The Body of Christopher Creed
|Publisher:||Harcourt Children's Books|
Chris Creed grew up as the class freak—the bullies’ punching bag. After he vanished, the weirdness that had once surrounded him began spreading. It was as if a darkness reached out of his void to grab at the most normal, happy people—like some twisted joke or demented form of justice. It tore the town apart. Sixteen-year-old Torey Adams’s search for answers opens his eyes to the lies, the pain, and the need to blame when tragedy strikes, and his once-safe world comes crashing down around him.
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