Reconstructing Amelia

I’m sure this book is going to get a lot of comparisons to Gone Girl. While there are some similarities, the plots are abjectly different. And, as much as I liked Gone Girl, I liked this book better.

The plot is: Amelia is a 15 year-old high school student in New York City whose mother is single and a high-powered corporate lawyer. Amelia goes to a private school, is a “good girl” and an A student. Her mom gets a call from the school stating that Amelia has been suspended for cheating and her mom needs to pick her up. Mom gets to school late and finds out that her daughter committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the building. A few days later, mom gets a text stating that “Amelia didn’t jump”. And so starts her odyssey to find out what really happened to her daughter.

There are many turns and twists until the end when we find out the ultimate truth about what happened to Amelia. It’s filled with secrets and lies and high school clubs and hazing. It is deftly plotted and amazing in its detail. But the book doesn’t over do it. It has the right balance of drama and suspense. At no point did I think the author went too far.

I will say that this book made me glad that I went to high school well before the age of social media and invasion of privacy. It is a reminder that no matter how well you think you know even your own children, you can never really know another human being. It is also a reminder that your children are precious and need you even as they age. Maybe more in the teen years than we think. I liked the imperfect relationship between Amelia and her mom. It was well-written. It seemed like a realistic account of a modern single mother-daughter relationship. I liked the fact that she shifted the narration between mom and daughter and used flashbacks to help move the story forward.

There is a lot to talk about with this book. I am going to pick it for my book club and I recommend it to anyone who likes mystery/suspense novels.

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