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Book review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

For lovers of ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn, the Kimberly McCreight’s ‘Reconstructing Amelia’ provides readers with mystery, suspense, and plot twists galore. Fifteen-year-old Amelia Baron is smart, level-headed, and beautiful; the epitome of what her single mother, Kate, could have hoped for. Amelia’s lack of recorded trouble only adds to Kate’s confusion when she receives a call from her daughter’s school one day reporting that Amelia had been caught cheating. Figuring there must have been some sort of mix-up, Kate makes her way to the school, only to find an array of police cars and ambulances waiting outside. Kate begins to walk faster, feeling a knot in the pit of her stomach begin to form. Call it a mother’s instinct, but Kate knew something was wrong. As she begins to approach a police officer, she is stopped by the President of the school who takes Kate into his office to report the news: Amelia is dead. Found on the grass outside of a Grace Hall academic building, officers reported Amelia’s death a spontaneous suicide, and the accusations of her cheating, the trigger.

As Kate attempts to deal with the unbelievable news and overwhelming grief, millions of questions run through her head. None of it makes sense. Amelia had been accused of cheating on an English paper, her favorite subject, written about one of her favorite books of all time. And even if she had cheated, Amelia knew Kate wouldn’t have been mad at her. They were best friends, and always had been. Then, it happens. A text message from an anonymous number sent to Kate’s cell phone: “She didn’t jump”.

Told through alternating character voices, ‘Reconstructing Amelia’ tells the story of a mother’s mission to find the truth about the death of her only daughter. What she finds in the process is nothing she or readers could have imagined. Though a more juvenile plot than ‘Gone Girl’, ‘Reconstructing Amelia’ still provides readers with nothing short of a psychologically thrilling plot and completely unexpected ending.

- Lauren Pytel '14, Libraries Marketing and Events Intern

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