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 killerbefore he can strike one of their own.
This first book in April Henry's Point Last Seen YA mystery series, The Body in the Woods is full of riveting suspense, putting readers right in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.
This title has Common Core connections.
About the Author
April Henry is the New York Times–bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels Girl, Stolen; The Night She Disappeared; and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die; and the thriller Face of Betrayal, coauthored with Lis Wiehl. April lives in Oregon.
Read an Excerpt
The Body in the Woods
Point Last Seen
By April Henry
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2014 April Henry
All rights reserved.
For Alexis Frost, Nick Walker, and Ruby McClure, it all started with a phone call and two texts. It ended with fear and courage, love and loathing, screaming and blood. Lots of blood.
* * *
When the classroom phone rang in American history, Alexis Frost straightened up and blinked, trying to will herself awake as the teacher answered it. She managed to yawn without opening her mouth, the cords stretching tight in her neck. Last night had been another hard one.
"Alexis?" Mrs. Fairchild turned toward her.
"Yes?" Her heart sped up. What was it this time? The possibilities were endless. None of them good.
"Could you come up here, please?"
Mrs. Fairchild was looking at Alexis as if she was seeing her in a new light. Had it finally happened, then, the thing she both feared and longed for? Had something happened to her mother?
* * *
Nick Walker's thumbs were poised over the virtual keyboard of the phone he held on his lap. He was pretending to listen to Mr. Dill, his English teacher, while he was really texting Sasha Madigan, trying this angle and that to persuade her to study with him tonight. Which he hoped would mean lots of copying (on his part) and lots of kissing (on both their parts).
The phone vibrated in his hand. Mr. Dill was busy writing on the board, so Nick lifted it a little closer to his face. It wasn't a reply from Sasha but a message from his Portland Search and Rescue team leader.
Search in Forest Park. Missing man. Meet time 1500.
His first SAR call-out! He jumped to his feet.
"Nick?" Mr. Dill turned and looked at him over the top of his glasses. "What is it?" Mr. Dill had a lot of rules. He had already complained about Nick's habit of drawing — only Mr. Dill called it doodling — in class.
Nick held up his phone while pointing at it with his other hand as if he had been hired to demonstrate it. "I'm with Portland Search and Rescue, and we've been mobilized to find a man missing in Forest Park. I have to leave now."
"Um, okay," Mr. Dill said uncertainly. Someone in Wilson High's administration had had to sign off on Nick being allowed to join searches during the school day, but maybe the information hadn't filtered down to his teachers.
No matter. Nick was already out the door.
He just hoped someone from class would tell Sasha. A text wouldn't do it justice.
Nick Walker, called out on a lifesaving mission.
* * *
Ruby McClure felt her phone buzz in her jeans pocket. She waited until the end of chemistry to check it.
Fifteen hundred made so much more sense than three P.M. Ruby preferred military time. No questions about whether "nine" meant morning or night. No having to rely on context. No one getting hung up on whether 1200 had an A.M. or a P.M. after it, which was a ridiculous idea because A.M. meant "ante meridiem" and P.M. meant "post meridiem" and meridiem was Latin for "midday," and twelve noon was midday itself.
It was 1357 now. Which meant she had an hour to get home, change into hiking clothes, pick up her SAR backpack, and meet the rest of the team at the Portland sheriff's office.
Piece of cake.
Ruby pulled out the keys to her car as she walked to the office to sign herself out. On the way, her phone buzzed again. It was Nick, asking for a ride.CHAPTER 2
A BUNCH OF TEENAGERS
The Portland County Sheriff's Office had called out all teams to search for the missing man. Of the twenty teens on Team Alpha, twelve had responded. Now they climbed out of the fifteen-passenger van driven by Jon Partridge, one of the adult advisers, and into a parking lot next to Forest Park. Team Bravo, along with the sheriff's deputy assigned to this search, were in a second van and would take the other end of the huge park. With the exception of the deputy, everyone was a volunteer.
The last one out of the van, Alexis was surreptitiously trying to eat a granola bar from her backpack's emergency rations. Today was looking like it might qualify as an emergency. Not because of this search, but because of how the apartment had looked when she stopped to grab her gear. By the time Alexis had gotten off the city bus at the sheriff's office, the van had been idling outside. She had been the last to board.
Mitchell Wiggins clapped his hands. "Listen up, people!" Mitchell was an Eagle Scout who wanted to be a cop. Even though he had been elected team leader only a few days ago, it was clearly a natural fit. He seemed born to wear some kind of uniform. His yellow SAR climbing helmet — the yellow marked him as the leader, while the rest of the team wore red helmets — was already buckled into place. Now his pale, earnest face regarded each of them in turn. "Today we will be conducting a hasty search for a thirty-four-year-old white man named Bobby Balog."
This was it, then. The real deal. Alexis took a deep breath. Most of the other teens here were certifieds. They had completed the nine months of training and had been called out on dozens of searches. All Alexis and a few of the others had behind them were seven Wednesday-evening classes and two weekend training exercises. From class, she knew that a hasty search was just like it sounded, a quick search that stuck to the most obvious trails and routes. It was also quite possible that this would turn out to be what was known in SAR circles as "a bastard search," when you went looking for someone who was never really lost in the first place.
"Bobby is five foot eight and two hundred pounds," Mitchell continued. "He's wearing dark blue Nike shoes. The sole pattern is made up of squares about the size of keyboard keys." A few of the more experienced kids, who had training in tracking, nodded. "He's also wearing jeans, a gray sweater, and a navy blue windbreaker."
Alexis exchanged a look with Nick. She knew they were thinking the same thing. Not a single bright color. This wasn't going to be easy.
"And he's autistic," Mitchell added, putting the icing on the cake. "The PLS" — point last seen — "is his bedroom, which is a mile from here, but he loves Forest Park and has run away and hidden here before."
"How autistic?" Ruby asked. "That diagnosis covers a wide range of behaviors." She was standing right next to Alexis. Too close. As usual.
Alexis slid a half step sideways. She didn't want anyone thinking they were really friends. Most especially Ruby.
Mitchell was opening his mouth to answer when a silver Lexus sped into the lot. Before it was even at a complete stop, heels were clip-clopping toward them. Their owner was a woman with short, curly dark hair who wore a tailored long black wool coat. Smeared mascara rimmed her red, swollen eyes. Following more slowly in her wake was a silver-haired man dressed in dark slacks, a white shirt, and a black sweater vest. He was coatless, even though the temperature was only in the mid-forties.
"Wait a minute." The woman stopped short when she saw their faces. "You're Portland Search and Rescue?"
Mitchell pulled his skinny frame to its full six-foot-two height. "Yes, ma'am, we are."
"A bunch of teenagers?"
"Marla." The man laid his hand on her arm, but she shook it off.
Jon cleared his throat and stepped forward. He might be twenty-six, but Jon had been in SAR since he was fifteen. "Every person you see has volunteered to be here. Most of us have received hundreds of hours of training and conducted dozens of rescues. That's why the Portland County Sheriff's Office chooses us to search for people who are lost or injured." His steel-gray eyes never left the woman's face. "Now, we could keep talking about their experience level, or we could start searching for your son while there's still light."
Mrs. Balog blinked and closed her mouth.
Only Ruby was unfazed by this exchange. "Exactly how autistic is Bobby?"
It was Mr. Balog who answered. "He doesn't have any physical handicaps or other medical conditions. He's a fast walker and not much of a talker. He'll probably hide from you."
"He loves the woods," Mrs. Balog said. "And he doesn't like strangers." She ran a knuckle under one eye. "He's done this twice since we moved to Portland, but the other times it was summer."
Alexis wished they still had summer's long days and warm temperatures. Instead it was November and they were working against time, against the sun that was already sinking, against the night that would drop temperatures even further, against the creeks and fallen snags and rabbit holes that Bobby might blunder into.
Regaining his professional balance, Mitchell turned his focus back to the team. "Remember, guys, your job is not just to search but to inform the public. Let them be your eyes and ears. If they have anything to report, they can do it at the command post we'll set up here."
"I have a photo of Bobby," Mr. Balog offered, pulling a cell phone from his back pocket. His face was creased and worn. Alexis wondered how many of the lines were the result of having a kid who wasn't normal. But you couldn't change your family.
Mitchell took the phone and looked at it for a long moment before passing it on. As it went from hand to hand, Alexis was reminded of the few times her mom had taken her to church, the Communion tray passing in silence. Mrs. Balog shivered as the wind began to pick up, and her husband put his arm around her.
When it was her turn, Alexis cradled the image of Bobby's round face. His smile was strangely wide and flat, as if someone had instructed him to show all his teeth, top and bottom. She silently promised him that she would find him if she could.
Jon's phone rang, and he walked to the other side of the van to answer it. For a second, Alexis strained to hear, wondering if they had found Bobby, but it sounded like he was arguing with his girlfriend. While Jon was busy, Mitchell split them into teams of two or three, assigning the more experienced searchers the higher probability areas. Each team was given a rat pack — a small pack that buckled across the chest and contained a GPS and a radio.
Finally only Alexis, Ruby, and Nick were left to be dispatched. Obviously Alexis should have taken another step away from Ruby while she still had a chance.
Jon came back around the corner of the van. "Where's the rest of the team?"
"Already out on the trail," Mitchell answered.
Jon dropped his voice so the Balogs couldn't overhear. "What were you thinking? These three are brand-new! You should have split them up."
They all looked down the trail, but the others were already out of sight.
Mitchell's face reddened. "Sorry!"
Jon sighed, rubbing a spot just above his left eyebrow. "It is what it is." The Balogs were leaning in, trying to listen, so he lowered his voice slightly. "I don't want you three out of sight of the trail or each other. Nick, you'll be in charge of the rat pack. Ruby, I want you to take the topo map."
Leaving nothing for Alexis. She had tried her best to fit in, but maybe Jon could see right through her.
SAR was her ticket to college. She wasn't going to be like the other girls in her neighborhood, getting pregnant or dropping out or settling for a minimum-wage job. But even a state school would be expensive, and her guidance counselor had told Alexis that her B average was not enough to win her any scholarships. To make herself stand out, the counselor had said, she needed to add an eye-catching extracurricular. But Alexis was too uncoordinated for sports, she couldn't read music, and yearbook had been too competitive.
It had been either this or the Mathletes.
Mitchell handed the topo map to Ruby, and the four of them leaned in close. His long finger traced the way they were supposed to go. "Follow this section of the trail."
"But that's nowhere near where you said he was found the last two times," Nick protested.
Mitchell's jaw clenched. "We need to cover ground, and figuring out where he isn't is almost as important as figuring out where he is. So you guys had better get going."
Suddenly Mrs. Balog grabbed the arm of the blue Gore-Tex jacket Alexis had scored a few weeks ago at Goodwill. "Do you think you'll find him?" Her breath was hot and stale. Alexis couldn't look away from her brown eyes, the whites threaded with red.
What should she say?
"We're going to try."CHAPTER 3
LONG YELLOW TEETH
"We need to get going before it gets too dark," Ruby called back to Alexis. Ruby was already twenty feet down the trail, buckling the dark red climbing helmet over her crimson hair. Nick wasn't far behind. Alexis gently pulled her arm away from Bobby's mom and followed. For the first few hundred yards, the trail was paved and ran parallel to a stream.
As soon as they were out of sight of the adults, Nick clambered up on a huge fallen log half covered with pale green, velvety moss. He was still carrying his helmet by its strap.
"You're supposed to stay on the trail," Ruby said.
Only when he came to the end of the log did he jump down, landing in a puddle with a splash. Alexis rolled her eyes. Nick was like a big kid sometimes. All he wanted was attention, any kind of attention.
Tweet! Tweet! She jumped at the sound of his whistle. The blast jolted her back to the reality of their search.
"Bobby!" Nick called out. "Bobby!"
"It's not logical to be calling his name," Ruby said. "His mother said he would hide."
"What difference does it make?" Nick shrugged. "You saw where he went before. We're not going to be the ones to find him."
Even though he was probably right, Alexis was still careful not to hurry as she called his name and blew her whistle. Remembering their training, she looked up, down, and sideways to be certain they didn't miss either Bobby or a piece of clothing he might have discarded. She even turned around to look back. In her head, she heard Jon's voice. Lots of evidence gets missed because it's on the back side of a tree or a rock, and people forget to look behind them. Knowing they were looking for a real person made Alexis's breath come a little faster. It was like walking into a haunted house and waiting for a bloody man to jump out brandishing a rubber ax.
In this part of the park, the trees grew straight as pencils and the branches didn't begin until many feet over their heads. Beams of light slid between the trunks, looking as if they should be illuminating a miracle instead of a patch of undergrowth. The shadowed ground was carpeted with yellow-green grasses and bright emerald ferns. They were surrounded by a million shades of green: khaki and jade, olive and lime and avocado.
Tiny waterfalls silvered the stream, and birds trilled in the trees. It was all like a fairy tale. And bad things happened in fairy-tale forests. Witches and wolves lay in wait. Alexis shivered.
"Are you cold?" Ruby asked. "I have an extra jacket you could borrow."
Of course she did. It was probably some solar-powered thermal item. Ruby was a gear nerd, and her parents bought her REI's top of the line. Alexis got stuff on Craigslist or at the Army-Navy Surplus store.
"That's okay. I'm good."
Like Ruby's clothes would fit her anyway. Alexis was built like an Amazon. Every PE teacher she'd encountered practically drooled when they saw her, imagining her on the basketball court. But Alexis had zero coordination. At most she could manage three of anything: two hands and one foot, two feet and one hand. Add the fourth, especially if it was supposed to do something different from its partner, and she was lost.
"Bobby!" Alexis shouted again, and Nick joined in after a few more blasts on his whistle. "Bobby!"
As if in answer, two labs — one black and one yellow — appeared on the trail ahead. They bounded toward the three of them, nosing crotches and putting their muddy paws on knees. Looking at their long yellow teeth, Alexis shrank back. The dogs in her neighborhood would as soon bite you as look at you. Nick laughed and rubbed the black one behind the ears. As she petted the yellow one, Ruby's grin transformed her narrow, foxlike face.
"They're friendly!" came a shout from farther up the trail.
A guy in his mid-thirties, wearing black shorts and a gray T-shirt, appeared behind the dogs, his hiking boots slapping the sludge. Mud flecked his bare calves. He glanced curiously at their red helmets — Nick's still wasn't on his head — but he didn't slow down. The dogs broke free to run ahead of him.
Alexis, Ruby, and Nick looked at each other. Somebody had to speak, so Alexis did. "Hey, wait, hold up a sec."
He did, jogging in place.
"So we're with Portland Search and Rescue." It was hard not to feel like an impostor. She remembered Mrs. Balog complaining that they were just a bunch of teenagers. "Have you seen a thirty-four-year-old man, kind of heavyset, wearing a navy blue jacket and jeans? He's lost."
"He's not lost," Ruby corrected her. "He's autistic, and he's probably hiding."
Excerpted from The Body in the Woods by April Henry. Copyright © 2014 April Henry. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Tuesday: Blood,
2. Tuesday: A Bunch of Teenagers,
3. Tuesday: Long Yellow Teeth,
4. Tuesday: Unimaginable Feats of Bravery,
5. Tuesday: Something Awful Lurking,
6. Tuesday: You Just Have to Look,
7. Tuesday: The Next to Die,
8. Tuesday: In the End, You're Just Dead,
9. Tuesday: His Little Remembrance,
10. Tuesday: Asleep Forever,
11. Tuesday: After Dark,
12. Tuesday: Outside the Box,
13. Tuesday: Open into Darkness,
14. Tuesday: Death in the Woods,
15. Wednesday: Anything God Didn't Put There,
16. Wednesday: Things Go South,
17. Wednesday: Hidden,
18. Wednesday: The Sound of Her Last Breath,
19. Wednesday: You're One of Them Now,
20. Thursday: When She Was Finally Still,
21. Thursday: All of Them Gone Now,
22. Thursday: In a Darkened Room,
23. Friday: If They Knew the Truth,
24. Saturday: Still Gone,
25. Saturday: All the Choices in the World,
26. Saturday: Step One,
27. Saturday: In Good Spirits,
28. Saturday: No Time to Be Surprised,
29. Sunday: His Next Victim,
30. Sunday: Only Air,
31. Sunday: The Cruel Curve,
32. Sunday: Outsider,
33. Monday: The Death of Tiffany Yee,
34. Monday: Things Change,
35. Tuesday: Had to Have It,
36. Tuesday: Collect the Whole Set,
37. Tuesday: The Silver Tracks of Her Tears,
38. Tuesday: Observations You Missed,
39. Tuesday: Cry for All the Girls,
40. Wednesday: Life List,
41. Wednesday: So-Called Killer,
42. Wednesday: Without Even Saying Good-bye,
43. Wednesday: See for Yourself,
44. Wednesday: The Flesh Against Her Bones,
45. Wednesday: He's Going to Kill Her,
46. Wednesday: Into the Shadows,
47. Wednesday: Alive to His Fingertips,
48. Wednesday: Only Got Worse,
49. Wednesday: Time to Let Go,
50. Wednesday: Cry Out in Horror,
51. Wednesday: Three Bodies,
52. The Following Wednesday: Like Birds,
53. Wednesday: Symmetrical,
54. Saturday: Foam Heart,
Blood Will Tell Teaser,
About the author,
Other Mysteries by April Henry,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
*Actual rating 3.5 stars I am a fan of mystery/thrillers and I have enjoyed the ones I have read from this author, so I was excited for this one. Besides, this cover is super pretty!! I love all the green! I could not pull off wearing that color green eyeshadow. I also really like multi POV books too. This was an enjoyable book and it kept me guessing for a while. Well, I did think that I knew for sure who it was for a while, but I was wrong. When we do discover who it is, it made sense though. That's what I loved about this. The signs were there, but they were so subtle and you are convinced that it is one person, so you don't really notice until right before it's revealed. Alexis is a character that I really felt for. She is a smart girl stuck in a pretty crappy life. Her mother suffers from mental illness, but doesn't like the medications she is supposed to take to keep it controlled. She pretty much is the child and Alexis is taking care of everything. She is embarrassed and also scared that she would get taken from her mother, so she hides it. She doesn't let anyone get close to her out of fear that they will discover this hidden part of her life. She throws everything she has into finding out who the killer is, especially after her mother runs out and goes missing and she worries that she might become a target being out on the streets. Nick is a boy who has something to prove. Well, to himself anyways. He wants to be a hero, be brave and strong. He wants to be like his father. He feels like he needs to do something extraordinary. He loves the thrill of being on the Search and Rescue Squad because he feels like if he is the one to find someone, then he will get the recognition and attention that he wants. He is a really nice guy, but he really cares too much about what others think of him. He goes out of his way to let people know that he's helping find the killer, and he doesn't like it when it's not him to find something or do something "important". Ruby seems like your average well off girl, but really, she has her own issues. She wants different things for her life than what her parents want for her, but they just brush her off. They don't understand her obsession with birds or crime scene shows. They think that by letting her be on the Search and Rescue, they are giving her an outlet for her silly ideas. What they don't realize is, she is really smart, and she could make a life for herself out of the love that she has for it. She feels misunderstood and alone. She doesn't really have friends because she is odd. I really did like her. She was a bit annoying at times, but it was a kind of charming personality. I understood why she acted the way she did. In a way, she is like Nick, just looking for acceptance. Only she wants to be excepted for her, not for doing something better or bigger. The mystery aspect of this was great. Like any good mystery, there are plenty of clues, but they aren't always clear. That's because you get so wrapped up in the story that you are focusing on what the characters are focusing on, so you miss the subtle things that point in the right direction. April Henry does a fantastic job at mystery. I really enjoyed this book as a whole. I liked getting to know the characters, and I loved trying to figure out who the killer was. It all seemed a bit too tidy in the end, but not in a bad way. I suppose after so much suspense and drama, a happy and easy ending is the way to go. Another fantastic novel from this author!!! *An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.
I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review. I enjoyed this slight mystery thriller that I would recommend it to the young teens. You join in the team of SAR with the three teenagers Nick, Ruby and Alexis. Each come from a different background. With each chapter you read from the teens point of view and the killer which was done great enough that it doesn't miss a beat. When Nick, Ruby and Alexis are on a rescue mission to find an autistic man they come across something else that they didn't expect. But what they come across could come back and hunt them. I enjoyed how the author really gave us information on how SAR's works. I honestly never knew that people could volunteer and had to have so many hours. It was pretty cool information. I really enjoyed how Ruby was so involved that she kept wanting to help the officers in their investigation and even involved Nick and Alexis on her quest to help solve the murder. And it really makes you keep an eye on your surroundings because not everyone is who they seem with suspects. I am hoping to read more of this authors work, because she has a great writing style and maybe we will see more Point Last Seen novels?
As a fan of mystery/thrillers, i looked forward to reading The Body in the Woods as i heard April Henry has a pretty good selection of thrilling books to choose from. Its intriguing from the start with an eye-catching cover that features bright green colors. This point-last- seen mystery let’s you join the SAR, Search and Rescue, team of three teen volunteers. Each coming from a different background facing their own problems, Nick, Ruby and Alexis are all on the hunt for an autistic man who is lost in the woods. Instead they find something they were certainly not in search for, but what they come across could certainly come back to them and hunt them. In each detailed chapter, both the teens’ and the killer’s point of view is shared. Although it sometimes hard not to confuse who is speaking and where they are, but Henry does this with no problem. Each page helps build more and more suspense and you can’t help but keep flipping through the book. The author uses a variety of different tones to help set the mood for the book and the language chosen adds to this. While reading, you feel like you are part of the story and really involved as you read both point-of-views.The ending wraps up the main mystery neatly without any dangling questions, but April Henry leaves plenty of the story lines having to due with the characters open for interpretation. April Henry is the best-selling author of many acclaimed mysteries for young adults and this book is a great example for why.The Body in the Woods, which is part of The Point Last Seen series, was inspired by a real-life teen-led search and rescue group that has helped solved dozens of homicides. I highly recommend this book to all those who enjoy a good thrill and constantly being put at the edge of their seats and it is only the first in the series. This Novel is filled with excitement and mystery and is definitely worth reading.
Excellent book. This book was great and it kept me flipping page after page. When you, or even if you don't, figure out who did it, you basically screaming at the characters to figure out who did it. Trust me, I've gotten weird looks from people. They probably thought I was insane. Anyway, this was an amazing book with amazing characters, and an amazing plot, and a really amazing ending.
Holy crap, you guys! I can't recall reading too many murder mystery books. But I did watch Court TV (you know, TruTV) back in the day with my grandma religiously. I've never thought about reading murder mystery books, but The Body in the Woods has totally changed that. April Henry grabbed me from the very first chapter and dragged me down a crazy path of just one more page chapter because I have to know what happens next! The suspense that April Henry builds on the pages of The Body in the Woods. I did most of my reading for this book in bed, and there were several times that I sat up and frantically devoured the section. From the very beginning, you're given several people that could be the suspect. The way she writes the story from different points of view, including the unnamed killer, was perfect. I don't think it's too easy to guess the killer. There is plenty of suspense to keep you guessing and interested. The cast of characters works so well for The Body in the Woods. At first, Ruby's obsession over homicides grated on my nerves. But as the story unfolded, she actually became my favorite character. I've never read anything by this author before, but April Henry is definitely talented at spinning a tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Fans of YA looking for a change of pace from the overwhelming amount of contemporaries and dystopians need to look no farther than The Body n the Woods. **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to April Henry and NetGalley.
This is the best book ever!!!! I am reading it right know and I am trapped in it. Can't wait til the next book comes out. I am in love.
This is a nice murder mystery for teens. It has everything that a teen could want, including romance. I recommend it!
This was an intriguing story that follows the lives of three teen members of a search and rescue crew—three teens who have nothing else in common and, truth be told, want nothing to do with one another. Through their third-person stories, readers learn of their own lives and personal idiosyncrasies, and as the novel takes shape, they begin to depend on one another, forming a friendship of sorts that will bring a smile to readers’ faces. This was an intriguing mystery novel that I found highly engaging, especially with the quirky main characters. This is somewhat of a classic whodunit, with teens as sleuths, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised how difficult it was for me to pinpoint the murdered. I did eventually figure it out prior to the big reveal, but Henry had me going to quite a while, and I just loved the continual tension between the characters and their inner demons. If you like mystery novels, definitely give this book a read.
Not a mystery, a suspense (only getting to the end), or a thrill (only to be done). Did not meet EXPectations. . . Alexis, Nick, and Ruby or not your typical teens. They voluteer to help out in a missing person search, which turns in to a discovery of a body in the woods. Blah, blah, blah. . . .if you have any experience with mysteries you will figure out he killer fairly quickly. I would have likes to seen a real surprise, but didn't happen. Henry could have/should have present more of a challenge for the reader. I do not expect to read any further in this series. I was not challenged for it to have been the first book in the series Thanks, NetGalley.
Thank you Henry Holt for sending me an Advanced Readers Copy of this book, which did not affect my review in any way. I don't know why this is labeled a "thriller" when it definitely was not a thrill to read. The above statement is the reason I was unable to complete this long-winded novel. One could argue that this isn't really my genre - well, not my favorite genre - so it's to be expected that it wouldn't hold my attention for very long. But sub-genres aside, The Body in the Woods fails in aspects that any good novel should not fail in - like writing, characters, etc. Reason #1 for DNFing: THE WRITING. I am a firm believer that in order for a novel to hold a reader's attention, the writing has to have that "spark." In other words, the prose shouldn't be as robotic and watered-down as it is in this book. And the third-person POV didn't help matters in the least, because it kept me disconnected from the characters and, frankly, bored me. I should have counted the amount of times I yawned while reading. Reason #2: THE CHARACTERS. You know those cardboard-insert-pop-star-pretty-boy-cutouts at least one of your friends has in their room? Yeah, that's how I imagine the characters in this book. Not that they're pretty-boy status or anything, but they are as two-dimensional as a piece of cardboard. True, if I continued reading, they probably would have been more developed, but rattling off each character's qualities does not give the character depth. Reason #3: THE NEEDLESS DETAILS. I really don't want a massive paragraph detailing/listing Alexis's food, because I really don't give an eff. #4: THE MYSTERY WAS ANYTHING BUT. Yeah, when a dead body is made up with green eye-shadow, the mystery is sort of hard to take seriously. Just sayin'. Not that this book was excruciatingly long, but I simply could not read more than ten pages at a time. I had to force myself to continue reading, and once I hit about page 70, I'd had enough. Skip this one. I've heard Henry's other novels are much better, so I might consider giving those a try.