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22 July 2014

The Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen #1)

The Body in the Wood by April Henry is the first mystery in her Point Last Seen series about three teens in a Search and Rescue team in Portland, Oregon.

When a man goes missing in the giant Forest Park, texts go out to the SAR - Portland County Search and Rescue - to form a group to find him. Trainees Alexis, Nick, and Ruby are excused from high school to help. Due to a mistake they are assigned to the same search group - usually new members are broken up with more seasoned searchers.

Alexis joined SAR to bulk up her college applications. She needs a scholarship to be able to attend and hiking sounded like a good way to do it. She has become friends with one of the other new searchers, Ruby, but usually keeps people at bay so they do not find out too much about her.

Nick joined SAR because he wants to be a hero like his dad. His father was killed in Iraq but saved others in the act and though Nick doesn't remember him, he wants to emulate him. He takes search and rescue seriously and as a first step in becoming the man he wants to be.

Ruby loves the outdoors. And SAR is the first time she feels like she fits in. Other kids her age don't like the stuff she likes and she is socially awkward. Just as she thought she was becoming best friends with Alexis, she started to pull away.

Now all three of them are searching together. They are assigned a part of the park where the missing man is not likely to be so they are treating the search much like a training. But when Alexis notices someone in the bushes, everything changes. She has found a young woman, likely around her age, who appears to be dead.

Henry has created three likable but flawed characters who have joined an exciting team. Along with the search and rescue, the three will do what they can to find out who killed the woman in the woods - even if the police think they have the murderer. Great start to an exciting new YA series.

Henry, April. (2014). The Body in the Woods. New York: Christy Ottaviano Books.

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