Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Publishing Information:St. Martin's Griffin (June 24, 2014)
Pages: 256 p.
Grades: 9-12

(From Amazon)
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 the truth about their past. A truth she's kept hidden for years. A truth she's not supposed to tell.
Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of the gripping psychological thriller Complicit from Stephanie Kuehn, the William C. Morris Award--winning author of Charm & Strange.

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Mental Illness       
Brothers & Sisters
High Schools
Mystery / Crime

Awards & Review Citations:
A YALSA 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks 07/01/2014 (EAN 9781466843059, Open Ebook)
Horn Book Magazine 07/01/2014 pg. 96 (EAN 9781466843059, Open Ebook)
Booklist 03/15/2014 pg. 72 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
Publishers Weekly 03/31/2014 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
School Library Journal 05/01/2014 pg. 133 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
Kirkus Reviews 05/01/2014 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover)
Romantic Times 07/01/2014 pg. 45 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover)
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks 07/01/2014 pg. 583 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover)
Horn Book Magazine 07/01/2014 pg. 96 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover)
PW Children's Starred Reviews 12/01/2014 pg. 104 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover)
Hornbook Guide to Children 07/01/2014 pg. 116 (EAN 9781250044594, Hardcover)

Discussion Questions and Ideas:
1. Is Jamie a sympathetic character? Is Cate?
2.  Why is Jamie so anxious about Cate getting out of juvenile detention? Do you think it was fair of his parents to keep it a secret from him
3.  What role does memory play in this story? Can you always rely on your memories to be true?
Do you think Jamie has a good relationship with his adoptive parents? Why doesn't Cate?
4.  What role did poverty play in the circumstances of Jamie and Cate's early childhood?
5.  What does Cate want from Jamie when she comes back? Is Cate a good sister to Jamie?

6.  Jamie has a lot of conflicted feelings about being adopted. How does this play out in the story?
7.  Why does Jamie stop taking his medication? Why do you think he's not honest with his therapist about this?
8.  How do you understand the falling out between Jamie and Scooter? Why doesn't Jamie have friends?
9.  Why do you think Jamie is so driven to find out the truth about his past?
10.  How did your perception of Jamie change as you read this story? Were you surprised by the ending?

Related Websites:

Author’s website:

For more information about conversion disorder:

Shock Point by April Henry, 2008
Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oats, 2005
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler, 2011
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, 2012
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn, 2013
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, 2014
The Half Life of Molly Pierce
by Katrina Leno, 2014
Far From You by Tess Sharpe, 2014
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, 2014
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, 2014
The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, 2014
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin, 2014

Other Books by the Author:
Charm & Strange, 2013
Delicate Monsters, 2015

About the Author:
(from author’s website)


Stephanie Kuehn holds degrees in linguistics and sport psychology, as well as a doctorate in clinical psychology. Her debut young adult novel, CHARM & STRANGE, was the winner of the 2014 William C. Morris Award, and her second novel for teens, COMPLICIT, was named to YALSA’s 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Stephanie was also awarded the 2015 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship for her forthcoming novel, THE PRAGMATIST, and her most recent book, DELICATE MONSTERS, has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Stephanie lives in Northern California with her husband, their three children, and a joyful abundance of pets.


I grew up in Berkeley, California, which is a quirky sort of a place with many wonderful bookstores. When I was fifteen, my very first job was working in one of those bookstores. It’s where I would go after school, and I’d read everything that I could. Back then, some of the books that had the greatest impact on my life were young adult novels, and now, as an adult, I’ve found my own passion in writing for teens.

Other passions of mine include mental health advocacy, social justice, and sports of all kinds. When I’m not writing or reading (or studying for graduate school), I’m usually outside running or playing with my family. I currently live in Northern California with my husband, three kids, and our menagerie of pets. Life is loud, joyous, and filled with animal hair.

 Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my last name is pronounced keen. I know! I don’t get it either.  -sk