Imagine the unthinkable. Imagine being a mother, pouring over your daughter’s social media after her death. Then imagine trying to reconstruct her life and trying to figure out if it was suicide or homicide. That’s the premise of Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Published by Harper Perennial on December 3rd 2013
Genres: Bullying, Coming of Age, Psychological
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.
Thoughts on Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight:
There are two points of view and two timelines in this book.
- Pre Fall: 15-year-old Amelia and the downward spiral of her life as she gets sucked into a relentless whirlwind of bullying.
- Post Fall: Her mother Kate, who is trying to figure out just what happened via Facebook statuses and text messages.
Amelia is troubled, intelligent, a little lost but also grounded by the love her mother has given her. She also has a complicated but strong friendship with her best friend since childhood. Kate is busy but very present in her daughter’s life. However, she doesn’t know Amelia as well as she thinks she does.
Cyber bullying, secret societies and peer pressure
The exploration of cyber bullying, secret societies and peer pressure felt very authentic, very depressing and very scary. You are plummeted into the world of private schools, with a Gossip Girl vibe, but without any happy ending.
The pace moved briskly with lots of well concealed secrets to unwrap. The fast and furious plot twists added to the drama and intrigue. The inclusion of texts, blog posts and Facebook statuses made the book a lively read. But ultimately this book depicts the untimely death of a vibrant and interesting girl and it broke my heart along the way.
I wasn’t ready!
From the outset we knew Amelia plummeted to her death. However, I felt in denial for a lot of the book as she just felt alive and young and had so much potential,. The meaningless nature of her death shocks, even when you know it’s coming.
On the downside, there are some adult characters that felt overdone and over dramatised. It didn’t feel necessary as the plot was already sensational enough. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment but it was something I was aware of.
Reconstructing Amelia will not leave you feeling happy but is well worth reading. It is a dark, disturbing read and hammers home its points with a sledgehammer. With a powerful message and memorable characters, it makes for a stunning début novel.
|Did I feel it?|
Who should read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight?
I’d highly recommend this book to you if you like books with lots of plot twists, a theme of cyber bullying and a private school setting. I think it will appeals to fans of both psychological thrillers and YA books as it straddles both genres. If you enjoyed The Girl on the Train, Tease or Dangerous Girls, then you should try one.
Talk to Trish: How would you feel about someone reading your about your private life after your death? Do you think it’s an invasion of privacy?