I typically don’t care for contemporary YA, maybe because I live contemporary YA for the 40 a week. Eireann Corrigan’s ACCOMPLICE was recommended to me so many times, by adults and students alike that I thought I’d give it a chance and some of my time.
It didn’t take long – my time was as good as lost before I’d finished the first page. Corrigan’s voice is a polished, yet authentic representation of youth. Her narrator is Finn, a farm-town teen whose best friend, Chloe, may have moved to the country when they were in elementary, but still has a bit of “city” about her. Chloe’s mother won’t have her daughter attending any college that doesn’t have Ivy attached to it, and Finn is determined to follow her rich alpha-friend anywhere.
When the two attend a school assembly where the speaker informs each and every audience member that good grades aren’t enough anymore – you’ve got to be unique to be competitive in the buyer’s market of modern college applications – Chloe hatches a grand scheme to throw the two of them into the spotlight at the national level.
They engineer a kidnapping – Chloe’s, because she’s the better looking one and her attractive head shots will get more press. Chloe camps out in Finn’s grandma’s house while grandma is away on a cruise, and the shock waves radiate through the small town, quickly ramping into CNN exposure once Chloe’s blonde, blue-eyed, innocent face hits the airwaves.
Finn is left with the job of lying – to her own family, to Chloe’s grief-stricken parents, the cops, the press, friends, teachers, and eventually even herself as the plan they had formulated together begins to unravel. Finn gets cropped out of their pictures when aired on the news, her farm-girl looks not quite making the cut. When it’s clear she doesn’t have the star-power, Chloe decides against Finn being the hero who saves the day by finding her friend. Instead, Chloe will save herself, and come to her best friend’s doorstep, who will “still get to be the one to call 911.”
When a hometown boy is accused of Chloe’s kidnapping, and a bloody pair of jeans and underwear is found in his truck, Finn has to ask herself – how well does she truly know Chloe? And what is she willing to sacrifice on behalf of the friend who already has so much?