Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

In Reconstructing Amelia, Amelia's mother, Kate Baron, is summoned to Amelia's school after Amelia is caught cheating. As she arrives, she learns that Amelia is dead from an apparent suicide; she has jumped from the roof of the school. The weeks that follow are a blur to Kate, but all of that changes the day she receives a text saying, "Amelia didn't jump". This launches Kate into a journey for the truth about Amelia's life and all of the speculation surrounding her death.

I loved this book! Even though the synopsis intrigued me, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like it. When I realized that part of the story was going to be told from Amelia's perspective and was about her online and school life, I had reservations. I was hoping it wasn't going to turn into a young adult (YA) read. My school days are long gone and my interest in young adult activity is seriously lacking. However, I found the whole book compelling and wonderfully laid out. The author was able to build suspense and reveal little details as the story moved along to keep me on the edge of my seat. I really had to stop myself from skipping ahead; I couldn't wait to find out what happened.

The thing I loved most about this book was that it seemed real. Kate's loss and pain were palpable. However, she didn't all of a sudden became an amateur sleuth or computer expert. Instead, she relied on the police and other professionals to help her find out what happened to her daughter. That's not to say she didn't strike out on her own sometimes, but you could tell that was out of sheer desperation and based on some outlandish notion.

I also loved that the story was told from two points of view: Kate's and Amelia's and that the book included snippets of texting conversations, emails, and entries from Facebook. All of that added to the book's authenticity.

The book contained a couple of quotes that I liked:
Sometimes it's hard to tell how fast the current's moving until you're headed over a waterfall. (page 106)
...some things you can't outrun, no matter how fast you move your legs. (page 330)

The other quote I liked is from USA Today and appears on the back cover:
...this disturbing tale will make readers fondly recall the days when kids got in trouble for passing (print) notes in class.

My one complaint about this book is the name for the secret club that Amelia belonged to, the Magpies. Apparently, "Magpies" were the collective, while "Maggie" was used for the individuals. While the name "Magpies" was quite appropriate considering their behaviour, I didn't understand the use of "Maggie" for the individual members. As far as I could see, the two names, "Magpie" and "Maggie" (as well as their plural forms) seemed to be used interchangeably throughout the story. It was confusing. I just wish the author had picked one or the other.

There appears to be some minor printing/binding problem with the cover of this particular book. It's not a big deal, but sometimes little things like this nag away at my OCD tendencies. Other than that, the cover is great and drew me to pick up this book initially. Had it featured the same black cover as the hardcover edition, I wouldn't have picked it up at all, which is too bad because I would have missed reading a great book.

Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

For more information about the author, please visit Kimberly McCreight's website.

I picked up this book at Costco based on the description on the back of the book.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, Harper Perennial, ©2013. ISBN 9780062225443(Trade paperback),385p.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great book, and i was hooked from the beginning, As a mom, I had tears in my eyes at the end - I can't remember the last time that happened.


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