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The Body of Christopher Creed Paperback – November 1, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

First-novelist Plum-Ucci wraps a well-crafted mystery around a topical issue: the effect teenage intolerance can have on misfits. When class freak Chris Creed suddenly disappears, his fellow students are not so much worried but abuzz with speculation: Is he a runaway, a suicide, a crime victim? Through a complicated but believable turn of events, narrator Torey Adams, a popular 16-year-old, starts to feel some concern and resolves to find the truth. His unlikely allies are two kids of dubious social status: Ali, who is Chris's neighbor, and Ali's boyfriend, Bo, a "boon" (shorthand for boondocks) with a juvenile record. Convinced Chris's mother is to blame for Chris's disappearance, they plan to break into his house to steal his hidden diary in hopes of finding evidence. The plan backfires: Bo is caught, Torey is implicated and all three are the subject of malicious gossip that proves to have dangerous consequences. Told as a flashback, the novel drags slightly at the beginning. Plum-Ucci, however, picks up the pace and builds to a fever pitch near the conclusion, vividly describing Torey's late-night hunt for Chris's body in a nearby Indian burial ground. Readers will likely be enthralled by the mystery, and, even more, they will be moved by Torey's hard-won realization that everyone deserves compassion. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152063862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152063863
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carol Plum-Ucci received one of the nation's top literary honors for her first novel, THE BODY OF CHRISTOPHER CREED, a suspense story set in the historic woods of Southern New Jersey. The novel received one of four Michael J. Printz Honor Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association, recognizing the best literature published for young adults. The novel also was a finalist in the Edgar Allan Poe Awards and was named to the Reader's International Children's Choice Awards List.

She is happy to report that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has purchased a SEQUEL TO THE BODY OF CHRISTOPHER CREED. It will be released in the spring of 2011. "For years, people asked if I would write a sequel. In fact, I don't think I've ever spoken for an audience where someone hasn't asked that," Plum-Ucci said. "I always said no because I couldn't think of anything good that would happen next. Well, one stormy Saturday night in the dead of winter, I got this totally hot idea and just went with it. It's a lot of years later, but I held out for artistic integrity--a story line that I knew would keep readers turning pages--and didn't try it just to piggy-back a book selling well. As the saying goes for me and HMH: 'We will sell no idea before its time.'"

The CREED SEQUEL focuses on Chris Creed's brother Justin, who, after four years have passed, is now 16. "The theme of bullying didn't carry over to this book--I'll be honest," Plum-Ucci said. "But that theme was always, to me, secondary to a relentless pursuit of truth theme, which engaged Torey Adams throughout. And that theme is still very present. I'm asking kids to look beyond what they can touch, see, smell--something they're not often asked to do by school districts, and I think it's both fun and important."

FIRE WILL FALL, a sequel to STREAMS OF BABEL was released by HMH in the spring of 2010. In STREAMS OF BABEL, terrorists poison the water supply in New Jersey (released in the spring of 2008), and in FIRE WILL FALL, the teenagers who drank the most WMD are fighting for their lives. "I think of FIRE as more of a character piece, so it surprised me pleasantly to see all the reviews coming in, calling it a page turner," Plum-Ucci said. Both books were immediately named Premiere Selections the Junior Library Guild upon release.

WHAT HAPPENED TO LANI GARVER, Plum-Ucci's second novel, is story of prejudice, friendship, popularity, tolerance, and individuality. The story raises a most important question: Might angels exist on earth? The novel has been selected as a featured book both in Seventeen Magazine and YM Magazine. It is named to the 2003 Best Books for Young Adults List, sponsored by the American Library Association, and is a 2004 Teen Top Ten nominee. It was nominated for the Michael L. Printz Awards for excellence in Young Adult Literature.

Plum-Ucci's third novel of THE SHE, was was nominated for BBYA (Best Books for Young Adults, The American Library Association) and received a starred review in Booklist. Her fourth novel, THE NIGHT MY SISTER WENT MISSING, was named a finalist in the Edgar Allan Poe Awards.

Plum-Ucci spent her childhood growing up on the barrier island of Brigantine, New Jersey, where her father was a funeral director. She lived overtop of the funeral home.

'My bedroom was such that if the floor were made of glass, I would have been gazing down into the face of a casket dweller,' she frequently tells audiences. 'When people ask me how I became a writer, I say it was in the middle of nights while growing up there.'

Plum-Ucci loves to tell her childhood funeral home antics, which have captivated teenage audiences across America.

She attended the Brigantine Public Schools, Atlantic City Friends School, and Holy Spirit High School, graduating in 1975. She earned her bachelor's degree in Communication from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1979. She attended Rutgers University and received her Master of Arts degree 2004.

Plum-Ucci worked as Staff Writer and Director of Publications for the Miss America Organization in Atlantic City from 1984 through 1999. She is the third generation of women in her family to contribute to Atlantic City's well-known fanfare. Her mother, Ellen Plum, was the first woman President, and her paternal grandmother, Ads Plum, was a member of the Hostess Committee.
She retired from corporate employ in June of 1999, 'about two days after my advance arrived for The Body of Christopher Creed,' she says. 'I loved being part of something historical like Miss America, and I have many great memories of working there. But I'd spent many years trying to become a published novelist, and I wanted to started enjoying that lifestyle as quickly as possible."

Her husband Rick owns the Ucci Piano Service. Together, they love gardening, going to the Margate Beach in the summers, watching Academy Award winning movies, and raising their daughter, Abbey.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book takes place in a small town called Steepleton where everyone knows everybody. There's a boy that lives in Steepleton named Chris who was constantly mocked since he was young and has suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but a
mysterious letter. No one in Steepleton knows what happened to him, not even his own mother. They don't know whether he was kidnapped, if he committed suicide or if he just left town. Now everyone in Steepleton is blaming each other for Chris'
disappearance and Torey and his friends are trying to get to the bottom of this mystery.
I enjoyed reading this book because it's suspenseful to the very end. There are so many surprises in this book, I enjoyed reading every page. The characters in this story are
complex and they have there own opinions about Chris' disappearance.
The lesson to learn is you shouldn't be cruel to people because it might not seem to affect them, but it hurts inside. Chris wasn't a bad person, he just wanted friends. Nobody cared about him until he disappeared. In this story nobody wanted to admit thatthey treated Chris badly.
I would recommend this book to people that love to read books that keep you on the edge of your seat to the very end. It was honestly one of the best books I have ever read because once you pick up this book up, you wont want to put it down until you read it to the end.
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By A Customer on September 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I can't believe this book. It had me up until all hours of the night, at some points reading, and at others, looking over my shoulder. I loved watching Torey's character develop throughout the story. I think I grew with him! Sometimes it's hard to remember what it was like to be a teenager, even for someone as young as I am. But Plum-Ucci obviously hasn't. She manages to capture all of the gut wrenching humiliation and heartache that go along with those years. And I have to admit that I was one of those kids watching from the sidelines. I never stuck up for anyone and now I am forced to look at the way I treat people as an adult. Kids aren't the only ones who can be cruel. Thanks, Carol. Not only did I enjoy it, but I learned the lesson as well.
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By A Customer on February 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
When i picked up this book I was not sure if it was going to be good or not. I had not heard much about it and had never heard of this author before. As soon as I read the first chapter of the book I was hooked. I started reading the book in the late afternoon and didnt put it down till dinner. It is a great book, and was so mysterious and suspensful. I loved it! I finished in within 2 days. I would recommend this book to anyone ages 13 and up. "The Body of Christopher Creed" is about a rich kid named Victor "Torey" Adams, who according to most people has a perfect life. When the school nerd Christopher disappears, at first nobody thinks much of it. But as the book goes on Torey becomes more and more obsessed about what happened to Christopher. Was it a suicide, a murder, or a runaway? Nobody knows. Suspicions rise and Torey finds him self loosing touch with his friends and becoming more friends with a girl named Ali who is considered a slut, but is really very nice and not one, and Bo the school "boon" aka. bully. Torey realizes Bo and Ali's true nature. This book is so great! Trust me you will not be able to put it down. I dont want ot give away the ending, so go out and get it!!
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Format: Paperback
Everyone knows someone like Christopher Creed. He is, after all, the kid you love to hate. He'll treat you like his best friend, hanging onto your every word, following you everywhere you go, even as you tell him to go away. He'll get up, smiling, after you've punched him in the mouth after saying something totally inappropriate. He's the kid we see at every high school--the one with no friends, who thinks he knows everything, loathed by all and yet oblivious to our hatred.

Except Christopher Creed wasn't totally oblivious, as shown by the email he sends to the school principal the day he ends up missing. No one seems to be sure whether Creed was contemplating running away or comitting suicide--all they know is that he's gone, disappeared as if he'd never lived in the town of Steepleton at all.

For Victor "Torey" Adams, the day Chris Creed drops off the face of the Earth is a defining, and life-altering, day for him. Suddenly confused by the way he's treated Creed in the past, ashamed by the pure glee that his fellow students seem to get out of speculating what happened to the missing teen, Torey is disillusioned with his life--and so sets out to discover what truly happened to Christopher Creed the day he went missing.

Along with two unlikely allies, a once popular girl now considered to be a [...] and a "boon" boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Torey has become obsessed with unearthing clues to Creed's mysterious disappearance. As he learns more about the strange happenings in the Creed home, as he becomes convinced that his mother is hiding something, as he wanders the woods looking for a body, Torey learns something about the way the world works--and it isn't pretty.
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