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Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

There’s no escaping crazy.

Interests/Topics: family relations, mental illness, teenage angst, suspense, crime, anxiety

Curriculum Connections: English, Health and Physical Education

Gender: M/F

Age: 12+

Blurb: I used to fight with my sister pretty much all of the time. I think that arguing is common between siblings, but it drove my mom nuts and she’d yell at us to knock it off already. Dad didn’t say much about the bickering, but if my sister and I fought in the car, he’d swing his arm into the backseat to smack whomever he could reach. We learned quickly how to press ourselves up against the car doors.

My relationship with my sister improved dramatically once we were no longer roommates. It’s amazing what a little space can do for siblings: I live the way I want, she lives the way she wants, and we even miss being around each other. It also helps that neither one of us is a psychopathic lunatic.

Jamie Henry isn’t so lucky. When his sister Cate fights with him, or anyone else for that matter, bad things happen. Really bad things. After one exceptionally bad thing lands Cate in juvenile detention, Jamie breathes a sigh of relief. She’s locked away and maybe now everyone will forget that he’s the little brother of Crazy Cate Henry.

But people won’t forgive what they can’t forget and Jamie pays the price. Rumours fly about town, his friends abandon him, and the stress literally cripples him. And now Cate’s been released and she’s sworn to find him.

As it turns out, there’s no escaping crazy.

Flavour: “’She’s got no reason to come back here, James. None. We’ve seen the last of her.’ I nod again. This is the sentiment I’d like to believe, but I don’t. There are things that I know about my sister that no one else does. Bad things. Things I can’t say. Not without hurting Angie and Malcolm or causing them grief, and I don’t have it in me to do that. So instead, I lift my chin and smile warmly at my adoptive parents. This is good, reassuring. My actions send the message that I’m fine, totally fine. I’m not fine, of course. Not even close. But like I said, it’s so rarely the thought that counts.” (7)


“That’s when I see it. Not a text: a voice mail. From an unlisted number. My ringer’s off, which is how I missed the call, but deep down, I sort of expected this. That’s part of fate or karma or kismet, isn’t it? Getting what you deserve. Well I definitely deserve this:

Hey, Jamie babe. I know you know who this is. I know you know other things, too. So maybe it won’t come as a surprise when I tell you I’ll be coming back to Danville soon and that the person I want to see most is you. Then again, I’ve been wrong before, haven’t I? So why don’t you go ahead and consider this fair warning.”  (26)


“There’s more crashing. I think she’s dropped the phone on the ground….Then comes a bunch of muffled breathing and a frantic, gasping, ‘Jamie?….There are things we need to talk about. You and me. Things you need to know.’ I push my hair back. I’m sweating. What the hell is going on? What does she want from me? I’m the one who knows her secrets. She wouldn’t want them to come out any more than I do.” (70)

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