The Body Finder
Violet Ambrose is just starting her junior year in high school. It's a year of change for Violet: she's starting to appreciate her best friend, Jay Heaton, in a girly kind of way (totally foreign to Violet), her closest girl friends have all seemed to not only grow up but grow boobs, and her gift has been activated into kick-ass mode by a series of murders. Her gift, that only her closest family and Jay know about, is to hear, feel, and see the echoes of the dead. When the killings get too close to home, Violet gets too close to the truth.
I really liked this book. And here's why.
The book was about more than finding dead bodies. The relationship between Violet and Jay was so real, so refreshing, and so well written that every step they make, every thing they say, and every thing they do is believable. Even how they became best friends in the first place is funny and cute.
The approach to Violet's gift is subtle and smooth. Violet has always had her gift and she finds mostly animals (note, I said 'mostly'), and Jay and her family support her and never judge her or make her feel like a freak.
Violet's circle of friends is an eclectic mix, but each one is drawn vividly with their own characteristics and personalities and imperfections that make them seem all the more human to the reader.
You get glimpses into the killer's head. His hunting skills, his driving needs. Those glimpses add a sense of creep-factor to the story, and while the murders are brutal, they are not gruesomely depicted in the story.
Here's what I didn't like, but it ain't a big list.
I was a little disappointed that I figured out the one twist. I can't say what it is because I don't want to spoil the plot. Just saying I figured it out. Bummer.
I found Jay's over-protectiveness toward the end a tad annoying. Actually, what I found annoying was that while Violet did resist to some extent, she also found herself liking it to some extent. I don't like men thinking women can't--or shouldn't--think for themselves.
I would have liked to spend more time with the whole murder mystery and less time in the high school life and "coming out" of Violet and Jay's relationsip. While I did like watching this aspect of the story, I picked up the book for the whole "I can find dead bodies" thing. Not enough of that for me. Oh, wait. That's not a reflection on me...is it?
Overall, I would highly recommend this book. That moves right up my list of top books of the year.