Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers. Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
I can't believe I waited so long to give this book a shot! It was SUCH a good read!! :)When I first read about it, I think it was on Tynga's reviews...it seemed kind of bland and a little too tame for my eclectic taste...I was SO wrong. The concept is actually really original. The main character Violet is able to sense the dead, not by some weird psychic ability, but by the imprints that the bodies leave behind. These imprints can be anything from the taste of garlic, to flashing lights, to the sound of bells ringing. And guess what else? Whoever killed the person/animal also has that exact imprint on them as well...talk about being caught red handed...
Plot: The plot was fantastic. The story had so many twists and turns, so many uncertainties! The paranormal element was understated, just important enough to reference, but there wasn't a boring exploration of the powers or a long winded description or anything. I found that there was just enough focus on the emotional and relationship elements of Violet's life to balance out the mystery involving the dead girls. The focus is almost always revolving around the main action of the story, but everything is colored by the possibility of a romance, and sometimes the romance becomes mixed up in the main mystery plot. There were quite a few times of heart-stopping panic for me, first when I thought Violet was going to get into the killer's car, then several tense moments when you aren't sure who is going to live or die and you are pretty certain that you are in love with the one who died...I am SO glad I found this book. When you truly feel for the characters, what they are going through, who they are talking to, all of that, it is truly an amazing experience.Kimberly Derting gives much more than a mystery, she brings the people and actions on the pages to life.
Main Characters: Jay and Violet! Violet and Jay! Jaylet! Violay!! Ok...I'll stop with the obnoxiousness now, but I have some definite reader love going on for this relationship...I absolutely am in LOVE with them both! Jay is SO protective of Violet and its easy to see how much he cares about her and she him. They are best friends and have been for life, so the simple comfort they have with each other (however complicated by Violet's growing feelings)is so sweet. The relationship they have is so authentic, built up by thousands of memories, shared experiences, and boring moments...it isn't contrived like a lot of romances in the genre lately. I am SO over the plot of "Mysterious (possibly paranormal) Hot guy meets average girl in small town, Hot Guy and Average girl are inexplicably drawn to each other then fall in love immediately without preamble"...This is especially annoying when the romance happens before you really get to know the characters. It worked in Twilight(actually, I feel like Bella and Edward's relationship develops quite well in the book...it's just that the movie didn't really capture the intricacies and subtlety in their romance, making it come off unrealistic and...kinda lame...) but I feel that too many books have a central plot revolving around that exact model. In The Body Finder, I felt that Jay and Violet's friendship/relationship could happen anywhere, and it was so perfectly normal that it had its own delicious brand of originality and sweetness. Kind of like being caught in a hailstorm of honey and kittens...lol
Secondary Characters: I loved how every character, no matter how unrelated to the story, had at least a little depth. The story and characters really came to life trough Violet's interactions with her friends and family. Her friend Chelsea is loud, obnoxious, and has basically no filter...exactly who I was in high school. Literally, my friends would have to tell me to turn on my filter if we were going anywhere important cause I just couldn't figure out what wasn't socially acceptable to say out loud. As you can imagine, this totally endeared Chelsea to me. Even though she is brash and can come off rude, she really cares for violet, As do all of their group of friends. Violet has a good relationship with her parents, and they are believably protective of her when other girls start to go missing. In some books you will find parents that just bumble around the obvious and are either annoyingly protective or so blasé about having a kid that its like they don't care that they have one at all. These parents were way more three-dimensional, though I would liked to have known their names outside of "Mom and Dad".
Rating: I give this book 9 Dead Bodies out of 10! I really enjoyed reading it. I will be reading the next book immediately, and keeping an eye out for anything else that the author has to offer :D
That's it for me!