Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

April 10, 2013 General Fiction, Harper Books, Mystery/Suspense, Review 4

  • Hardcover: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 2, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 006222543X
  • Source: Publisher

Kate is a single mother working long hours as a partner at a law firm. Her teen daughter, Amelia has a bright future ahead of her, a well-respected student at the local prep high school.  When Kate receives a phone call from Amelia’s school one day, she’s shocked to learn that Amelia has been suspended. Unable to get any details over the phone, she rushes through traffic to Amelia’s school. When she gets there over an hour later, she is too late. Upon arriving at the school, she sees rescue vehicles parked in front. Within minutes of her arrival she learns that Amelia is dead, allegedly killed after jumping off the roof of the school.

In the weeks that pass, Kate must get used to being alone again. Although she worked long hours, she always made time on the weekend to spend with Amelia. Just as she starts to get back to her usual routine, she receives a text from a blocked number: Amelia didn’t jump. This text is the first of many she receives from this number. Desperate to learn more she contacts the police who had, based on the medical examiner’s report, had written Amelia’s death off as a suicide. When new evidence is uncovered, Kate learns that Amelia’s death was in fact a homicide. With the aid of a Lieutenant from the local police, Kate begins going through Amelia’s email, Facebook posts and more trying to recreate the last days of her life. Riddled by guilt, Kate soon realizes there was a lot she didn’t know about her teen daughter. To make matters worse, secrets Kate kept about the identity of Amelia’s father have surfaced. Is it possible that she is partially to blame for the cruelty her daughter experienced in the last days of her life?

Reconstructing Amelia is a heartbreaking examination of teen life and the lengths that youth will go through to be accepted. Told with haunting insight on the mysterious life of teens. From hazing to sexuality, drugs, and first secret loves, McCreight reveals a truly chilling plot that, unfortunately, isn’t far from reality. Her characterization is above par, using alternating chapters and points of view the author builds truly dynamic characters. Kate is a hard-working single mother, trying to do best for her daughter. Amelia is a teen, struggling with her own sexuality and identity amidst a world governed by social media. In addition to this shift of point of view, flashbacks to the past and unique formatting really aid in the overall flow and pacing of the novel.

As the mother of a teen myself, I wasn’t necessarily shocked but chilled to read about the cruelty displayed by those in the “in crowd.” The role of social media in the lives of teens plays a key role, reminding me just how many ways youth can be bullied in current society. This novel is a good reminder about the importance of open communication and support between parent and child, no matter how busy or complex life may get. I was stunned to learn that this is McCreight’s debut novel because her writing displays talents that typically only come with years of experience.  This is a novel that will haunt me, but remind me to never take for granted the relationship we have with our son, no matter how challenging and difficult may get.  Highly recommended, specifically for young adults or parents with teen children.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to review this title. Please be certain to check out the other stops along the way; I guarantee this is a book that will generate a great deal of discussion!

Find out more about the author at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.


4 Responses to “Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight”

  1. Anita
    Twitter: anitalovesbooks

    Thanks for a great review, I bought it after I read Swapna’s review last week, really caught my attention.

  2. Pabkins
    Twitter: Pabkins

    My partner April is reading this right now. Sounds good but I’m super picky about my contemporary type titles.