Review – Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight


Reconstructing Amelia

by Kimberly McCreight

Summary: Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is shocked when her daughter’s exclusive Brooklyn private school calls to tell her that Amelia—her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old—has been caught cheating. But when Kate arrives at Grace Hall, she’s blindsided by far more devastating news: Amelia is dead. Despondent, she’s jumped from the school’s roof. At least that’s what Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. It’s what she believes, too, until she gets the anonymous text: Amelia didn’t jump. Now, Kate is going to find the truth—no matter where it leads. Sifting through Amelia’s e-mails, text messages, and Facebook posts, Kate reconstructs the pieces of her daughter’s life and the people in it, uncovering why she was on Grace Hall’s roof that day—and how she died.

A superb blend of Tana French and Jodi Picoult, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, friends and bullies. It’s about how well any parent really knows their child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

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Source: I purchased a paperback


Have I mentioned that I will totally look twice at a book if it says anything about Gone Girl? I’m the worst. I loved how I felt reading that book and I’m constantly on the lookout for similar mystery novels that are less crime or whodunit and more like Gone Girl. I don’t even know if there’s a subgenre for these books, but that’s my thing. And not only does the quote on the front mention Gone Girl, but the synopsis includes references to Tana French and Jodi Picoult. It’s like they just tried to market a book to me. So I bought it.

Reconstructing Amelia was great. I enjoyed the plot quite a bit. Kate was an interesting character because she cared so much about her daughter, but wasn’t around very much because she was trying to maintain a high stress career as a litigation lawyer. Juggling the single mom thing, raising a teen, and still trying to stay on top of a stressful career is something I can’t even begin to understand. Amelia was the kind of teenage girl I could relate to. A lover of books, rules, writing.. I could totally get her.

Like the title implies, the book attempted to reconstruct who Amelia was before she died in order to find out how she could have ended up on the roof of the school. Kate carried a lot of guilt not knowing much about her daughter’s day to day life and she felt like a failure, despite Amelia’s obvious love for her mom. Amelia was a rule follower, a reader, and a successful teenager. Her best friend was the boy crazy fashionista type, but never seemed to sway Amelia to be a degenerate. So when Amelia was caught cheating on an English paper, Kate was shocked. And when she arrived at the school, suddenly cheating was the least of her problems, because Amelia jumped off of the roof and was dead. From the school’s ominious clubs, the lack of information the school chose to give, the shady policework in Amelia’s case… there was something going on and Kate finally grieved enough to ask the right questions.

I had NO idea what happened. Even as the story went on and so many layers of craziness were being unraveled, I had no clue as to how Amelia died. Sometimes I thought she committed suicide. Sometimes I thought she fell. Sometimes I thought someone pushed her and who it was changed constantly. I loved how unpredictable it all was.

I liked the way the book ended. I didn’t see any of it coming and I felt like I had a better understanding of each and every one of the characters when it all came together. I definitely recommend the book. It really was a blend of Tana French and Jodi Picoult, with a bit of a Gone Girl feeling as we got to know the characters.



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