Review : Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
From the back of the book :
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 “spontaneous” 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.
My Thoughts :
It was a few months ago that I bought Reconstructing Amelia. At the time I hadn’t heard much about it, but I was intrigued by its mystery. Since then it has received mostly great feedback on some of my favorite blogs, and so I was excited to finally pull it from the TBR pile for the R.I.P. challenge.
Told from both Amelia’s and her mother’s point of views, Reconstructing Amelia delivered most of what I hope for from a good mystery novel: good pacing, good intrigue, interesting characters. It wasn’t without faults; I felt the beginning was a bit slow going, and the plot was a bit confusing. There were so many threads of clues, questions to answer, and in the end the conclusion felt a little bit rushed. I definitely would have wished for a more concise story.
This being said, I was quickly hooked to the story, wanting to find out what happened to Amelia. I really liked the dual narration, and I thought seeing Amelia’s life through her eyes made the story even more emotional; knowing she was going to die but not why or how brought me closer, as a reader, to imagining what her mother might feel like.
I also think that, in the current trend of “mystery novels with unlikable characters” that was set in motion by Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl’s success, Reconstructing Amelia offers something different. The main characters are likable, the story is dark but not as twisted, the conclusion is actually satisfying. While it is more predictable and “obvious” in its machinations, it offers a more emotional story that that didn’t weight as heavily on my shoulders once I was done with it (and I did enjoy Gone Girl; the books simply offer different things!)
All in all, Reconstructing Amelia was a mystery I enjoyed. I liked how the emails and texts were included in the story, and the author did a great job of differentiating Amelia and Kate’s voices. It was a quick read, and it was definitely really on topic with themes of suicide, bullying, and more.
Reconstructing Amelia was my first read for the R.I.P. challenge; bonus points for the book since it takes place in the fall season, which makes it an even better pick for the challenge!
While my idea of perfect autumn reads consists more of twisted, creepy, gothic and/or disturbing stories, I found this book to be a great pick to start with. The mystery part was definitely there, and the secrets uncovered had their own twisted origins. If you don’t like to be scared but enjoy a good mystery, this one might interest you.