by April Henry
(Point Last Seen #1)
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 2014
Page Count: 263
Source: Netgalley (thank you!)
In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.
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.
This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.
GOODREADS . AMAZON
Review: I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. Based on the television shows I enjoy to watch, this book and premise should have been right up my alley. While I did like the idea of it quite a lot, the book was a bit of a let down for me. I wanted it to be great, like a couple of the other YA thrillers I have read this year, but it just did not stand up to those. While it had its redeeming qualities, as all books always seem to, I certainly did not love it.
The idea was interesting; we have three teenagers who have been trained to help with Search and Rescue. That is obviously not something a lot of teens get to help with, though it did seem a little unrealistic that three teens would be sent off to search without an adult, and to be sent pretty far out from the rest of the group. While I know sometimes we have to look past reality for fictional stories, I just think that this was taking it a little too far. Still, I tried to look past it, as it was the beginning of the novel and I still had high hopes.
I cannot say that I really cared for any of the main characters, which is always a huge problem for me in books. For me, it's usually all about the characters, and I want to cheer for at least one of them. Ruby, Alexis, and Nick all seemed pretty naive and stereotypical to me, though. Here are three teenagers being let out on their own to search, and it seems like a group that WOULD NOT be allowed to do so on their own. None of it made sense. While we had some back story and personality traits of the characters, it did not add to them at all. It just seemed like it was trying to make something more of the characters, and it just was not there.
I thought that things might pick up once they found the body of the girl. After all, I do love my crime shows and the time spent trying to look for facts and evidence to find the killer. Unfortunately, the book pretty much stayed the same for me. I knew who the murderer was pretty quickly, when I really prefer it to take until close to the end to figure those details out. I just wanted so much more out of this book, and I hate how disappointed I continued to be. (Sure, it had its entertaining parts, but they weren't frequent enough.).
One of my least favorite parts of the book was the change in POVs, though. I don't mind when books switch between points of view when it was needed, but I don't think that it was here. Along with that, it just made things a bit more confusing when it was all written in third person instead of first. I think that first person may have given us more of the information we needed and wanted from the characters. I did enjoy the parts when we got to be inside the murderer's head, though. Those parts were creepy, and it was the only thing that really had me believing this could be labeled as a thriller.
Overall, as I am sure you can tell, I was not incredibly impressed with this book. I was hoping for so much more, but it did not come through. I do believe that this is meant to be a series, so I will consider reading the next book when it releases to see if there is any improvement in the mystery and characters.