The Body in the Woods
Author: April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Number of Pages: 263
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This was my second book by April Henry. I was underwhelmed by the first one I read (The Night She Disappeared), but decided to give the author another shot as YA mysteries is one of my favorite genres. Unfortunately, I was just as underwhelmed by this one, so I think this may be the point where I move on. The Body in the Woods isn't a bad book, necassarily, it's just a boring one. I never felt that edge-of-your-seat feeling that murder mysteries usually give you, and I never connected--or cared--about any of the three main characters.
The Body in the Woods is the first book in a series of mysteries (although it is itself a complete story) about teens in Portland, OR who work for Search & Rescue. The book follows three teens: Alexis, Nick, and Ruby. The three are on their first mission/job--looking for a missing person in a large park--when they stumble across the body of a dead girl. This leads, of course it does, to the three searching for the killer themselves all the while suspecting that this might not be his first kill...or his last.
There were a few things I didn't love about this. The biggest, again, was my absolute lack of caring about any of the characters. Each is super quirky in their own way. Ruby seems to have Asperger's Syndrome although I don't believe it is ever outright stated. Regardless, she shows some pretty classic characteristics, such as not liking to make eye contact and getting obsessed with certain things. She's obviously incredibly bright. She's, you know, way smarter than seasoned detectives. Alexis is dealing with a mother who is bi-polar and off her meds. Her home life is sad and maybe just a tad unrealistic. Nick wants to be like his army hero father who he never really knew. He is girl-crazy and a bit skittish which is obviously not want you want in a hero. The story is told in 3rd person and switches between our three characters often and quickly. It also occasionally gives us glimpses of the killer. It's my opinion that 1st person would have been the better choice. I think I would have felt more connected with each character if I was seeing the action from their perspective.
The mystery itself was fairly obvious. There were only a few suspects, and it wasn't hard for me to suss out whodunit almost immediately. This lead to an almost apathy on my part, but since the book was a fairly quick and easy read, I decided to push on to the end.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed in this one. Again, I love a good mystery, but found this one to be a bit lacking and, well, boring. I was definitely happy that this book was a complete story as I don't believe I will continue on with this series. YA mysteries are having a moment, so thankfully there are quite a few choices available for me to get my mystery fix.
*I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.*