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The Body in the Woods: A Point Last Seen Mystery Hardcover – June 17, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—On their first mission for the Portland County Search and Rescue team, Alexis, Nick, and Ruby don't find the missing man with autism they were looking for; instead they find the dead body of a young girl. Now these three teens from very different backgrounds must work together to find the killer. Complicating the issue is Alexis's mentally ill mother, who disappears after a paranoid episode, Nick's crushing feelings of inadequacy, and Ruby's struggles to find a place she belongs. Will they be able to find common ground with one another before the killer strikes again, maybe even at one of their own? Henry realistically portrays these three kids thrust into a real-life horror. Their doubts and fears, as well as their strengths, all ring true and teens will be able to identify with one of the protagonists. The adult characters, especially Alexis's mother, are also fully developed, albeit a bit slow on the uptake in the case of Ruby's parents. The actual mystery is not that intriguing, but a pervading sense of threat and danger is present throughout. Give this series opener to fans of character-driven mysteries.—Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX

Review

Henry has created not only a gripping mystery, but rich and detailed characters as well . . . The action starts right away, and does not stop until everything comes to a head at the end of the novel. (VOYA)

The fast-paced plot, mirroring familiar TV crime procedurals, make this a good choice for reluctant readers, especially as it's impossible to follow the clues and identify the killer before the final showdown. (Booklist)

Henry realistically portrays these kids thrust into a real-life horror. Their doubts and fears, as well as their strengths, all ring true and teens will be able to identify with one of the protagonists . . . Give this series opener to fans of character-driven mysteries. (School Library Journal)

Quick pacing, an easy-to-follow mystery, and a smidge of real danger make this a likely choice for TV crime drama fans. (BCCB)

A fast moving and well-constructed mystery . . . astute readers will be able to solve the puzzle before the final, high-stakes climax. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Series: Point Last Seen (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (June 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805098526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805098525
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.

When I was 11, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He took it to lunch and showed it to the editor of a British children's magazine - and she asked to publish the story! (For no money, which might have been a warning about how hard it is to make a living writing.)

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years - when I wrote a book a year, worked full time, and had a baby - are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 15 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been chosen for IndieNext, translated into eight languages and won awards in several states. And Face of Betrayal, which I co-wrote with Lis Wiehl, was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks.

I have also reviewed literary fiction, YA literature, and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.

In 2014, look for two books: The Body in the Woods, the first in the Point Last Seen series, and A Deadly Business, co-written with Lis Wiehl.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By NebraskaIcebergs on July 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Over the years, my husband has turned me on to the merits of a good crime novel, but normally I only find those in the adult section. April Henry is an author who might change that limitation. Henry is a New York Times-bestselling author of over a dozen mysteries and thrillers, some of which are for teens. I recently discovered her latest novel, The Body in the Woods, because of my interest in search and rescue. The atypical teen plot and sympathetic characters made it a win for me.

How is the plot atypical? For one thing, it’s about three teens who meet when they join Portland County’s Search and Rescue, because of which all kinds of unusual things can happen. For example, the teens can be summoned to search and rescue duty in the middle of a school day or in the dead of the night. On the surface, it may sound like this book is about a team of heroes with special powers, similar to many of the young adult fantasies being published today. But it's not. These "heroes" can only serve on the search and rescue team if they keep their grades up and stay out of trouble. They must learn to work with a team, search for clues on a trail, and become part of the valuable work of finding missing people. They face real-world tension, akin to that found in hospitals and courts.

The plot is atypical in other ways. On their first mission the three are teamed up to search the woods for a lost autistic man, but when they find a dead body instead they're suddenly catapulted into a crime investigation. If you think this sounds too unrealistic, keep in mind that Henry’s story is inspired by a real incident. While the stereotype of teens is that they’re all about having drinking binges, losing their virginity, or otherwise wasting their lives, many teens live interesting lives.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kristen @ Pretty Little Pages on June 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
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 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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Brown on July 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Body In The Woods by April Henry was a great suspenseful book. Three teenagers join a Search and Rescue in Portland County and they get more excitement than they expected when they go looking for a lost man in the woods. They didn’t expect to find a dead body but that’s exactly what happens. They feel they must find the killer before one of them become the next victim. What follows in the book is a suspenseful action-packed adventure with many twists and turns.

The characters were well developed and realistic. Although the three teens were not close friends before joining the search and rescue, they quickly bond and form a relationship born from fear and necessity. I really liked the characters backstories with all their problems and concerns. I found it very interesting seeing the dynamics of the three as the pursue the killer.

The writing style flowed easily and the book was an easy read. The writing was descriptive and had me feeling the fears and anxieties of the three teens. Feeling like I’m part of the story is one of my criteria for a good book. The Body In THe Woods sure hit the mark there.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a suspenseful mystery, not matter what your age. I love Search and Rescue fiction and this one did not disappoint. This is the first book that I have read by April Henry but I will be reading more of her books soon.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lili's Reflections on June 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The only word I can think to use when describing this book is disappointing. I requested this book because I thought it had a ton of potential. Told from three different third person perspectives, we could truly uncover a murder mystery while looking at events through a bunch of different POVs a la the movie VANTAGE POINT. However, the entire book fell flat to me.

The third person narration seemed to hinder me from connecting to any of the three main characters. All of their back-stories were uninteresting to me, despite the fact that they could potentially truly pull at my heartstrings. Alexis doesn't know her Dad and lives with her bipolar and seemingly schizophrenic and God-obsessed mother. At one point, her mother goes missing, but it serves no purpose to the plot and then eventually all is conveniently fixed. Nick is trying desperately to prove himself and be brave like his father who died in Iraq when Nick was just four. He's almost obsessive about his father's death, and this hindered me from connecting to him. Perhaps the only person I felt any emotion towards was Ruby and, really, I just pitied her. I felt bad that she was so desperate for friends and that she entertained herself by word-vomiting about anything she could possibly think of because she didn't know any other way to have a conversation. But, really, that's all I felt for her, which is frustrating because she was my favorite character in the entire book. This book didn't elicit any emotion from me, but that can also be attributed to the fast pacing of the novel that allowed me to finish it in less then two hours.

However, I got to hand it to our three main characters. They were ten times more intelligent then the detective put on this case.
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