Monday, July 29, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

by:  Kimberly McCreight
published by:  Harper Collins
publish date:  April 2, 2013

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. 

This is a story about Amelia's death.  Detectives initially rule her death a spontaneous suicide in light of the cheating allegations.  Kate, in her grief, doesn't question the finding until anonymous text messages start coming saying that Amelia didn't jump.  

When Kate starts investigating she learns about the dark side of her daughter's school.  Amelia belonged to a secret club and she had been trying to find out about the real identity of her father.  

The story is told in alternating view points of Kate's present day investigation and Amelia's past experiences.  It's told using emails, text messages, and Facebook statuses.  I liked that aspect of the book.  It made the book current and today's readers can relate those things to today's teens.

I ended up liking this book a lot more than I expected to.  It was a very good mystery.  There was the question of whether or not Amelia did jump and if she didn't, who pushed her, but also intertwined with that story was the question of who was Amelia's father and how did that play into any of it, if at all?  So great debut novel!  It reminded me somewhat of Kate White's The Sixes.  If you've read either one and want more of the shadowy underworld of secretive school clubs those books go hand in hand I think.

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