Thursday 2 April 2015

Book ~ "Reconstructing Amelia" (2013) Kimberly McCreight

From GoodreadsLitigation 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.

Kate is the single mother of 15-year-old Amelia.  Kate gets a call one day to rush over to Amelia's private school because Amelia has been caught plagiarizing a paper.  By the time she gets there, Amelia is dead ... it appears she committed suicide by jumping the roof of the school.  Kate is numb and accepts the police's report that it was indeed a suicide ... until she gets a text that Amelia didn't jump.  Kate contacts the police and another detective is assigned to the case.  Because he feels the original detective did a shoddy job, he reopens the case to see what happened.  Kate then discovers that there was a lot of her daughter that she never knew.

This is the first book I've read by this author.  Though it took me a couple chapters to get into it, I'm glad I stuck with it as I enjoyed it.  The story is told through emails, texts, Facebook statuses, newsletter/blog posts and narrations (first person perspective when it is Amelia's voice and third person perspective when the focus was on Kate) which jumped around through different time periods (from 1997 to present time).  I usually don't mind when a book goes back and forth in time but I found with this one it took me a while to get used to the rhythm (even though the chapters had the dates) ... once I did, I was fine.  As a head's up, there is swearing (F-bomb, etc.).

I liked Kate and Amelia.  It was sad and weird knowing right away that a main character dies and then get to know her throughout the book.  I had no idea how the book was going to end ... it could have gone in a few different directions and the author ended it well.

I look forward to reading others by this author.

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