Falling in love with your best guy friend is a path fraught with peril in the best of circumstances, but insert the fact that you happen to have a sixth sense for finding dead bodies and the killer of said bodies may want you as his next victim, and your angst-ridden road to happily ever after with your bestie is probably going to take a right at Albuquerque. Such is the premise of Kimberley Derting’s debut YA novel The Body Finder:
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 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 dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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.
Warning: Do not read this story in the dark. The first scene where we see the killer lure his victim to her death is chilling in its realism. I made sure I had another talk with my daughter about getting into cars with strangers.
I was lucky enough to meet Kimberley at a conference and snagged a signed copy. If you want it for your very self, reveal the name of your first non-celebrity (No, Scott Baio doesn't count. Yes, I',m old.) crush in the comments before midnight PT Friday (9/9/11) and you're entered to win*. I'll go first: his name was Christopher and he was tall (for a third grader) and dark and ruled the monkey bars like no one I'd seen before. Sigh.
*US/Canada residents only.