Author: April Henry
Synopsis: 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 killer—before he can strike one of their own.
Huge thank you to Macmillan and Netgalley for this ARC!
I think I’ve learned from reading Body in the Woods that I am really picky about mystery novels. I haven’t found too many YA mystery novels that I can say I’ve enjoyed, and this one didn’t change my opinion on that matter. Herny’s writing is decent, somewhat whimsy, but the story presented is inherently bland and dull.
I really struggled to connect with the characters and the murders that occurred in this novel. I never felt surprised or shocked by anything that was happening, and a mystery novel should make you want to think and follow along. A lot of the time I was bored, not engaged, and the writing never pulled me into any sense of excitement. Emotionally, I was completely disconnected to the events in this book.
Then there was the characters — although this book is told from multiple perspectives, every character felt very samey and kinda blurred together. The felt more functional to the story, so I never felt like their personalities were shining through to make one more interesting than the other. While that does make sense for the genre, teens need a bit more engagement than just functional characters, and a good story can only carry a book so far.
In the end, Body in the Woods just felt bland and uninspired. While the writing is good and the mystery had moments of being interesting, I never felt entirely captured by what was happening or who it was happening too, and that alone is such a shame.