Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2013
Summary from Publisher:
Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.
An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.
Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.
When this came out earlier this year, it got rave reviews from a lot of bloggers I really like, so when I was making my Christmas list this year I knew this had to be on it! I read the entire book in one day and even stayed up late to finish it even though I was exhausted.
I could not put it down. I actually gasped towards the end, which doesn’t happen very often. There were so many twists and turns that it was impossible to suspect just one person of lying. It was so creatively written too. It was written in both the past with Amelia’s perspective and the present with Kate. Amelia’s story used Facebook posts, text messages, and emails to tell part of her story, which just added to the authenticity of the characters. This author gets teenagers.
The characters are fantastic. The reader can feel empathy for all of them while remaining critical of their choices. Kate is one of my favorite characters in a mystery ever. She balances her tough job and being a mother pretty well, but Amelia is a teenager and never feels like it is the right time. Amelia feels like a real teenager dealing with real problems. She is smart and kind, but also confused and lonely. She is so complex and any reader will want to befriend or protect her as you read what happened before she died.
Some of the villains are pretty villainous and some are just trying to get by or connect with other. I just wanted to yell at some of the characters for not talking to anyone about what was going on – both adults and teens. It was irritating, but it felt so realistic for people with their money and egos. There were a few characters that were worse than the others because they should have known better. The book made me happy for my public school upbringing.
This is the best thriller I read all year and one of the best books. I liked Gone Girl but this was way better. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. I wish we could do this for my book club because it would be perfect.