Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

I think I’ve mentioned several times before that something I really like about book blogging is the variety it can bring to my reading. I’ve been introduced to many new authors and read books I never would have thought to. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight doesn’t fall into either of those categories. I did receive a complimentary review copy but its definitely one that would have caught my eye and would have screamed “buy me” once I’d read the back. Having read it I can confirm it would have been money well spent and I’d jump at the chance to read more by the author.

Single mother and lawyer Kate Baron is in the meeting of her career when she is interrupted by a telephone call. Her daughter Amelia has just been suspended from her exclusive prep school. When Kate eventually arrives at Grace Hall an hour later, she is greeted by the news that no mother ever wants to hear. A grieving Kate can’t accept that her daughter would kill herself. But she soon discovers she didn’t know Amelia quite as well as she thought. Who are the friends she kept, what are the secrets she hid? And so begins an investigation which takes her deep into Amelia’s private world – and into the mind of a troubled young girl. Then Kate receives an anonymous text: AMELIA DIDN’T JUMP. Is someone toying with her or has she been right all along? To find the truth about her daughter, Kate must now face a darker reality than she could ever have imagined.

This book is at least the third I’ve read in the last couple of months based roughly around questions of how well you really know someone. The other two were Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie and Someday I’ll Find You by Richard Madeley. Three very different books and I’m not sure comparable ones. But I did find it interesting and I’m beginning to wonder if its a sort of trend. The fact all three are published by Simon and Schuster could play into this. Maybe. This was probably my favourite of the three.

I think the fact I liked this a lot is obvious already. Looking on goodreads it seems to be one people either really like or really hate. I could see the more negative points made in the reviews once they were pointed out but for the most part hadn’t really noticed it. My major criticism would be that whilst the “big reveal” at the end worked and made a lot of sense it seemed rushed and a bit flat. I’d have liked it bit more explanation and resolution there. This is a strong book and I felt like more energy was needed there to keep it up. The lack of doesn’t ruin it though and that’s the main thing. And I never guessed any of the twists in the book. A couple of then struck me as a little sick, not in a bad way. I could well imagine that people could be desperate enough to do them and that many others would be sickened but get it too. So sick and extreme but realistic and in that way, good, twists.

My positives would be that the occasional blog entries really worked for me and I thought helped really capture the angst and difficulties Amelia faced as a teenage girl. The same with the occasional Facebook statuses, Amelia was a big fan of Virginia Woolf and the quotes from her work made me think I should read it myself.

As a disabled person I bemoan a lot the lack of realistic disabled characters who add to the plot in books. So I did wonder briefly whether this would work had Amelia been left with something like a TBI instead of killed. It probably could have but it wouldn’t have been this book. And I really enjoyed this book. So sadly I must conclude that Amelia did have to die.

(I’ve now got the niggle in the back of my mind that that book may have already been written. Possibly by Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain?)

The other thing that seems to be a big part of the buzz is very positive comparisons to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I must confess that’s a book I’ve had my eye on but not read. If I eventually do get around to reading it and I think “this is very similar and as good as Reconstructing Amelia.” I’ll be very pleased.

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