THE BODY OF CHRISTOPHER CREED by Carol Plum-Ucci

THE BODY OF CHRISTOPHER CREED

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Plum-Ucci makes a memorable fiction debut with this soapy tale of a teenager’s disappearance from a small New Jersey town asimmer with dirty secrets. Rumors fly when despised, perennial outcast Chris Creed vanishes, leaving an ambiguous e-mail note behind. Did he run? Commit suicide? Was he kidnapped? Murdered? Suspicion quickly centers on 17-year-old Bo Richardson, a hard case with a long juvenile record—but as Bo’s naïve schoolmate Alex discovers, finger-pointing is not evidence. Revelations unfold as Alex begins to look past his comfortable life and circle of superficial friends: the adults in town are still flinching over a similar disappearance a generation ago; the seemingly distraught Mrs. Creed is a control freak of the most damaging kind; a schoolmate psychologically abused by her mother’s current boyfriend reveals that the local police chief is one of her mother’s former ones. Most startling of all, to Alex at least, beneath Bo’s brutal exterior lies a fundamental decency. Alex's insights into the fears and secrets of people around him, and the way ugly truths can be hidden by easy lies, are hard-won enough to be convincing, and the plot peaks with a gloriously icky scene in which Alex breaks his leg while breaking into an old, naturally sealed Lenape tomb, and watches a more recent corpse spontaneously decompose upon exposure to fresh oxygen. Unlike such similarly harrowing stories as Michael Cadnum's Zero at the Bone (1996) and Jean Thesman's Calling the Swan (see below), this leaves readers with hints that the missing person is still alive somewhere—but readers will understand why, if so, he’s not coming out of hiding any time soon. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-15-202388-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2000




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