The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. Grades 9+. HarperTeen, March 2010. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
Violet was eight when she found the first body, buried in the woods behind her house. That's when she discovered the power that she has - a sixth sense that alerts her to the presence of people (and animals) who have been murdered. Now Violet's in high school and the only imprints she senses are the occasional small animal. She's got other things to deal with. Namely, a gigantic crush on her best friend Jay. He's grown up recently and become sexy and Violet's not at all sure what to do about her new feelings for him.
But when bodies start popping up in her small town, Violet will rely on Jay as she tries to find the killer... before it's too late.
Here's what I love about The Body Finder:
1. It starts off so strongly with the tension! I didn't want to put it down at first. You get snippets of the serial killer's perspective, just enough to be really super creepy.
2. The sexual tension between Violet and Jay pretty much sizzles off the page. Remember that crush you had where every moment you spent with the other person was pure torture, but you couldn't get enough? Yeah. Kimberly Derting gets it right. Plus, it's hot without being graphic at all.
3. The whole concept is cool and I really like the way that Derting has developed Violet's sixth sense. She gets an "imprint" from a body and it can come in the form of a sound or a color or a taste or a feeling... something only she can sense. Each body's is different and the killer has a bit of the same imprint. The supernatural elements fit very organically into the story.
Now, there were some things I didn't like quite so much. The tension that starts off so strongly kind of evaporated after the first two-thirds or so of the book. No spoilers, but there is a twist that happens a little too early (with obviously too many pages to go, so you know something else is coming). And I thought that the writing could have been a little tighter in places.
That said, the book gets a big heart from me because I really enjoyed it, despite its shortcomings. I will definitely be looking for more from Kimberly Derting. I would try this on fans of Wake and Fade by Lisa McMann (of which I am a huge fan) because it's got a similar tone and a similar mix of crime investigation and romance.
Read more at That Teen Can Blog! and Simply Nerdy Book Reviews.
And check out this book trailer:
The Body Finder is due on shelves March 16!
PS: I read this one in 2009, so it doesn't count for me, but this is a debut if you're reading for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge!