Jill the Ripper's Reviews > The Body Finder

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
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's review
Aug 24, 11

bookshelves: dead-girls-don-t-say-no, i-would-punch-this-bitch-irl, lol-supernatural-fad, seriously-she-needs-to-die, too-dumb-to-live, i-want-my-money-back
Recommended for: No-one. It's the only reason I'm not trading this in, no one should have to read this.
Read in August, 2011

This book is bad.

This book is bad and Kimberly Derting is bad and should feel bad.

I could leave it there and be completely satisfied, because The Body Finder was so painful for me that I don't even want to justify why, but in the interest of improving my criticisms, we'll give it a (reluctant) shot.

Violet senses dead people - dead things - and always has. Her family generally knows about this. So does her very best friend, Jay. Who is a boy. And suddenly got hot over the summer, so now there are girls flitting around him and making Violet feel discontent and out of place in their friendship, but mainly because she's failing for Jay too.

Then a killer emerges in her town and it's up to Violet to use her strange gift to stop him. That's the rundown.

Honestly, this sounded good to me. Everyone loves a little mystery and I'm a total gore-pack rat and bonus points, the promised romance was already somewhat established. I have nothing against the Hot New Guy, but he's fairly commmon nowadays, so this was going to be fun.

Only hot.

Number one problem with this book: for all it's promise, it's boring. Boring. Derting had this unpleasant way of... overstating facts, over-describing simple actions and just setting poor atmosphere - nothing felt like I'm presuming it was meant to, which was green and wet and spooky. Twilight, for all it's faults, did a much better job at this and character chemistry in general. There's a reason I'm bringing up Twilight, too, because I honestly felt like Body Finder was Derting's attempt at self-insert fanfiction for it. Small, foresty town. Police chief intermediately related to the main character. Everything is about said main character. Then stuff happens and she goes back to fawning over her boyfriend. Okay, so archetypes exist and this could all be a coincidence that I'm reading into, since I've also read Twilight, but... that's what it seemed like.

There was no chemistry between... anyone. At all. Especially Violet and Jay. Also, Jay kind of creeped me out - I'm not sure what Derting was going for, here, with him, maybe an Edward Cullen brand of protectiveness? It didn't work. I'm more forgiving of it on Edward considering he's about a hundred years old -- but for Christ'ssake, Jay is a normal, seventeen year old boy. Was this book Derting's way of writing to her own children "model" behaviour? Because it felt a little stiff in most of the varying teens actions -- just when it came to matters about being responsible, and whatnot.

This book was not compelling in the slightest. The killer's part came off incredibly bland and cheesy, and dear God, I just cannot let go of the writing. I am a fast reader, normally. It's taken me about two months to finish this book. Everything about it was woody, and blocky, and I have never had such an unpleasant reading experience.

Violet, herself, as a person was just... disappointing. Not even disappointing, but so shallow. She didn't seem to give a shit about the dead/missing girls because she barely thought of them -- when she was crying, or frightened, it wasn't for them but for her. Even setting out and finding them and their killer seemed less about helping them but about making use of herself, that's how unconvincing and uncompelling Derting's writing was.

Everyone treated Violet like a special snowflake, Jay acted like her father (he even has a sarcastic line about her confusing him for her father when she's angry at him being so dad-like), and was generally completely un-sexy. Their make out scenes where just... bland, boring, gross almost; that's how unappealing Jay was.

When Violet wasn't busy being a ~snowflake~, she was caring more about herself and Jay being school gossip than... oh, I don't know, the missing chick, the dead one, and the killer she caught? It just sound so self-centered. Sure, maybe she was strangely "used" to death, but it came across far more callous and ugly than I think Derting intended it to be. Now, if she had delibrately written Violet as this uncaring bitch that had this strange power, it might've made the story just that little more interesting, instead of the ~innocent beautiful lamb~ Violet was meant to be.

I hated her by the end of the book. She is not a person I would like to be friends with in real life.

The way her sense worked too, was... odd. I get that the echoes or imprints on killers would be uncomfortable for her, but though it was never said outright, I always felt like she was judging those that had those imprints: even soldiers, police officers, nurses. Maybe that comes with the territory, I'm not sure, but it left a bad taste in my mouth, especially the thing at the end with her Uncle, considering how ~precious~ he treated her. And, while I guess the way the echoes "stopped" made sense (having them laid to rest, properly), it just seemed... weird. I think the ideology there was, if they were acknowledged and laid to rest by loved ones? That's what it seemed to be, but it didn't explain the animals Violet found, and how their echoes would stop once she buried them in her own cemetery. I disliked this whole idea of it, but I couldn't tell you exactly why.

Basically, if Jay had been scratched altogether and replaced with someone hotter and less creepy ("I was just waiting for you to love me so I tried to make you jealous and used some popular chick that now hates you"), and Violet had been presented as more eccentric than the ~normal so pure~ girl she was (I mean come on, the girl had a cemetery for crying out loud, in her backyard, for the dead animals she could find by some weird sense. How could she have not gotten cool??), then maybe, maybe, the book would've been compelling enough to actually enjoy. Or at least finish quickly.

As it stands, I want my money back. I have never felt this way about a novel, so there's that for you, Derting.

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