I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Point Last Seen #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 17, 2014
Source: the publisher
In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.
Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.
This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.
A message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have Kaitlyn Johnson here with a guest review for The Body in the Woods by April Henry.
Without further adieu, here’s Kaitlyn’s review! Enjoy!
The Body in the Woods has one thing going for it: it does make you feel invested in learning the truth. You want to keep reading; if for nothing more than to make sure the characters don’t come to bad ends, it keeps you going. Though it was extremely hard to figure out exactly who had the role of Main Character (SPOILER: All 3 technically are, which felt just a tad annoying at the end), Henry at least allows the reader to care about each one in their own capacity.
Where the book stumbled in execution was actually delivering on the suspense aspect of a YA thriller. Henry attempted to convey this by dropping random chapters here and there from the killer’s POV, but that just led to more distaste since the book is already segmented into random chapters by the three high schoolers. Those “culprit” chapters gave more away than really adding to the story itself. The identity of the killer was also hinted at far too early, yet again mishandling what could have been an intense, suspenseful thriller.
I did enjoy the fact the author did not get lost in the “life” of a high school character. Too often, word counts are heightened meaninglessly by suffocating scenes of the high schooler wandering around through their weekly classes. Henry found a great way to stick to the action of this book rather than get bogged down with unnecessary scenes. High school wasn’t the heart of the story, so she didn’t try to make it that.
Unfortunately, I rate this book at a 3.5 out of 5 rather than a 4, mainly due to the lack of true suspense and the abundance of errors within the text which I am praying were fixed in the finalized version. I enjoyed the read; it was ok. Nothing spectacular or memorable, but I could get through the pages and not hate it. However, especially since I am a HUGE stickler for correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation in published works, I really hope this ARC does not reflect the quality of the final copies. Also, I didn’t know where the setting was for the longest time. Yes, Portland. Does Henry understand there are two Portland locations? I assumed Oregon when I read the author’s bio (surprise, Henry lives in Oregon), but only knew for sure in the story itself when the Oregonian newspaper is mentioned on page 107.
All in all, it was an ok read, but not one that impacted me or that I’ll ever want to attempt again.