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The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol…

The Body of Christopher Creed (original 2000; edition 2008)

by Carol Plum-Ucci

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7013413,533 (3.95)25
Title:The Body of Christopher Creed
Authors:Carol Plum-Ucci
Info:Graphia (2008), Paperback, 276 pages
Tags:realistic fiction, mystery, homicide, suspense, relatable, adventure, drama, romance, young adult, fiction

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The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci (2000)


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The high school misfit, Christopher Creed, has disappeared without a trace. People theorize that he has run away, committed suicide or was killed by one of the boons, the town thugs. No one takes it very seriously, except Torey, whose name was mentioned in Chris’ supposed suicide note; Torey’s friend Ali; and her boon boyfriend, Bo. With Chris’ disappearance, Torey soon learns that truth and reality in his town are not what they seem, and that people can make them suit their own needs. Edges on creepy. Lib notes: Swearing, talk of death and murder.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
"The Body of Christopher Creed" is narrated by seventeen year-old, Torey Adams, who is trying to discover the truth about the recent disappearance of a fellow student. As he struggles to find the truth, Torey has to struggle against small town prejudices, stereotypes and deceptions. This book reminded me of "Jasper Jones" by Craig Silvey, which I read earlier this year, but it lacked the humour and charm that was so evident in "Jasper Jones." ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
A great, suspenseful story. I love mysterious disappearances, but only read this one if you’re ok with stories that lack a resolution. It’s very realistic because of this fact. The story of Christopher Creed’s disappearance is framed by Torey’s reasoning for transferring to a private school senior year, which kind of detracts from the story. There is still a lot of suspense, but I don’t think the framework was necessary. Very interested in reading the sequel. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
“He didn’t understand what it was like to have your truths turn to crispy critters in stinking, rotting laughing that smelled like something you could never, ever describe, yet never, ever forget.” (pg 301)

Carol Plum-Ucci’s novel delves deeply into interesting territory as a small town deals with the mysterious disappearance of one of its own, Christopher Creed. The story is told through the compelling narrative voice of Torey, a young boy, who among others, is referenced in the final email received from Chris, the town bully-target. In Torey’s quest for answers, there are some startling secrets uncovered as he only comes face to face with the mysteries, lies, and hypocrisy of adults. There are some dramatic moments in the story, and the ambiguity of the ending is thought-provoking, and suspense-laden. This novel has appeared on curriculum lists in Saskatchewan for English Language Arts and has been used at the grade nine level with ties to identity, decision-making, and relationships. This novel was the winner of the Michael L. Printz Honor in 2001 and the South Carolina Book Award for Young Adults in 2003. ( )
  KoryD | Jul 16, 2013 |
I've always liked reading mysteries, and this one did not disappoint - in fact, I stayed up late to finish it because I had to know how it ended. The plot centers on the disappearance of Christopher Creed, an unpopular "weirdo" and longtime classmate of the main character, Torey Adams, in the town of Steepleton. Though Creed's parents insist at first that he has run away, soon rumors that he has been murdered begin to swirl around the school. The way that the topic is treated casually bothers Torey, who seems to have more of a conscience - a more developed sense of empathy - than his friends. Torey has to know what happened to Chris Creed, and he slowly pulls away from his popular friends and begins to hang out with those on the fringes - who, he discovers, are not at all the way their reputations led him to believe they would be.

Torey muses a lot about the nature of popularity and friendship, the role that rumors and gossip play in the town (both in high school and among grown-ups), truth and lies and hypocrisy:

"It was easier to point the finger at somebody else. If Creed had written that note, we would have had to point the finger at ourselves, or at least take a good long look at our ways and agonize over questions. Like, could we have played it out differently? Could we have been nicer? Do we have a heartless streak, and can we be bastards?....Maybe it was my time in life, or maybe it was this whole thing with Creed. But something inside of me felt totally ready to be completely nice to the rejects - people like Creed, the boons - and to be somebody who's not so drowning in surface junk." (59)

"This weird kid leaves, but the weirdness stays. It starts coming out of everybody else. I felt like Chris's ghost was in us, trying to make us understand." (117)

"I wondered if being a geek made you a better, less judgmental person." (130)

"Flocks of kids were all doing their usual homeroom things - talking, laughing, finishing up homework they didn't do before. But they had fangs like snakes that came out when something rubbed them wrong. I knew it. I'd been part of it. They could bite. They could ruin my life..." (130)

"...I felt very close to Creed. I could feel all his confusion over what was real and what was made up in his own head. I felt his wish for make-believe to come alive, for some sort of control over the universe so that if life started to suck, you could just imagine something else into existence." (215)

"This was the most dangerous kind of lying, it struck me, the kind that was happening to me now - where people need the lie so badly they become convinced the lie is true. It's dangerous because they can tell the lie with so much belief that it sounds like the truth, and they can make other people believe it." (216)

"I've stayed awake wondering what people think when they spit out some enormous lie, like, do they even stop to think, Why am I saying this?." (238)

"Some people like to state their opinions as fact. I'm sort of the opposite. I'm afraid of believing some lie for the sake of convenience." (238)

These musings don't slow down the pace of the story, however; this is a book with plot and suspense as well as good characters. Torey tells the story at a slight distance from the events; the reader learns right up front that he has transferred to a boarding school to get away from Steepleton. He is still searching for Creed, via the internet, and at the end of the book there are four responses that he has received: the "most flattering," "most insulting," "mostly likely to be from Chris Creed in disguise," and the "reply that makes me believe totally that Creed is alive." That final reply will most likely convince the reader, as well.

A final note: at one point in the story, Torey suffers some trauma and talks to a therapist afterward. Torey says, "I mean, I just don't understand how people can show all the violence [in visual representations of Jesus]. But they single out [cover up] the nudity. Nudity is a problem, but all the violence isn't. I don't understand people." Dr. Fadhi replies, "We live in a culture that has definite quirks about both sex and violence" (226). This is an insightful observation for a teenage boy to make, but it is true that American morality is much more concerned with sex than with violence.

( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carol Plum-Ucciprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Plum-Ucci, CarolAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Ellen...And Sara, Colleen, Merc, Nathan, Krystle (rest in peace), Amber, Joey, Dave, Rickey, Jon, Brandon, and all the other teenagers who have so richly blessed my life...
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I had hoped that a new start away from Steepleton would make my junior year seem like a hundred years ago, rather than just one.
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Book description
When Christopher Creed, the class freak and whipping boy, suddenly disappears without a trace, first his fellow students, then all the citizens of Steepleton join in to speculate on what could have happened to him. As fingers begin pointing the town starts to fall apart and several lives are changed forever. Innovative and intense, The Body of Christopher Creed will grab the reader and hang on until its chilling conclusion. (978-078681641-5)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786816414, Paperback)

The often-tortured class weirdo has disappeared, leaving an enigmatic note on the school library computer. Is he a runaway, a suicide, a murder victim?

Sixteen-year-old Torey Adams and his friends remember beating up Chris Creed when his gentle but obnoxious ways exasperated them. Now that he is gone, they joke uneasily about him to ease their guilt. The town is full of ugly rumors, as Torey's lawyer mother tells them "See, guys, this is what happens when a kid suffers a personal tragedy. Nobody wants to take responsibility. Nobody wants to admit they had a part in it. So, they spend a lot of time pointing the finger, and things just get worse and worse." Suspicion of murder conveniently falls on big, tough Bo Richardson, an outcast "boon" from the boondocks edge of town. Torey's smug assumptions about people are rattled when he discovers that his childhood friend Ali is secretly romantically involved with Bo, who displays surprising tenderness and maturity in caring for her.

The three try to solve the mystery of Chris's disappearance by attempting to steal his diary, but only succeed in implicating themselves, as the town is consumed with rumors and the revelation of adult secrets. Torey begins to find himself distanced from his other friends by his growing understanding of the importance of compassion toward those who are different. The Body of Christopher Creed challenges teens to think about the damage done when lines of exclusion are drawn between people. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:31 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Torey Adams, a high school junior with a seemingly perfect life, struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast.

(summary from another edition)

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