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Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Monday, December 9, 2013

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 "spontald neous" 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.

Goodreads Summary

Kate experienced a mother's worst nightmare: her child appeared to commit suicide.  When Kate hears the news, she is devastated, but she also cannot believe it.  She thought Amelia was well-adjusted and happy, not on the brink of a psychological meltdown.  Kate fears that she might have to accept the worst...until she receives a text informing her that her daughter did not, in fact, jump.  If Amelia didn't jump, what happened?  This book follows the investigation of a mourning mother.

I loved how this book was told from different viewpoints.  I felt that I really got to know the characters.  Kate was a good mother; she truly loved Amelia and wanted the best for her.  Amelia was an interesting character.  She had a lot of secrets; not all of them were bad, but some seemed unnecessary and things that she shouldn't hide from her mother.  I found Amelia's love interest to just be "ok."  I did not particularly like the love interest. Amelia did not always make the best decisions and, in a way, I can see how this led to her demise.  It's always sad when a mother outlives her child.  

This book highlights the importance of communication.  If I had a daughter I would wonder what her activity was online, but I might not worry even if I should be worried.  With children accessing Facebook and other social media, bullying and lying can take a whole different form.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Lynne said...:

    I've seen this book around but haven't read any reviews on it until yours.
    It sounds interesting though and I will be adding it to my list of books to get/read.
    Thanks for writing an honest review that has piqued my interest and made me want to pick it up. :)

  1. Susan T. said...:

    This book seems to get great reviews and sounds pretty interesting. I'll check it out!

  1. Berenice said...:

    This book sounds very interesting and heartbreaking. How scary it must have been for Kate to receive that text. Goodness. I'll definitely be adding this one to my 'to-read' list. Awesome review. Thank you! =)