Ever since freshman year, best friends Finn Jacobs and Chloe Caffrey have been joining clubs, volunteering for committees, even raising goats - anything to make sure their well-roundedness stands out on college applications. So, when a guidance counselor suggests the usual paths to getting noticed by the Ivy League are no longer good enough, the girls are shocked into coming up with a new plan. A bold plan. A plan that will grab the attention of not only admissions officers, but also the entire state, maybe the whole country.
Staging a faux kidnapping (of Chloe), complete with a heroic rescue (by Finn) isn't an easy thing to do, even for two honor students. Almost as soon as Chloe gets situated in her nice, safe, junk food-stocked hidey hole, things start to go wrong. As committed as Finn is to the plan, she's getting tired of acting the part of the bereaved best friend, lying to Chloe's frantic family, and hanging out alone all the time. She wants to get into a good college, but she's starting to wonder if the brilliant plan she and Chloe cooked up isn't one big, stupid mistake. If only Finn could convince Chloe, maybe they could sto this thing they started. But Chloe's changing, their friendship's changing, everything is changing, and Finn doesn't know how to salvage it all. Can she stop the madness before someone really gets hurt? Can she risk Chloe's friendship and both of their reputations by confessing what they've done? Or is Finn brave enough to see the kidnapping through to the end? If she can just hold on, she gets to be a hero, someone everyone will notice. That's what she wants, after all, isn't it?
Yes, that's it. The complete plot summary. You'd think there would be more to it, wouldn't you? I totally thought so, too, but ... nope. That's it. Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan is a very straightforward story that doesn't take any of the twists and turns I thought - and dearly hoped - it would. Without that kind of surprise or subtlety, the novel just kind of sputters. It gets predictable, dull and not at all realistic. I could maybe have gotten behind the story's premise if the "heroines" had some kind of altruistic motive for creating this huge hoax, but they didn't. Characters with that kind of selfish immaturity aren't sympathetic, let alone likable or admirable. Fact of the matter is, I couldn't stand either Finn or Chloe. Or this book, really. It's a bummer, too, because it had a lot of potential to be a rich, gripping psychological thriller. If only.
(Readalikes: I'm sure there are other teens-come-up-with-a-dumb-plan-that-goes-horribly-wrong stories, but I can't think of any right off the top of my head. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for language (no F-bombs) and mild sexual innuendo
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Accomplice from the generous folks at Scholastic. Thank you!