Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly DertingThe Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder #1
Published by Harper Collins on 2010-03-16
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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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.

Thoughts: SLIGHTLY SPOILERY! This book started off so well. Derting had no qualms about showing violence and drinking and corpses – it was all slightly gruesome and ultra-realistic. I truly enjoyed the start. But once the annoying teen romance became disgustingly codependent and very unattractive, the flaws started to show.  And I’m afraid The Body Finder descended into the deep, dark pit of cliche and boredom.

It’s such a shame, because The Body Finder could have been fantastic. I loved the main idea of the novel – a girl with unpleasant superpowers uses her gift in for good! She has parents that understand and support her, a best friend who understands and supports her, and some he-said-she-said romance to look forward to. It could have been a great murder mystery, without any annoyingly-avoidable teen angst.

And it was that, for about 150 pages.

But The Body Finder had some issues I couldn’t overlook. Some pretty serious ones. As soon as Violet starts dating her BFF-turned-love-of-her-life Jay (that can’t be a spoiler, right? even from the summary, you saw that one coming) he becomes almost parental. He starts meeting with her father to “discuss” her issues, while Violet’s sole focus in life becomes the friggin’ prom. Sure, the murders which dominated the first half of the book are important, but what-oh-what should she wear? Now let’s cuddle on the couch with Jay and consider what a nice guy he is.

My eyes were rolling so hard, something nearly broke.

Perhaps this annoying change in Violet and Jay could have been smoothed over by the excuse of first love and a fascinating mystery to focus on. Except, that murder mystery we’d all been enjoying? It also descends into the aforementioned dark pit of cliche. No motive for the villains – not even a slightly psychotic one. Hell, the villains are so generic, they aren’t even named! Literally, no names. “Oh, Violet, I’ll never forget the time you caught that murderer… He-who-was-never-named, was it?”

Oh, and we can add The Body Finder to the list of YA books that have sexual assault (not full-on rape, but non-consensual contact) go unpunished – in this case, actually forgiven by the main character.  Not cool.

Bottom line?  The Body Finder left a bad taste in my mouth.  Although the book started off really well, I won’t be continuing with the series.  However, Derting is a pretty decent writer and I could be coerced into reading something else by her… maybe.

Kay

Your ghost host at Dead Book Darling
Kay's been blogging about urban fantasy, young adult and werewolves since 2009. She's a firm believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes. To support her book-buying habit, Kay keeps up a day-job as a science journalist (so feel free to ask her about Physics).

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