Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight


A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter's life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

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.

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.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It's about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

Publication Date: April 2, 2013

I’ve seen this book compared to Gone Girl a lot and since I found that book hard to put down, I looked forward to picking up this one as well. Reconstructing Amelia was a well-done suspense novel that touched upon a lot of hot-button issues like teen bullying.

The book opens with Kate being called to the school to pick up her teen daughter. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something very uncharacteristic for her. Before Kate arrives, Amelia has fallen from the roof in an apparent suicide. In the weeks following, Kate makes it her mission to find out what really happened to her daughter.

I liked the alternating POVs (Amelia and Kate) and it made me especially connect with Amelia as a character. It was easy to see she was a good and smart girl who was manipulated by the people around her. Kate’s character was harder for me to connect with. She was really na├»ve as a mother and I also didn’t feel her grief over losing her daughter. Amelia is Kate’s entire world and I just didn’t feel her anguish over that being taken away.

As far as the mystery aspect, I thought it was well done. There were a few great twists that had me thrown. Some of the plot was predictable, but I still found it interesting how the author weaved all of the different pieces together to reconstruct what had happened to Amelia.

This was a good read that I’d recommend for anyone looking for a character driven suspense novel. This is the author’s debut and I think she did an excellent job.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this novel for review!


  1. You've gotten hold of some pretty great books lately, eh? Sounds like the kind of book I'd read. :) Thanks for sharing your awesome review. WRITE ON!

  2. I found this book too be so literally was one of those really yummy books that I had to pry myself away from. It had a nice resounding ending...sort of sad but still good.