COMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn


Age Range: 14 - 18
Email this review


A bright, conflicted hero struggles to free himself from the past’s tightening bonds in this corkscrew of a thriller.

After their troubled young mother’s death in an accidental shooting, Jamie and Cate were adopted by loving, affluent parents in Danville, Calif., themselves still grieving the loss of their two biological children in a car accident. The kids respond differently to their comfortably sheltered existence. Jamie becomes a high-performing student and talented pianist, while Cate, still passionately loyal to the mother Jamie barely remembers, grows into a wild, reckless teen. Released two years after her incarceration for burning down a neighbor’s barn, killing horses and critically maiming a classmate, Cate’s heading for Danville, and Jamie’s terrified of what she’ll do next. Years of treatment with a sympathetic therapist haven’t helped him overcome his bouts of amnesia and, when severely stressed, the loss of sensation in his hands. With his first romance on the horizon, he’s stopped taking his meds, which have deadening side effects. Vivid characterization and Jamie’s sharply observed narration lend credibility to the proceedings and divert attention from a few holes in the logic. In the service of her plot, Kuehn takes liberties with current child welfare practices (some may take issue with the skewed portrait of older-child adoption), but her strong suit—building suspense—is bound to keep even skeptical readers turning pages.

Smart, gripping genre fiction. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 24th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-04459-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2014


ChildrenRUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo
by Leigh Bardugo
ChildrenFAT BOY VS. THE CHEERLEADERS by Geoff Herbach
by Geoff Herbach
ChildrenTHE STORY OF OWEN by E.K. Johnston
by E.K. Johnston
ChildrenCOMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn
by Stephanie Kuehn
ChildrenNO SUMMIT OUT OF SIGHT by Jordan Romero
by Jordan Romero


ChildrenDELICATE MONSTERS by Stephanie Kuehn
by Stephanie Kuehn


ChildrenSHIFT by Em Bailey
by Em Bailey
ChildrenCHOKER by Elizabeth Woods
by Elizabeth Woods
ChildrenNIGHT SCHOOL by C.J. Daugherty
by C.J. Daugherty
ChildrenTHREE LITTLE WORDS by Sarah N. Harvey
by Sarah N. Harvey