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ACCOMPLICE by Eileen Corrigan

High school juniors and best friends Finn and Chloe hatch a daring plot to fake Chloe's disappearance from their rural New Jersey town in order to have something compelling to put on their college applications, but unforeseen events complicate matters.

From the Publisher: Their plan: A fake abduction The results: Unpredictable Finn and Chloe's advisor says that colleges have enough kids with good grades and perfect attendance, so Chloe decides they'll have to attract attention another way. She and Finn will stage Chloe's disappearance, and then, when CNN is on their doorstep and the nation is riveted, Finn will find and save her. It seems like the perfect plan--until things start to go wrong. Very wrong. It was supposed to be a victimless crime. Finn was supposed to be the good accomplice,and Chloe was supposed to be the hidden object of attention. But when things intensify, their plan isn't so innocent anymore.

Grades 7-10. Desperate to improve their visibility to colleges, two girls hatch a scheme to make them stand out from the crowd. The plan is simple; its execution, less so. Chloe would take off on her horse, which would then return home without her, signaling her disappearance. Meanwhile, Finn, her best friend, would hide Chloe in a basement, see that she had food, and then “discover” Chloe as she stumbled out of the woods 11 days later. The girls had counted on the psychological challenges of Chloe’s loneliness and Finn’s lies. What they hadn’t anticipated are the plans’ unexpected repercussions, which result in the destruction of another life and the compromising of their souls. Corrigan has crafted a complex, heart-wrenchingly plausible YA thriller. Peopled with multifaceted teen and adult characters, the story flows from secrets to lies, from a few harsh words to terrible accusations, and from supreme innocence to soul-sucking guilt. A fascinating character study of individuals and an entire town, this tension-filled story will entice readers with a single booktalk.
Horn Book (Spring 2011)

To stand out to colleges, Finn and her best friend Chloe decide to stage Chloe's disappearance, leading to (as they had hoped) a national media story. But as their town begins to unravel and an innocent classmate is arrested, Finn slowly comprehends the enormity of the lie. Somehow, Corrigan manages to make Finn sympathetic in this suspenseful, thought-provoking story.
Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2010)

In the tradition of YA suspense master Gail Giles, Corrigan creates a tense, bare-bones thriller that both provides a nerve-wracking ride and reveals its central characters' greed, selfishness and capacity for evil. When the story opens, city-born golden girl Chloe Caffrey has disappeared, putting the New Jersey farm town of Colt River and, soon, national TV audiences into a panic. Only narrator Finn, Chloe's best friend, knows the truth: Chloe's disappearance is a hoax. In 11 days, Finn will "discover" Chloe in the woods, and the two girls hope the fame they achieve will secure them places at the nation's most selective colleges. Though college admission seems less than compelling as a motive for such a destructive scheme, the tension is real and unrelenting. Chloe's calculating indifference is a perfect, chillling foil to Finn's mounting distress as both girls' families react, guidance counselors and fellow students pry and a shy boy from school is taken into police custody as a suspect. A dark page-turner with a satisfying resolution. (Suspense. 12 & up)
Library Media Connection (August/September 2010)

Finn and Chloe believe they must do something extra special to make them stand out to potential colleges. After deciding that everyday good works just won?t do, Chloe decides to arrange her own kidnapping; she and Finn meticulously plan this event. Without regard to the consequences or the impact on others, Chloe even lays an evidence trail to a likely suspect. Disturbingly, Finn follows through with all the plans for several days. Finn?s narration combines past, present, and future in a confusing jumble throughout the novel. In a twist, that somewhat makes the novel worthwhile, Finn finally begins to question Chloe and the chaos the ?kidnapping? causes. Readers making it to the end of the novel will be disappointed by the less than satisfying resolution. Additional Selection. Charla Hollingsworth, Library Media Specialist, Hastings Ninth Grade Center, Alief, Texas
Publishers Weekly (August 23, 2010)

Corrigan delivers an addictive cautionary tale in this twisted unraveling of mean girl machinations. The surprisingly likable (if tragically duped) narrator, junior Finn Jacobs, acerbically reveals the inside story on how she and her best friend Chloe fake Chloe's disappearance, hiding her in Finn's grandmother's basement for 11 long days. "It started as a joke. A sick joke really, the kind that Chloe and I could only tell each other because anyone else would think we were terrible people." The goal of this deranged plot is to make both of them stand out in competitive college admissions; however, readers will suspect before Finn the extent of Chloe's ambitions. Tension mounts as Finn finds it easier to lie and simultaneously becomes isolated by her secrets, especially as the facade of her friendship with Chloe cracks. As Finn realizes the consequences of her role, Corrigan (Ordinary Ghosts) balances her guilt and remorse with realizations about the underlying power dynamic of the girls' relationship. This commentary on the fictions underlying celebrity culture and the cruelty and bravery of this memorable heroine are both haunting and provocative. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (October 1, 2010)

Gr 8 Up-Looking for a way to differentiate themselves from all the other great students applying to prestigious universities, Finn and Chloe fake the latter's disappearance in order to attract attention. Chloe conceived this plan after following the media frenzy over an abducted teen's return to her family, sure that the now-famous Margaret Cook will be accepted to any college. Though plagued with doubts, Finn keeps a straight face while lying to everyone, occasionally sneaking out to check on Chloe, who is hiding in her vacationing grandmother's basement. Despite having discussed every extenuating circumstance imaginable, the girls are stunned when police arrest Chloe's friend Dean for her murder, a crime only they know he did not commit. They stage her return from her "kidnapping" with surprisingly few complications, but things are never the same between the two best friends. Describing events from Finn's first-person perspective, Corrigan paints a complex portrait both of a family in grief and the emotions involved in deception. She deftly captures the way one mistake can lead to others, snowballing into a situation that seems insurmountable. Unfortunately, the story's premise is a bit hard to swallow. With modern society offering so many other routes to becoming a celebrity, it's hard to believe the teens would take this one. Readers who can get past that will find this well-paced, mature, psychological tale is impossible to put down.-Jennifer Barnes, formerly at Homewood Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.