Accomplice is one of the darkest YA titles I've read in a long time. It's an absorbing tale about two friends who concoct a plan to fake a kidnapping: beautiful Chloe will disappear into thin air, and after eleven days - time enough for the mystery to make headlines - her less-photogenic best friend Finn will rescue her.
Initially, narrator Finn isn't the most likeable of characters. While Chloe's parents are desperate with worry over their supposedly missing daughter, partner-in-crime Finn focuses on arranging her facial features into expressions that reflect what she should be feeling. She recites her lines, masks her scorn at her classmates' overblown displays of emotion, and mentally congratulates herself on the effect the plan is having. Apart from a snarky sense of humour, she at first makes for a cold and self-serving protagonist. However, it's not long before Finn realises she's losing control of the situation. Chloe's disappearance has consequences that neither girl seems to have forseen, and as events escalate it soon becomes clear that the two have quite different reactions to the chaos they've caused. Gradually we begin to see the true dynamic between them, and to genuinely care what happens to Finn.
Accomplice is at heart a psychological thriller. This is complex, uneasy storytelling, laced with subtle foreshadowing and wickedly clever imagery. Finn's paranoia is practically contagious as she finds herself caught between wanting to end the nightmare she and Chloe have created, and knowing that if she does she could lose everything.
Full of edgy, dark atmosphere, Accomplice is the kind of book that fills the reader with apprehension about what lies ahead. It also makes you think about our society's values and our readiness to buy into our own manipulation at the hands of the media. It's chilling and twisty and compulsive. Read it.
Out: July 5th 2010, UK / August 1st 2010, US
Thank you to Chicken House for providing a review copy of this book.