Friday, May 7, 2010

The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Teen, 2010 (Hardcover)
Length: 327 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy, Mystery
Started: May 6, 2010
Finished: May 7, 2010

From the author's website:
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.

Another pick from the Harper Collins preview night. Just as I'm a sucker for dystopian fiction, I can't turn down a really good mystery either, so when I heard about this book I knew I had to give it a try. This is a combination romance and murder mystery with some supernatural thrown in. Violet has the ability to sense bodies that died from unnatural causes, she can also match up an echo that a dead body gives off to the imprint on the person that killed them. When girls start disappearing and she stumbles upon the first of the bodies, she decides to plant herself at key locations to try to identify the killer by the imprint he'll give off. While all this is going on, Violet is trying to deal with her changing feelings towards her childhood friend, Jay. The romance in this novel is so incredibly sweet, it perfectly captures the early stages of a relationship when you're not really sure you're in a relationship yet but you know you want to be but haven't broached the subject with the other person yet. The author conveys these emotions so well, I almost felt like I was reliving the early days when I first met my husband, just in a different setting. Jay and Violet are very real characters, I felt that they could be any of the kids I teach on a daily basis. Jay is very protective of Violet, but in a sweet and not controlling way, he just made my heart melt, he's such a sweetie. I love Violet's down-to-earth personality despite her weird ability, and the fact that she's described as having curly hair doesn't hurt either (I have a fondness for characters that look like me).

The writing is well done, but I feel that the mystery element wasn't very well developed. Granted, the odd chapters told from the point of view of the killer are downright chilling, but this feels like a romance novel disguised as a mystery. The mystery part of the plot is concluded too abruptly and doesn't really hit it's peak until almost the end of the novel, most of the book focuses on the romance with Jay and Violet, with the mystery essentially forcing their feelings out in the open. I'm not complaining though, I love the romance in this book, I read through it so quickly because I was captivated by it, but don't pick this up expecting a mystery with a dash of romance sub-plot, this is more like a "would you like some add-on plot with your romance?" This is the first in a series and I'm interested in seeing where things go in future books, so I'll definitely be picking up the subsequent installments.

If you're looking for a really sweet romance with some intense, heart-pounding, predator versus prey thriller-type stuff, read this!

Thoughts on the cover:
Meh, I'm not nuts about it. I think it would have been cooler if there had been an outline of a girl lying in the fetal position in the centre of the flower to highlight that aspect and to echo the title.

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