Title: The Body of Christopher Creed
Author: Carol Plum-Ucci
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
About the author: from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Plum-Ucci
Carol Plum-Ucci (born August 16, 1957 in Atlantic City, New Jersey) is a young adult novelist and essayist. Plum-Ucci’s most famous work to date is The Body of Christopher Creed, for which she won a Michael L. Printz Award in 2002 and was named a Finalist to the Edgar Allan Poe Award. Describing her subjects as “the most common, timeless, and most heart-felt teenagers,” Plum-Ucci is widely recognized for her use of the South Jersey shore to set scenes for engaging characters embracing suspense themes.
Plot: This mystery finds Torey Adams as a narrator at the center of classmate’s Christopher Creed’s disappearance. Told in flashbacks, Christopher Creed is missing. Did he run away, or did something more sinister happen to him?
Mostly told in flashbacks, Carol Plum-Ucci’s storyline is character-driven, and the facts of the story are intricately plotted. The story is told in a nonlinear fashion with the main chunk of the story as a flashback at an intensifying pace.
Torey Adams is startled to find that his idyllic world of Steepleton unravels once the truth and lies of his community come to light. Torey’s character is awkward and flawed.
Christopher Creed is a classmate of Torey, who has a long history of being bullied by many different people in school. He has vanished, but has left behind a note which includes Torey’s name, along with a few other classmates.
The tone has a strong sense of place, as the town of Steepleton and its inhabitants are uncovered to be full of unhappiness, gossip, and rumors. Kids and adults are cruel here, looking down on others, and gossiping incessantly. Plum-Ucci’s novel grasps the insidious problems that gossip and rumors make, especially in an insulated community like Steepleton.
The novel takes twists and turns, which results in the novel being gossipy, high-drama, creepy, and disturbing all at once.
Reader’s Annotation: Christopher Creed is missing, or just doesn’t want to be found.
Curriculum Ties: social responsibility, bullying, gossip
Booktalking Ideas: Talk about the effects of gossip, rumors, and eavesdropping. Play the game telephone to show how things can be easily misinterpreted and confused.
Reading Level: 12+
Interest Age: 12+
Challenge Issues: suicide, sex
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Why did you pick this for your collection?
- South Carolina Book Awards: Young Adult Books
- YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2001
- Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award