Author: Kimberly McCreight
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 2013
Genre: Adult Fiction/Mystery
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
The publisher provided a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Baron gets a phone call from the school her daughter Amelia is enrolled in, stating that Amelia has been suspended and must be picked up right away. In the time it takes Kate to get to the school, however, Amelia has thrown herself off the roof in a apparent suicide. At least, that is what everyone believes. Until Kate gets a text message a month later: She didn’t jump.
I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book for a while now, as it was hailed the “next Gone Girl” and all sorts of hype was circulating around the time of the release. Sadly, I think the hype gave me some unrealistic expectations.
First off, I want to say that I really did love Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and so when a book is said to be the next one, though I’m hesitant, I am usually pretty eager to read it.
Reconstructing Amelia is not like Gone Girl. Though there’s tension, mystery and some page turning, it shouldn’t be compared to the hit last year and should have a chance to stand on its own two feet.
I like this book about a girl and her mother, Kate. The story reconstructs the last month of Amelia’s life, told from alternative perspectives between Amelia and Kate’s present without her daughter. Sprinkled in with some vague Facebook updates and text messages from a mysterious friend “Ben”, the story grabs you early and weaves a tale that is both mesmerizing and heartbreaking. I liked Amelia a lot. She seemed very real to me and sad, confused about what is going on in her life, but overall a good girl who got into some unfortunate circumstances. Kate is written to be a textured character, and while I didn’t find anything awful about her, I didn’t identify with her at all. She was more of a narrator/vehicle for me than an actual person. And then, by the end of the book, I really wanted to slap Kate. I can’t go into detail without giving away some plot points, but for the most part, I was disappointed I ended up not liking the main character. The cast of supporting characters are all grey and snappy with mean girls, jealous co-workers and two-faced best friends.
The world created is real, filled with tensions and misunderstandings. I really liked how I didn’t know what had happened until the very end. Very suspenseful.
That said, there was something slightly missing from the book and perhaps I won’t be able to adequately explain it. Although a fine character on paper, Kate lacked personality for me. And while I wanted to see what had happened t her daughter, it was more because I was involved in Amelia’s chapters, not necessarily Kate’s discoveries. The plot moves quickly with a lot of wrong turns but in the end, the reveals didn’t shock me. Perhaps there were so many possibilities playing in my mind, I wasn’t invested in any one particular ending so any of them seemed like they would do.
Overall, Reconstructing Amelia is a good page turner that many adults will enjoy.
Rating: 7 Would Recommend