Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: The Body Finder

THE BODY FINDER (The Body Finder #1)
Kimberly Derting
Paranormal Young Adult
327 pages
Available Now

For as long as she can remember Violet has been able to to sense the dead. When she was little it was mostly small animals she was drawn to, picking up their fragile bodies and burying them in proper graves by her home, a gesture which always brought her a sense of peace. At the age of eight however, Violet found the body of a young girl buried in the woods, and it's a discovery that haunts her still.

Luckily for Violet, she has a family who doesn't think she's a freak, and a best friend who has been there for her regardless of her strange gift. Recently, however, something between her and Jay has changed. He's different, more grown up, and she is definitely attracted to him which is a complete and utter disaster since they're best friends.

If this new development weren't enough, Violet's ability to sense the dead is thrust to the forefront when she stumbles across another young girl's body in a lake. More girls end up going missing, and consequently more bodies are turning up, forcing Violet to join the search to help locate the young women as she takes it upon herself to help find the person who's destroying so many lives. Only Violet isn't the only one on the hunt, and it becomes glaringly apparent the killer has taken notice of her and will stop at nothing to add her to his macabre collection.

The Body Finder is a book that ceases to be merely an inanimate object lying innocently in our laps and becomes an entity that appears to be in possession of an extrasensory perception like its main character, transforming itself from simple ink and paper into a story that seems to know us on a personal level and draws us into its world like we're old friends. There's little opportunity to stay detached as we quickly get swept up in the nervous energy sparking like static electricity between Violet and Jay, and despite the not entirely original romantic scenario, we can't help but be involved, wanting desperately to spend a few moments in Jay's head to see if his emotions are as frayed and tangled as ours and Violet's. Then, while we're hopelessly consumed by the palpable tension, Ms. Derting flawlessly threads a mystery through the romance, creating a story with not just one layer but several, thereby more successfully holding our interest as we are forced to snap out of our passionate cocoon to try to find a killer.

Part of the appeal of The Body Finder is the developing romance between not just an average girl and the unbelievably good looking popular boy, but, far more interestingly, between longtime best friends, resulting in a relationship where the tension exists on multiple levels. Not only is there the physical awkwardness and hypersensitivity to any intentional or accidental contact, but there's the added anxiety that should the attraction be unrequited, the loss would be twofold: the potential romance and, more painfully, the friendship itself. Reading as the gestures, mannerisms, and quirks that used to be familiar and innocent to Violet transform into elements increasingly foreign and unexpected is an exquisite torture, one we have no desire to escape free of pain but rather wish to continue subjecting ourselves to, wearing the emotional markers of this complicated connection with the utmost pride.

The mystery element of this story is particularly well-done as Ms. Derting slices through the visceral thickness of our tension-filled haze and infects our growing euphoria with chilling reminders that there is more to this story than a teenage love connection. Interspersed are short chapters from the killer's perspective, his icy coolness a brutal slap in the face after the radiating warmth of Violet and Jay, and his cruelty and brutality is only further emphasized when it's so skillfully immersed in the sweetness and innocence of a budding passion. Perhaps the only drawback to a fascinating and suspenseful tale is the rather lackluster reveal of the murderer, the subtle intensity of the buildup leading us to expect a more shocking unveiling than the one we're given. That flaw aside, the combination of mystery and youthful affection is a successful one, leaving our hearts pounding in our chests and our stomachs in knots for a multitude of reasons.

The Body Finder
is fast-paced, seamlessly blending moments of nerve-wracking action with quiet moments between Violet and Jay that leave us embarrassingly weak in the knees when we attempt to stand and extricate ourselves from the story to return to real life. It also serves to stand on its own in a time when we are plagued with cliffhanger endings, making itself shine a little brighter in our eyes just for leaving us so completely satisfied.

Rating: 4/5


  1. ' quiet moments between Violet and Jay that leave us embarrassingly weak in the knees ...' SO TRUE. Jay <3 *sighs*

    The Body Finder is soooo good, i felt like couldn't stop reading it and stayed up way too late to finish it all in one sitting. Can't wait to read Desires of the Dead.

    Loved your review Jenny, as always.

  2. I love this book! I really enjoyed the friendship with Jay and Violet. So sweet :) Great review! It looks like we are on the same page. I posted my review today too!!

  3. Brilliant review! For me the Violet and Jay moments are why I loved it so much. And I agree it is such a refreshing change no cliffhanger :)

  4. The first sentence of your review convinced me that I need to get my hands on the books ASAP. Thanks for the fantastic review! :)

  5. There is no doubt that the relationship in this book had a lot to do with my love of the book, but I was also very impressed with the format of the book and the fact that Derting offered something very unique in her plot an Violet's ability. Terrific review.

  6. Amazing review, I agree with you on everything. I loved this one and I'm so glad you enjoyed it too. =)

  7. For some reason, I keep avoiding reading this book. I guess it's the hype...I don't want it to NOT live up, you know? I think, after your review though, it might just live up. Fabulous thoughts!

  8. Great review. I loved hearing from the killer. I thought it was the most interesting part of this book. I was not a fan of Jay though. I don't know why since he's a good guy and I love the idea of friends becoming something more. But for some reason he just bugged me.

  9. I have so much love for this book (Melissa, read it. NOW!! :)

    I loved what you said about Jay and Vi's relationship, Jenny. It's a little bit different from what's usually featured in YA, and I thought it added a real substance to the book. I could talk about Jay for days. lol!

    I'm so excited to read Desires. That one just landed in my mailbox last Friday.

  10. I can't wait to read this one !! It has been in my pile for a long time now and I've only heard positive things about it !! I so have to start reading this one .. =)

  11. What an awesome review...and a love story (with scary stuff) that involves one girl and one guy who would of thought!!!

    Ive had this on my shelf for ages..I need to break down and read it

  12. I loved this book! Great review!
    I've been trying to get my hands on the second one.

  13. Ooh yes, I totally agree with you. I love all the layers to the story, and I'm totally in love with Violet/Jay. I also definitely appreciated that even though there is a sequel and that more books are coming out in the series, that the book can be a stand-alone. I so, so appreciate that. Lovely review, as always!

  14. Jessica - I was quite a big fan of him:) I want a best friend/boyfriend like that!

    Savy - I find we are often on the same page, can't wait to check out your review!

    Nic - I loved Violet and Jay, their awkwardness was just too adorable:)

    Misha - I think you'll like it, it was a very quick, fun read!

    Jan - I agree, I really liked the chapters from the murderer's perspective, it kept things very interesting!

    Cynthia - Thanks! I was impressed with this one:)

    Melissa - I held off on it for a while too for that same reason, but I tried to just read it without thinking about how much everyone loved and it and ended up really enjoying it:)

    Alison - Sometimes that happens to me, a character just doesn't work. Maybe you'll like him more in book 2?

    Leanna - I just finished that one! Can't wait for your thoughts on it:)

    Elodie - I hope you like it as much as I did:)

    Tina - Right? I was like "where's the other guy? Shouldn't there be another guy? This is a YA book after all:)"

    Chic - Thank you, I did too:)

    Ashley - I agree, I loved that I could have left the story where it ends in this one and been happy without picking up the next book:)

  15. I loved no cliffhanger! And I loved Violet and Jay! Great review!

  16. Ah, as always, another lovely review :)

    I really liked how we got two stories for the price of one here: A sweet romance that captured my heart and an edge of your seat mystery. I have such high hopes for Desires of the Dead.

  17. I adore the cover on this one - blue is my favorite color. This review is beautiful, Jenny. I love that we have this scary element juxtaposing with youthful romance - can't wait to read it!

  18. I never really got into the mystery, but I agree, the changing relationship between Jay and Violet was wonderfully done.

  19. Jacinda - Me too!

    Small - Thank you:) I liked the dual nature of it as well, we got both romance and mystery with just enough focus on each to make them balance well together.

    Linds - Mine too:) I hope you get to read it soon, I want to read your thoughts!

    Jennifer - Loved Jay and Violet:)

  20. Glad you liked The Body Finder. It was a fun idea for a YA book. Have a great week!

  21. Brilliant review! I soo badly want to read this, but there's too many books and so little time! I loved your ideas on the relationship; there's way too many normal girl gorgeous boy romances going on, and a love between best friends sounds new and interesting.
    Thanks! Wake Unto Me looks absolutely incredible! They look so brilliant, and I really, really have to get them soon, and this one too! Thanks for the comment and brilliant review!

  22. woo hoo glad you enjoyed this one! I've been meaning to read it for awhile now. B&N had the ebook available for $1.99 so now I've got it! Yay! I LOVE the friends to "lovers" storyline! It's my fav!

  23. Samantha - I agree!

    BookAddicted - Thank you:) The friends to lovers relationship was what really worked for me in this one, it was so fun to read!

    Mollie - I think you'll like it, especially since your a fan of the this type of relationship:)

  24. Oh I just can't wait to get chance to read this book. I've had it on my Kindle for ages too.

  25. I am loving Violet and Jay more and have to read the second book :)

  26. I keep hearing nothing but great reviews for this book, including yours. I guess that means I just HAVE to get it for myself ;)


  27. Oh, loved your review. I've got this on my reading pile but somehow I've had to keep on pushing it back. Everyone has been mentioning the fantastic relationship development between Jay and Violet,so I'm really going to have to sit down and get to know these characters very soon. Also highly intrigued by the fact that there are chapters written from the killer's pov. Now there's something you don't come across in every book. Can't wait to read this one! Fantastically written review as always Jenny! You always make me want ot drop the book I'm reading to pick up the book you've just finished! :D

  28. I completely agree with your review, Jenny. I loved the budding romance between Violet and Jay too. I also thought her ability was super creepy. I wouldn't want that as my ability. *Shudders* I also liked how the author gave us the killer's perspective too in order to keep the pacing and mystery going.

  29. Slowest - I hope you get to it soon, it's good:)

    Jenny - I just finished it and loved it:) I wish Violet would quit wandering around alone in the dark, but I love her and Jay:)

    Tammy - Thank you Tammy, your comment made my day:) I just love the friendship aspect of their relationship, it makes everything seem more realistic and believable and things progress at a slower pace than with the instant lust:)

    Rummanah - I definitely wouldn't want that as an ability either, I don't think I would ever get used to it:)

  30. Kelsa - I hope you do get it, I'd love to hear your reaction:)

  31. I enjoyed this book, too. I like the developing romance between Violet and Jay. I thought it was interesting to be in Violet's head when she starts to have deeper feelings for Jay.

    Like you, I felt the unveiling of the murderer wasn't as shocking as I thought. But I think it's a great mystery. I'm looking forward to the second book.

  32. Ooh, I'm so glad! I'm planning on reading this one this year, and I've heard nothing but good, so I'm totally excited to read it. Great review! ;D

  33. *dances* I have this one! Woo! Woo!


    So glad you liked this one. I need to get to it soon. Oh and loved that it has a satisfying ending! *ahhh*

  34. Okay, I lost all sense of what this books is about and got locked into that description of the romance. Wow! It's like the only thing my mind whats to care about. Bring on the friends with bennies. LOL (bad joke)

    I have this book! I must make plans to read it soon. Thanks Jenny.

  35. We had pretty much identical thoughts on this one! While I absolutely loved the story I was a bit let down with the reveal of the murderer. i can't wait to read Desires of the Dead - ridiculously awesome review Jenny!

  36. Julie - Exactly, loved the romance, loved the chapters with the murderer, but wasn't overwhelmed by the big reveal.

    Liz - Hope you love it!

    Melissa - Yay! Can't wait to see what kind of evil laugh you might be able to come up with for this one when you do a review (if you're doing one):)

    Missie - I enjoy the friends with benefits situation, it works in this book:)

    Tara - It's because we are both awesome. That is all;)

  37. Wow, the fact that the romance in this one is between two longtime best friends is a real draw for me to read it! How refreshing! Also love: well done mysteries!

  38. Great review Jenny! I am glad that you liked it (even though, you know, you didn't give it the 5 stars that it deserved)... HA! ;)

  39. I have this on my Nook and I can't wait to start it! I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it :)

  40. Yay, I'm glad you loved this one too. I loved the relationship that Jay and Violet have and how well-developed the romance was.

  41. I would recommend The Body Finder to readers of paranormal romance, young adult, mysteries, and suspense thrillers. Though the romance of The Body Finder is filled with the innocence and discovery of young adulthood I believe it is enjoyable for readers of all ages.