Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

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 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 dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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.

I’ve been hearing mixed reactions to this book. Some love it, and some say it has too many faults. I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with both...

I really liked this story. The overall pacing is break-neck, the romantic tension is palpable, and the creepiness injected by the serial killer kept me on the edge of my seat. It had its issues, though. Most of the things I loved also had a flip-side, such as getting trapped in too many mundane details. So I’m going to break down what I loved about the story, and what I thought could have been done better.

--I loved how strong Violet is in many scenes, refusing to be ordered around by her love interest and standing up to him with as much determination as he shows her. I wish there were more female characters with her gumption. I also found it refreshing that she came from a good and loving family, rather than one with lots of dysfunctional problems. Those families have their places, as do loving ones.
--Many of the characters are hilarious with their bantering, and the solid friendships were refreshing. I also appreciated that the cattiness was kept to a minimum, and that Violet’s friends were quick to stand up for her. But also that she could stand up for herself.
--The snippets from the killer had just the right amount of creepiness, as well as lack of clues as to who he could be. That kept me glued to the pages because I wanted to find out who he was. I also loved the twist introduced about two-thirds of the way through.
--After Violet and Jay become a couple, the romantic tension between the two is tangible. Their make-out sessions leave the reader needing a cold shower (just like Jay and Violet do).

--The parents were not as present as they needed to be, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the sake of the story took priority over what real parents would do in this kind of situation. Yes, later on, Violet’s comings and goings are restricted, but that’s prompted by extreme circumstance. If my child was the potential target of a killer, you bet I’d be around ALL THE TIME, and I would know exactly where she was and what she was doing. I could not leave her life up to chance.
--While there was a lot of dialog that made me laugh out loud, which also made me like the secondary characters a lot, there wasn’t much else regarding those characters. I would have liked to see more of them so I could see more of Violet’s relationship with them. They are obviously good friends, but I never got a sense of how close they are because there were never any conversations that showed that. They seemed like they’d been friends for many years, but the friendships also had a superficial quality about it. As in, they were more on the surface rather than deep confiders in one another. I would have liked to see more depth here.
--After the twist regarding the killer, the ultimate conclusion was a bit predictable. And, as a result, the fact that Violet was left alone again and again seemed a bit too contrived. Also, it really bothered me that we never learned how the girls were killed. Were they strangled? Stabbed? Drowned? What happened to them before they died? This information says a lot about the killer (and it’s info the police would find out, and also release to the press), and would add much tension to the story.
--Before Violet and Jay become a couple, Violet’s pining is a bit too repetitive. I wish it had been clearer as to why Violet was fighting her attraction to Jay in the first place. It’s hinted that she’s afraid he’ll reject her, or that it’ll make their friendship weird, or that she just doesn’t believe he’s interested in her that way, but I wish that could have been clearer.

Still, this was an enjoyable read that I couldn’t put down, and ended up finishing in one sitting. If you can overlook the flip-sides to the things I loved, then this is definitely a book for you. If not, then you may not enjoy it as much.


Bookish in a Box said...

I wish it had been a little more specific, but this sounds like a good read. Can't wait to pick it up!

Tabitha said...

I really enjoyed this story. It has it flaws, but it kept me interested and I liked the characters. Definitely worth a try!

PhD Misdemeanours said...
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