that my door was locked. (And it WAS, and IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE, evil people).

Casting Call:

 

April Pearson as Violet

There are few actresses who have struck me as adorable and pitiful, frustrating and endearing. April is one of them.

 

Mitch Hewer as Jay

Why not continue to cull from the cast of Skins, you say? Why certainly! Mitch could be believable as a suddenly-hunky teenager, right?

Relationship Status: My Date to Fall Fling

I was reallly nervous about who I would take to Fall Fling. I mean, I needed a book that was (obvs.) cute, but who also had substance, and maybe a little bit of edge (since it's so close to Halloween, and all). I was so relieved when I picked this book up and it agreed to be my date. We had an awesome time-- who knew this book was such a good dancer? We skipped out on the dance early to go sit out under the moonlight and tell each other scary stories, and um, I'll admit, the book scared me a little. But then we started making out, and I totally wasn't scared anymore. I was a little late getting home, and had to sneak past my dad, who fell asleep on the sofa, but my date with this book was absolutely worth it.

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free book I received from Harper Teen. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Body Finder is available now.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
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