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Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder is a fun romp in the high school drama and paranormal abilities of Violet Ambrose. I am hooked (so far)!

Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

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the body finder kimberly derting book review

Title & Author: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Paranormal

Release Date: March 26, 2010

Series: The Body Finder #1

Publisher: HarperCollin’s Children’s Books

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer… and becoming his prey herself.”

Back to Basics

In a fit of desperation a few weeks ago, I tweeted begging for book reccs. I seriously was at a total loss for what to read next. Then the wonderful and amazing Brittany SAVED MY LIFE. Literarily speaking.

She recommended Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder series, saying it was similar to The Naturals, which I ADORED.

Plus, I’m already fairly familiar with Derting’s writing – a few years ago I read The Pledge and I just recently finished The Taking.

The Body Finder starts off like most paranormal YA books – a normal girl with normal friends goes about her normal high school life when her pesky abilities start acting up. In Violet’s case, she can sense the dead. And not just human bodies, but dead animals, etc. Then, as a bonus, when someone has killed something or someone, she can see, hear and/or taste the mark left on them.

The paranormal aspect of the novel is wrapped up nicely in Violet’s sixth sense. Otherwise, the setting in the book is completely contemporary. At first, the simplicity of the fantasy element surprised me, but Violet’s family and friends-filled life added the rest of the action.

Speaking of surprises, some of the relationship issues and personal development described in The Body Finder seemed extremely basic to me. For example, Violet is struggling to figure out her feelings for her long-time best friend, Jay. How their relationship is described and how she reacts is “been there, done that” times 1,000.

I mean, the book was written in 2010 (almost 4 years ago now), so maybe that’s the reason why, but I almost couldn’t believe how such simple issues were being given so much attention and unneeded drama.

Fantastic Mystery

I don’t mean to hate on The Body Finder. Cuz let me tell you, I couldn’t put it down. Derting definitely knows how to write a page-turner mystery.

It seems that the simplicity of the story adds to the suspense and focus on Violet’s life overall and not just her talent of finding the dead.

I will definitely be reading (and have already read) future books in the series. How far I’ll go with it remains to be seen.


I was impressed with this book. It was uncomplicated yet interesting, and it added to its overall charm. The mystery and romance kept me turning pages into the night, despite some attention on obvious relationship issues that felt childish at times. I am excited to read the rest of The Body Finder books, especially because they are all already published!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.