Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Title: Complicit
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release date: June 24th 2014
Pages: 256
Genre: Young Adult contemporary mystery
Source: NetGalley - I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor's fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.
But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.
Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know this one simple truth: she’s not the crazy one and never has been.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I really hate how much of the plot this synopsis gives away. It was even worse before; luckily, they took away the very last sentence that basically spoiled the very ending of Complicit. (After I had already read it, of course, but maybe this way at least other readers won't know quite as much about the ending.) I get why the publicists would want to have that in the description, since there's not much intrigue if you don't give away that Kate might not be the "crazy" one (oh, how I hate that word... But since the book uses it, I guess I'll use it too...). But it still bothers me that readers already know the biggest plot twist - that isn't really revealed until there's only, like, 10 pages left - before even starting the novel; that took away a lot of the suspense for me.

But despite already knowing how it would all turn out, I still really enjoyed the mystery in Complicit. I rationally, I knew how it was going to turn out, but I was still in denial, somehow, because I kept hoping it wouldn't be true, kept thinking of alternate things that could have happened because the reality is just too horrible to handle. I guess, in that sense, I kind of felt like the narrator himself. Even though I knew what had happened, I kept trying to figure out how exactly it all fit together. That kept me flipping the pages, desperate for the resolution, even if, rationally, I already knew what was coming.

I loved the mystery, but I'm not sure what to make of the characters or the emotional aspect of the story. I know I would have felt for Jamie if I hadn't had the book spoiled for me from the beginning on, but knowing what I knew, it was hard to work up any sympathy for him. But even if I didn't like him, per se, he was still an intriguing character that I enjoyed reading about. The secondary characters are fascinating too, because they've all been through a lot. I wish we'd gotten some more insight into some of these secondary characters, but I understand that would have been hard with the format of the story.

One thing I didn't get was the ending. Not the revelation at the end, since I already knew that was coming, but the very last scene. Just... what? I'm so confused about the implications of that scene.

Even though I already knew way too much about the plot just from reading the synopsis, Complicit is a novel I really enjoyed. Fast-paced and intriguing, Complicit is a psychological thriller I definitely recommend. Just don't read anything else about it beforehand.


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