Reconstructing Amelia- a review

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Reconstructing Amelia

by Kimberly McCreight

published by HarperCollins

2013

Summary

A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter’s life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can’t believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who’s never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate’s faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she’d done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn’t jump.

Sifting through Amelia’s emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall’s roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It’s about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

(from Goodreads)

My Review

I heard lots of good thing about this book, and though the subject is very sad, I decided to read it.  This was a completely heart wrenching story for me.  As a mother of two teenagers, the premise of a teenager throwing themselves off of the roof of their school, after being accused of plagiarism scares the hell out of me.  This is the story of successful lawyer and single mom kate, and also that of her daughter, Amelia.  As the book begins, Amelia has gotten into trouble at school and Kate must leave a very important meeting to go pick her up.  When Kate arrives at the posh private school in Brooklyn, police are everywhere.  Kate soon learns that it seems Amelia, distraught over her suspension, has committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the school.  As Kate mourns and attempts to pick up her life, she begins to doubt that Amelia really jumped, that she might have been pushed.  Kate delves into Amelia’s life, discovering there was much about her daughter that she didn’t know.

This was a very quick read and I would recommend it.  I have heard it compared to Gone Girl, which I am not too sure about.  I t did have a little element of mystery, but we already know WHAT happened to Amelia, just not HOW.  The hard part of this book is that to find the answers, we also feel Kate’s pain.  When she discovers things that are going on at Amelia’s school it sent shovers down my spine.  Parents try to raise their kids and eventually need to let them stand on their own.  The difficult phase of this is usually the teen/high school years, as children become adults and make choices and decisions for themselves.  We know they will make good and bad ones, and try to help them navigate these hard times, all the while being less involved in their lives.

(I actually thought the part of the story about the secret clubs in the high school would make a very good cautionary tale for a YA book)

I would love to hear your thoughts- please leave a comment!

My Rating

4 out 0f 5

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Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thought

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.

1.  I did a good amount of shopping at Target over this past month, so when I woke up and saw the news, I was all-WTF!!!  Nice way to start the holidays.

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2.  Over the last week and a half, we have had 4 winter storms.  4!  There have been snow days and delayed openings galore.  My son’s school actually called a “at home school day”, where from 10-3, the teacher posted work online and the kids did it and submitted it.  That wasn’t so bad.

But seriously, the wrapping needed to be done.  Remember I told you I am the sole holiday worker in this household?

3.  I have been in such an awesome groove reading wise lately!  I actually read a book (Reconstructing Amelia) in less than 11 hours yesterday.  I simply could not put it down, ignoring all others until I finished. (Please, at 13 and 15, they were thrilled). I can’t wait to review it, but I need to give myself a few days.  It made such an impression, that I kept having dreams about it last night!

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4.  Last week, I was dreading getting back out on the slopes- well, I did it!

This is what I looked like- yeah right.

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No broken bones or anything though, but now hubby is trying to convince me I can move onto the next level slopes.  I don’t think so.

5.  I hate it when you think you are totally done with the shopping for gifts, only to realize after you have wrapped, that you forgot something.  Guess I am hitting Marshall’s tomorrow.

6.  Getting very excited for the holidays!  We have a pretty cool tradition.  We stay home on Christmas Eve, decorate our tree, and have a fancy dinner.  This year my daughter insisted on lamb chops.  Then we exchange one gift, usually a jokey gift, then watch Scrooged in front of the fire.   Do you have any fun holiday traditions?

Please leave a comment- I love hearing from you!