Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting ★★★★

The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Body Finder #1
Publication Date: March 16, 2010
ISBN: 9780061779817
Page Count: 327 Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: Audiobook

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

REVIEW

A YA Paranormal without some of the usual pitfalls.

This is a rather sweet, romantic tale with some healthy doses of creepy thrown in for good measure. I'd say the romance aspect got equal page time to the murder mystery, but as romances go, it was rather endearing. The main characters, Violet and Jay, have known each other since early childhood. They've been through it all together; even tried a kiss or two and done the whole "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" thing, which they quickly concluded were both disgusting and moved swiftly on to just being friends forever. Until this summer. Something suddenly seems different about Jay; he's no longer this sexless, gender neutral BFF that she's known since forever. He's..like... a boy and stuff! Who knew?

I thought the writing was good. It's presented in third person, predominantly from Violet's POV, but with some quick glimpses from the killer's mind. I liked the premise, the idea that Violet can somehow sense the dead if they have been murdered or killed recently. She either gets a visual or audio signal that draws her to the body, the pull to uncover what's buried is often so strong she doesn't even realise she's followed something until she's right on top of it. That's about the extent of the supernatural aspect, however. The rest of the world is as normal as it ever is, so in terms of magical woo-woo stuff, it's quite plain.

I definitely enjoyed the romance between Violet and Jay, although it didn't exactly blow my mind. It was just cute. I liked that they had such a long history together. Usually I don't like it if my main couple have known each other before-- most especially I don't like reading about ex-couples getting back together-- but this was different. They know each other so well and are so comfortable around each other, that when Violet starts to realise her feelings towards Jay are changing, she's concerned that this could ruin their friendship if he doesn't feel the same way and she has to watch him swan around with other girls.

I liked some of the creepy scenes. If it were and adult book I would have wished for more of that, but for a YA I think the balance was good. It was made clear that this guy was a predator of young girls--with some nice cautionary advice thrown in about keeping your phone with you and staying in groups--but without ever becoming too disturbing for younger readers. I'd say 16+ would be okay.

I would have loved a few more adrenaline pumping scenes, and possibly a bit more heartache (love a bit of drama, I do) because the overall feel of the novel was quite gentle and sedate.

I do recommend this book to anyone aged 16 and up. There are no annoying love triangles, the main characters are quite mature and  the high school antics side of things was low, so adults shouldn't find too much to complain about. So go check it out!

P.S. Eileen Stevens is the audio narrator and she's wonderful. One of my favourite readers.

4 Stars ★★★★

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