Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Take three young teenagers and put them into a search and rescue group.  They are all looking for something different from the experience.  It's a chance to learn, a chance to be strong, a chance to be smart and a chance to help people.  Take those same three teens and introduce them to a dead body.  One thing it isn't is fun...

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 17th, so make a note to pick it up then.

Ms. Henry does a nice job with this story.  She makes each teen a normal complex character.  Nick is always trying to prove himself.  His father died in war and he wants to live up to his image.  Alexis has a mother with mental problems who keeps falling apart because she won't take her medication.  She never knows what she'll find when she goes home and sometimes her mother disappears.  Ruby is a mental wizard.  She has a good memory, has an interest in facts and logic, and doesn't really get along with people.  She can play a role but it's not her, it's a role.

The kids are questioned about who else they saw on the trail.  They remember bits and pieces but not a lot.  They were looking for a lost autistic man, not a murdered teen.  There was a man jogging with dogs, an older man birding and another young man who went by.  One of the paramedics steps on a footprint that could have helped identify the murderer.  This drives Ruby nuts, but the cops don't seem to care.

The cops learn that one of the men was tending a marijuana patch up above on the trail and decide he must have been the one to murder the girl.  Ruby doesn't agree.  She pesters the cop long enough that he tells her to butt out and leave his case alone.

The murderer is sneaky and hides in plain sight.  His plan now includes Ruby as one of his "samples".  He loves her pretty red hair...

There is a lot action at the end that will delight any young adult reader.  I think we'll be seeing this SAR team again in another book.  And that would make me happy.

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