(A Point Last Seen Mystery)
by April Henry
An unlikely trio of teens band together as a team after a horrifying encounter in the woods. Alexis, Nick and Ruby are part of a teen Search and Rescue Team who help Portland police search and locate missing people. Their first call is to find a missing autistic man. While searching the forest, Alexis happens upon a grisly discovery--a body in the woods. Ruby and Nick call for help. The crime scene is disturbed when a footprint is accidentally ruined by a medic.
Ruby goes into full crime scene detective mode--this girl is a walking encyclopedia of CSI and forensics television trivia. She notices the smallest details no one else does and carefully explains them to the other kids and the reader. She realizes that this isn't the first body in the woods--there was another murder of a woman earlier in the year. Ruby takes her suspicions to the police--who shoot down her theory.
Ruby convinces Alexis and Nick that there is a serial killer on the loose in Portland. As the kids close in on his trail, the killer speeds up his spree. Not only are the kids on a path to destruction, each must deal with his/her own demons. Alexis deals with her mother's bi-polar personality, Ruby sneaks around to avoid her parents' ultimatum and Nick deals with his feelings of inferiority and missing his dead father.
When the police won't listen, the kids turn to each other and their detective skills. Ruby has an inquiring mind and loves solving a puzzle. The trio realizes that although they are very different, they each contribute to the team and their friendship grows.
This is a quick read and should draw in reluctant readers.
Recommended grade 7-up. Mature subject matter. Serial killer. No profanity.
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