Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: June 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/ Contemporary
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Jamie Henry can’t forget his crazy sister Cate, who went to juvie two years ago. Cate is out now, and she is coming back for Jamie.
I luh-ved Charm & Strange, Kuehn’s first book so I jumped at the chance to read Complicit. And while I didn’t have as much of an emotional reaction to this one, I do think it’s a special book filled with twists, turns and craziness.
Jamie is the good guy, now that his crazy sister Cate is locked up. He’s been adopted by caring, loving and wealthy parents. Cate was adopted by them too, but she lashed out and wound up in juvie. Now Cate is out and with her comes a whole bunch of pain that Jamie does not want to remember.
The book moves super fast. I read it in one sitting. Easily digestible and quite the page turner. There is a lot of misdirection, so much so that I too, like many other reviewers out there, was totally floored/surprised/flabbergasted by the ending. Well written with a nail biting plot, Complicit moves fast between flashbacks and present times. Jamie as we know him and Jamie as he was, Jamie as he is with Cate and Jamie without her. Once you pick up the book, you don’t want to put it down.
That said, there were a couple of things that nagged at me. First, I did not like Jamie. I did not like Cate. In fact, I didn’t like any of the characters. Jamie is so driven by anxiety, he’s really hard to like. Sometimes I thought his dialogue was strange and out of sorts for a character who is so riddled with intense unhappiness and depression and anxiousness. Cate is hard to get to know. Through Jamie’s eyes, her actions are irratic, strange and manipulative. There’s a reason they call her Crazy Cate. I find it hard to really connect with the book when I don’t like any of the main characters and sadly, Complicit is no exception.
And the ending, of course. I’m not going to give anything away, but it really did a number on me. I finished it, sat back, and had to re-read the last part again because 1. I wasn’t sure that actually happened and 2. I am not sure how I felt about it. And honestly, I’m still not sure! Did I like the ending? I don’t know. I like what Kuehn was trying to do. It’s original and terrifying and most readers will love it. But did I like it? It’s been days and I’m still not sure.
But maybe that’s because I didn’t care for any of the main characters so I wasn’t emotionally invested in them enough to care about that thing that happened in the end.
Overall, I think most readers will enjoy the book for it’s creepy plot, good writing and woven story. I’m just not sure if I did.
Rating 6 Good