Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Body in the Woods (ARC Review)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:30 AM with 7 comments


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.

Cannot Recommend

*I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.*


  1. I'm sorry you didn't like the book! I have a really hard time liking or recommending a book when I have no investment in the characters. I think I read one other April Henry book before, and thought it was okay but it didn't blow me away. So perhaps we have similar tastes. I found the same thing. I was hoping to like this one because the synopsis sounds good, but maybe I'll get it out of the library another day. Thanks for the review! :)

  2. Ugh, I was really looking forward this one, murder and mysteries are my favourite too. I haven't read her previous either, which now I'm glad I haven't... It's supposed to have that atmosphere, right? So if it hasn't, what's the point? I mean, most of them lately are predictable, but still have that creepy intense feeling about it, so shame. :( And come on, I'd heard about the lax detectives, because that's realistic. Again though, you even have a perspective from the killer, where's the intenseness? The creepiness? You disappoint me book.

  3. For some reason, the cover make me kinda giggle. It might be the intense eye shadow, haha. That's too bad you didn't connect to any of the characters, that can definitely kill a book for me. The premise seemed so promising! How unfortunate it didn't deliver.
    Thanks for the review Natalie!

  4. Interesting review. I felt the same way about Henry's first book and I've been wondering if this one is worth the read or not. Sounds like maybe not.

  5. Too bad you didn't like this one. I haven't read this author, but it sounds like I'm not missing much. :) Thanks for the honest review! ~Pam

  6. I really love mysteries, but this one doesn't sound like something I would love. :( Thanks for the heads up, Natalie! :D

  7. A friend gave me her extra copy, but I'm not really sure why I accepted it since it doesn't really sound like my kinda read to begin with. And then all of the disappointing reviews for it have made it so I'm even less likely to read it. I have too much to read to waste my time on a boring mystery. :(


Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!