The Norman Transcript

N-town reviews

June 13, 2014

Book review: Reconstructing Amelia brings exciting literary thriller

NORMAN — by Amber Hodge

Book: Reconstructing Amelia (2013, HarperCollins)

Author: Kimberly McCreight

Why you should read: McCreight’s debut novel tells the story of a young girl’s mysterious suicide, and a distraught mother who’ll stop at nothing to find out why her daughter would unexpectedly jump to her death. “Reconstructing Amelia” holds true to its title, and incorporates every element needed for an exciting literary thriller.

When lawyer Kate Baron receives a phone call at work saying her daughter has been suspended from school, she’s shocked, as she’s never known her 15-year-old Amelia to be difficult. However, when she arrives, she’s met with chaos, and learns that her do-good daughter has jumped to her death from the school roof. Devastated, Kate is at a loss as to why Amelia would do such a thing and questions whether or not it was in fact a suicide, and ends up partnering with Lieutenant Lewis Thompson to help in the investigation. From there, Kate begins a search through Amelia’s text messages, emails and online entries in an attempt to learn more about what might have led to her daughter’s death, and she starts down a path filled with dark revelations in her quest for answers.

“Amelia,” while a little far-fetched and downright unbelievable at times, is an interesting read. Narrated by both Amelia and Kate, with a few email and text message passages thrown in, it takes on the role of explaining a gloomier nature of teenagers, complete with lies, bullies, messed up friendships and relationships, with an overtone filled with mystery. Fans of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” will find parallels with this book. Overall, it’s a well thought out story, and readers of all ages will be able to appreciate the heart of it, and take a ride along with a mother who questions everything she thought she knew about her child in order to find the truth amongst tragedy.

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