The Body Of Christopher Creed Summary

Carol Plum-Ucci

The Body Of Christopher Creed

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The Body Of Christopher Creed Summary

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American author Carol Plum-Ucci’s young adult novel The Body of Christopher Creed (2000) centers around Torey Adams, a boy who has recently moved to a new town and becomes entangled in the disappearance of the titular boy, who has vanished without a trace save for a mysterious e-mail. As Torey digs deeper into Christopher’s disappearance, he soon discovers that the missing misfit was hiding pain and secrets. The question of Christopher’s fate takes many turns, and Torey is left questioning his reality as his formerly safe world comes crashing down around him. The Body of Christopher Creed explores many themes including the nature of reality, the pressure teenagers feel to be taken seriously, and people’s desire to blame others when tragedy strikes. The book was released to overwhelming critical acclaim, being praised for its realistic and in-depth look at the way teenagers cope with tragedy. It received the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award and was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award.It was followed by a sequel, Following Christopher Creed, in 2011.

The Body of Christopher Creed begins as narrator Torey Adams moves to a new town and starts his senior year of high school at the boarding school Rothborne. Thinking back to his junior year, he remembers his former classmate Christopher Creed, who vanished without a trace save for an e-mail to the school principal. Along with his friends and father, Torey reads the last e-mail from Chris, which hints at either running away or suicide. Torey is mentioned, along with his friends, as guys who supposedly have everything. This makes Torey wonder where Chris is, and what has become of him. As the mystery begins to overwhelm him, he becomes alienated from his friends Alex, Ryan, and Renee, and even from his girlfriend, Leandra. None of them seem to take Chris’disappearance seriously. One day, Ali McDermott approaches and asks him to come to her house so she can show him something. When he visits Ali at home, he encounters her boorish boyfriend, Bo Richardson, who comes from a poorer area of town. Bo used to torment and beat up Chris. The three of them talk about Chris. Ali can see into Chris’s bedroom from her window. She tells them she saw him hide a diary in a picture frame on his wall, safe from his prying mother. She wonders if Mrs. Creed could have been involved in Chris’disappearance.They want to find the diary.

Torey comes up with a plan, calling the Creeds from a payphone and asking them for money in exchange for information about Chris. Meanwhile, Bo will break in and steal the diary. However, the plan fails and they are all arrested. Torey’s mother manages to get him out of jail, and he is shocked to find out that Bo confessed to the entire plot, including the phone call. Ali and her little brother, Greg, spend the night at Torey’s house. Torey’s mother gives Ali a notebook that Bo handed her. He claimed it belonged to Ali, but it is actually Chris’s diary. The diary reveals that Chris had a girlfriend named Isabella, a quiet, shy girl whom he had a relationship with over the summer. Then they received a prophecy from Isabella’s aunt, a psychic, that one of them would die in the woods.

Torey becomes more distant from his friends Renee and Ryan when they question him about Bo. He leaves school early, and Ali comes over to tell him that Bo has been charged. Ali and Torey spend more time together, and Leandra accuses Torey of sleeping with her. Torey and Ali go to meet Bo, but they run into Ryan and Renee, and learn that their chief of police father may be having an affair with Bo’s mother. Torey tracks down Isabella and calls her, trying to get information about Chris. When the police come to take Bo in for more questioning, Torey and Ali confess to the phone call, but no one believes them. Torey is able to talk to Mrs. Creed in the principal’s office, telling her that her son had trouble fitting in, but Mrs. Creed insists that her son had a very good life and could not have run away or killed himself.

A few days later, Torey receives a message from Isabella telling him to come over to talk about Chris. He and Ali arrive and find out that she and Chris were not in a relationship, but they did have sex. Chris made up the entire relationship in his diary. Torey meets Isabella’s Aunt Vera, and she warns him that when he is alone, he “will find him, in the woods.” Ali and Torey decide to go to the woods to try to find Chris’body. They find nothing, and Torey gets a call from his friend Alex. Alex accuses Torey of being involved with Chris’disappearance and possible murder. They get into a nasty argument, and Torey heads off into the woods alone to continue looking. After a while, he gives up, but when he turns around, he sees an Indian spirit waiting for him. He follows it to an old Indian burial ground. There, he falls and a boulder falls on him, breaking his leg. He crawls into a grave for shelter and finds a lot of old bodies, as well as one fresh one. He thinks it is Chris, but it actually turns out to be Bob Haines, a local man who went missing. Traumatized by the experience, Torey is found and recovers in a mental hospital. Not wanting to face the gossip at school, he finishes the school year at home. He realizes that truth changes by each person’s perspective. Although Chris’s body is never found, Torey starts receiving letters from a mysterious person, whom he thinks could possibly be Chris under a new identity.

Carol Plum-Ucci is an American young adult novelist and essayist, most famous for the award-winning novel The Body of Christopher Creed, and known for her complex teenage protagonists and her use of the South Jersey shore as a setting. She has written eight novels for young audiences, as well as three nonfiction books in her career.