New York Times Bestseller
“Like Gone Girl, Reconstructing Amelia seamlessly marries a crime story with a relationship drama. And like Gone Girl, it should be hailed as one of the best books of the year.” — Entertainment Weekly
The stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter Amelia’s tragic death, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.
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.
After her teenage daughter Amelia's mysterious suicide, litigation attorney Kate Baron becomes an unlikely amateur sleuth in McCreight's diverting, if busy, debut. Kate's grief over Amelia's death and guilt about her failures as a mother are compounded by a series of anonymous text messages intimating that Amelia was actually murdered. She partners up with NYPD Lt. Lewis Thompson, who involves her, to an implausible degree, as an equal in the investigation as they trawl through Amelia's online history and interview her classmates and their families. The real story of Amelia's life and death emerges slowly, through a creative blend of Kate's present, Amelia's past, and such varied communication methods as texts, e-mails, blog entries, and Facebook status updates, leading to a chaotic landslide of climactic revelations that strains believability. Amelia's first-person narration provides the most human note, as McCreight portrays the darkness of adolescence, complete with doomed love, bullies, poisonous friendship, and insecurity. Fans of literary thrillers will enjoy the novel's dark mood and clever form, even if the mystery doesn't entirely hold together.
Sadly, a high school club of bad girls gains power over a good, smart, eager to fit in classmate. The events that unfold are heart-wrenching to watch as the club forces her to become like them. In her desperate attempt to be loved, our good girl loses on so many levels. The book is well-crafted but the story is hard to accept. As a mom of pre-teens, I'm glad to have read it and will be a more conscious watcher and listener as a result.
Likeable Characters/A Perfect Autumn in NYC Thriller
My first go around, I couldn’t get past page 10. After a few days and a second go, once I got past the mother’s (Kate) narrative and was able to following the time shifting circle structure, reading this was like a plane that had taken off and journey until it landed two days later. That’s to say, the final 355 pages was a race to finishing it before the weekend ended.
Set mostly in Brooklyn near Prospect Park in the Autumn, when NYC is its prettiest, I enjoyed every facet of this mystery thriller which wound up being more than that: a story about loving bonds between mother/daughter, best friends, colleagues, and even long lost loves.
The characters were all unique and I could, hear them and visualize them as clearly as if they were talking in front of me.
There are many moments where I found myself uncontrollably laughing aloud and even moments where I got teary-eyed.
This was an easy read with a sort God overlooking the story in the form of periodic Virginia Woolf quotes after each full structure revolution, the perfect backdrop was set as I found myself reading this while sipping a pumpkin spiced latte.
The perfect autumn story. Thanks Kimberly McCreighton for your unique story telling ability. You inspired me with lots of pretty thoughts I’ve never come across such as the “beacon always waiting for you to take you home” and a loving mother being “a curator of her daughter’s memories”(the latter definitely a tear jerker).
100 out of 100! Thanks for a taking my mind off my couch and placing me in NYC in the Autumn.
This book was bad! Too many characters and way too unrealistic. Not worth the read.