Question: have you ever wished that you could just bounce from your life? Like, wake up one day and just start all over again as somebody else? We're willing to bet that most of you have felt this way at least once—life has a way of getting us all down from time to time—and if this is the case, then The Body of Christopher Creed, written by Carol Plum-Ucci in 2000, is totally the book for you.
This book takes a long hard look at bullying, the rumor mill, and what happens when young people are in charge of their lives, either by choice or by circumstance. Plus it's a mystery, so as gossip swirls all around our main character, Torey Adams, we get to experience the thrill of digging for the truth in a town that absolutely loves itself some lies.
This book isn't just a fun read, though; it's also a good one—otherwise it wouldn't have earned the Printz Honor Award in 2001. Not sure if you know this, but those are pretty hard to come by, and Plum-Ucci is one of only four authors to receive this distinction that year. She also won a bunch of state awards for the book, too, making The Body of Christopher Creed a pretty darn impressive debut novel.
But you probably aren't impressed by awards because you're too savvy to put much stock in what other people tell you is worthwhile. If this is the case, then get yourself a copy of The Body of Christopher Creed pronto. We think you'll enjoy forming your own opinion and will also find some kindred spirits inside.
In The Body of Christopher Creed, Torey slowly realizes he's surrounded by die-hard gossips that don't care a fig about the people they're hurting. And some of Torey's closest friends, the people he spends all his free time with? Well, they're the kids who pick on Chris Creed the most relentlessly. Heck, Torey himself even beat Chris up once, too, when he was younger.
When Chris Creed goes missing, though, something starts to change in Torey. Instead of cracking jokes about the missing weird kid, he suddenly finds himself feeling this strange new feeling called empathy, and though it makes him uncomfortable at first, he ultimately learns to embrace it. He is, if you will, a reformed bully. And while he can't take back the years he sat idly by as Chris suffered, he can bend over backward to try to let him know he cares now.
And by bend over backward, we're talking about writing what amounts to dozens and dozens of emails, along with a book-length manuscript detailing Torey's efforts to get to the bottom of Chris's disappearance. And that book-length manuscript? Well that's pretty much the entirety of The Body of Christopher Creed. So if you've ever been bullied, consider this book a declaration that there are people who care in the world. And if you've ever bullied or sat by and let bullying happen, well, consider this your how-to guide to get on the right path.
A Short Biography
A bio of Carol Plum-Ucci, the author who slept over corpses as a girl.
Curious about Pentecostalism? Check out this informative video put together by the good people at PBS.
The Shmoop Bible Guide
Did you know we have a Bible guide? Because we totally do. And if you're interested in digging deeper into some of the religious references in this book, well, we’d like to think it'll help you out.
No More Bullying
Bullying is a very real problem, and this website has resources to help you navigate it, including links to resources, videos, and more.
An article and interview with Plum-Ucci from a paper near where she lives.
A Plug for the Sequel, Following Christopher Creed
Check out Plum-Ucci's New Jersey accent, and then get excited to read the next installment in the Christopher Creed saga. Spoiler alert: there's a cute puppy in this video.
A Student-made Book Trailer
Somebody give these kids an Emmy. Bonus blooper real included.
A Torey Adams Album
Some guitar music to listen to.
It's always interesting to hear how other people read books, isn't it? Here's an excerpt for your consideration.
What's better than an author photo? One that includes their dog, of course.
The Body of Christopher Creed Cover
Here's one version of the book's cover…
The Body of Christopher Creed Cover
... and here's another version.