Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2013 by Harper Perennial
Purchase: [Amazon] [Book Depository]
Kate is a successful New York lawyer, and a single parent. Although it is hard, she does not regret her decision to raise Amelia on her own. Amelia is a bright, responsible, and dedicated teenager. Kate tries to do her best for Amelia and for her career, but often struggles when juggling these roles. However, she never doubts the closeness of her relationship with her daughter. Until she gets a call from Amelia’s school, Grace Hall. Amelia has been suspended for cheating. Immediately Kate is concerned—that doesn’t sound like Amelia at all. Kate tries her best to get to the school on time, but is over an hour late. By the time she gets there, a pit in her stomach is growing. The school in surrounded by police cars. There’s an ambulance as well. But everyone is just standing around. No one is rushing. When she tells a police officer who she is, the look in his eyes tells her she’s too late. Amelia is dead.
The school and the police tell Kate that Amelia jumped to her death, depressed over her suspension. In her grief, Kate can only accept this. However, a few weeks after Amelia dies, Kate receives a text telling her that Amelia didn’t jump. From that point forward, Kate is determined to find out what really happened to Amelia. And she learns that maybe she didn’t know Amelia quite as well as she thought.
This dual-perspective novel tells the story of Kate and Amelia Baron. Kate’s story leads us through her grief and investigation into what really happened to Amelia. Amelia’s story chronicles the events that lead up to that fateful day on the roof of Grace Hall.
I read this book in just over 24 hours. I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it. It was that good. I simply couldn’t put it down. As the story progressed, I got more and more involved in Kate and Amelia’s lives—I just had to know what happened next. I just had to. McCreight explores the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship, as well as friendships and first loves. Amelia’s story is that of an average teenager, caught up in a treacherous clique, and a whirlwind first love. Kate’s is that of every mother’s worst nightmare: the death of her daughter, the pang of regret that maybe she wasn’t good enough, and the revelation that her daughter had more secrets from her than she could count.
This book is everything you expect from a New York Times Bestseller—a page-turning people-pleaser. I loved it, and, if it isn’t on the top of your to-read list, you should put it there.
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.