Book Review: Reconstructing Amelia

June 14, 2013 book review, bullying, coming of age, family, gay, lesbian teen, mystery, secrets, social groups, suicide 3

Written By:  Kimberly McCreight

Published By:  Harper Collins Publishers

Length:  384 pages

Source: Purchased for Nook

Kate Baron is an attorney, long hours, much stress, the goal of partnership in her sights.  On October 24 she is called out of a meeting for a phone call from her daughter Amelia’s school.  Grace Hall is a private school in Brooklyn, progressive by most standards.  Amelia has been suspended for three days…how can this be possible, her daughter is a great student, she’s not a trouble maker, she’s athletic, and volunteers, there must be a mistake Kate thinks. Naturally a parent has to pick her up immediately, and Kate is in Manhattan, but she says she will be there and her long journey to Grace Hall begins. Fire engines and ambulances are at the gates to the school, police officers are directing pedestrians away from the sidewalk.  She has to be assertive to get in, and when she gives her name to an officer, a detective finally meets her and wants to talk.  This does not sound good Kate thinks.  She doesn’t want the long version, where is my daughter, is she ok, she has to be fine she cries.  Detective Molina tells her that Amelia has fallen from the roof, she didn’t survivie, Amelia is dead.

This riveting book is told from Kate’s point of view, both current and past, and also from journal entries, facebook updates, texts and blog posts from 15 year old Amelia. Also from email an off beat newsletter that dishes the dirt at Grace Hall. Amelia’s death is ruled a suicide. As Kate searches for answers she learns much more about Amelia from her social media and computer than she had ever known.  Kate became curious when she received an anonymous text that said Amelia didn’t jump.

In a wild series of reading her texts, online messages and message boards and facebook both Kate and a new detective begin to believe there is much more going on at Grace Hall and other influences and persons may have been instrumental in what happened to Amelia.  Kate tries Sylvia, Amelia’s best friend, but Sylvia is beyond distraught  and isn’t very helpful.

The secrets in this book just go on and on…and once you start reading you will not want to stop!  The teen characters are so well written, and I say this having teens and knowing that some of the things in Grace Hall are really going on.  These teens and their actions are disturbing at times. There is some behavior from adults that seems a bit off the mark, and a few investigative situations that seem unnatural that had me questioning the reality at times.  For this reason I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars.  The relationship between mother and daughter, spot on…often strained, oh how I could write those parts! The emotional urge to know why your child would commit suicide or why someone else would wish her dead…compelling, and well written.

I liked this book very much, and I was surprised at the end, even if I did have to suspend reality a bit.  Recommend.

3 Responses to “Book Review: Reconstructing Amelia”

  1. Review: Where They Found Her | Anita Loves Books

    […] and speculation has surrounded the second book of author Kimberly McCreight.  Her first book, Reconstructing Amelia, was a major success.  I’m thrilled to say I enjoyed this book as much as or more perhaps […]

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