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Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder
by Kimberly Derting

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Release Date: March 16, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Library Check-Out
Rating: Perfect Bed Partner
About the Book:
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.
Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of sounds weaving delicately around her...

The story kicks off right away, with a riveting opening chapter in which eight-year-old Violet stumbles on something, or should I say someone horrifying on what was supposed to be an innocent walk through the woods. This part was especially chilling for me because I kept visualizing this little girl with pigtails stumbling on this bloodcurdling scene. Derting hooked me as soon as I was done with that prologue.

Violet Ambrose has a unique skill -- a grim power in uncovering the dead. This, to me, was especially intriguing because yeah, there are the typical psychics, but never a girl with the ability to sense the murdered dead through strange echoes that emanate from the corpses. I got goosebumps every time she heard an eerie ring or saw bright flashing lights. Typically Violet only unearths small dead animals, but like when she was a child, The Body Finder really gears into action when teenage girls near and from her small town begin disappearing and their bodies start calling to Violet.

Violet is the kind of girl I'd want to take on shopping trips, jog with, and to drive me home when I'm intoxicated. I'd extend her a glittery invitation into my life anytime, because she would be good friend to have on my side. Violet equals caring, tough, and real. Unlike most FMCs, Violet has key traits that I desire in my MCs, the top of the list being tolerable, likable. She makes mistakes, falls into the perpetual angst lurking in teenagers, but, at the same time, I found her to be pretty amazing. Despite her initial struggle with the idea of a killer on the loose and the consequences that could ensue if she were to find the murderer hiding in the shadows of the town, she makes the decision to track him down, because, she realizes, she's the only one who can. That's courage. She likes her friends for who they are, puts up with insecure bullies, and just has this innate goodness that lured me further into the story.

And overlying all of this - the disappearances, the mysterious serial killer - Violet is struggling with her rising feelings for her long-time childhood best friend, Jay Heaton. I don't think I recall ever liking a Best Friend romance more. These two have such a good chemistry, a fabulous friendship between them that when the sparks start flying I was waving my pom-poms very enthusiastically. There's jealousy, miscommunications, and misunderstandings. Evil cheerleader bullies, hilarious best friends, and boy attacks in car-sittings. It seems like everyone but Violet has been aware of this connection she and Jay share up until this school year when Violet's romantic feelings finally surface. I got such a charge watching the friendship escalate into something... delectably intense.

Dreadful and disturbing were the chapters in between Violet's third-person point of view, in which Derting writes the shuddersome perspective of the serial killer/kidnapper himself. Homecoming, suspicious persons, and near-death experiences morph this book into a total and absolute page-turner! So why the lack of undying love that would result in a Special Shelf rating? While The Body Finder was a great and entertaining read, it missed that certain umph, that special something that burns the amazingness of it onto your mind, leaving it forever scarred by it's unbelievable awesomeness.

In the most totally inappropriate way you can imagine, PBP books are the books you want to do, they're so bloody brilliant... (My Rating System In-Depth)

[Grady] held his hand up in surrender. "Stop! Stop!"
Jay seemed to have a difficult time deciding. And then he leaned over, his fist balling up again, ready to strike, as he reached in and jerked Grady forward by the collar of his shirt. "Isn't that what Violet said to you, you jerk? Didn't she tell you to stop?"
Grady recoiled...
She watched as Jay let Grady fall back to the ground. Well, not fall exactly, it was more of a shove, releasing him and making him smack his head against the car as he collapsed backward.
But he wasn't quite finished with his warning to Grady, and he snarled at him from between gritted teeth, "If you ever... ever...touch her again, I swear to God, Grady, I'll fucking kill you. Do you hear me?"  (174-175)


Anonymous said...

My friend loves these books, and I can definitely see why. The Body Finder sounds creepy and completely awesome! From the sounds of it, Violet is a little like Chloe from Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers, or perhaps she just reminds me of her. Either way, she seems like a great protagonist. I love feeling like I could be friends with characters.


A. Knight said...

Ooo Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers is next on my hit list. As in next to be read. I'm hunting them down one by one.

And, oh yes, my friend, the best friend romance KILLS - hehe (in a good way, of course).

Krazzyme(Young Readers) said...

I want to read this one so badly but I've read a LOT of negative reviews of this one! It's nice to see that SOMEONE likes it :P

Krazyyme @ Young Readers

A. Knight said...

Krazy Me- Really? I didn't realize people didn't like this book as much. For me, it was dark and sexy and thrilling. You should give it a go, despite the negative stuff you read.

Here's another blogger review from someone who liked it just as much: click here.