In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, 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.
Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will find Reconstructing Amelia just as gripping and surprising.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is definitely one of the best novels I have read this year. This is somewhat of a difficult book to review, as there is so much I want to say, but I want to do so without spoilers.
First of all, if you are a mother, you will feel close to this book from the beginning. Kate’s search for answers about her daughter’s life and death are dramatic, engaging and heartbreaking. Kimberly McCreight is an emotional storyteller. Her characters are realistic, her story concise and her details all lined out to make for a reliably good novel.
There were times whilst reading this book that I found myself so enthralled with the world of Amelia, Sylvia and Kate that I forgot about my own reality. The way the author layered her story, with mystery, young love, hope and desperation and involved so many story lines without making any of it confusing or hard to believe was masterful.
The writing itself was strong and flawless and kept me interested in what was going to happen next all the way through. I was particularly impressed with the way Kate’s character was written. The realisations she had about her successes and failures as a parent were beautiful. Her determination to find out the truth never wavered, and I respected her a lot by the end of the novel.
The teenaged angst, and the mean-girl mentality was displayed in such a bold way, that it made me thankful once more that my children are home schooled. Watching the evolution of a girl into a young woman in this story was incredible. Kudos to the author for understanding what kids go through in this modern world. The involvement of social media and the new “tortures” of daily school life were handled very well.
If you are looking for a book that you won’t want to put down and that you will want to read again, this is one that I absolutely recommend. This review is based on a goodreads firstreads giveaway copy. All opinions are my own.