Wednesday 21 August 2013

Book review : Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight

Amelia may have come into the world as the result of an unplanned pregnancy but the well-behaved, high-achieving teen has always been the apple of her mum Kate Baron's eye. Her stressful job as a lawyer forces her to put in long hours and spend a lot of time away from her daughter, but they seem to have a pretty close relationship, despite the inevitable teen strops. Then one day, Kate is called to Amelia's school - she has been suspended for cheating in an exam, something which seems totally out of character. In the time it takes Kate to fight through the rush hour traffic, things go from bad to worse and Amelia apparently jumps off the school roof. Kate must come to terms with not only her grief at losing her only child but also the realisation that she didn't know her daughter as well as she thought. The police and school officials write it off as a tragic teenage suicide but then Kate gets an anonymous text saying that Amelia didn't jump. Determined to find out the truth, Kate starts trawling through her daughter's emails, Facebook messages and texts, uncovering more and more of her secret life than she ever could have imagined in her wildest dreams (or nightmares).

The novel is written with alternate chapters from Amelia, revealing past events in the lead up to her death, and Kate, as she accompanies the police in their investigation into her daughter's private life before her death. It is a chilling read for any parent and also a cautionary tale for teens on how easy it is to get in with the wrong crowd and suffer at the hands of online bullies. The text messages inject humour and realism and I found the tale to be very believable (except maybe in the final stages of the investigation).

It's a poignant tale but also one with an underlying message of hope - Kate does eventually get the closure she needs and makes peace with herself, realising that her relationship with her daughter may not have been perfect but her maternal instinct was nevertheless totally right. I was hooked from beginning to end.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £6.99

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (20 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471111296
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471111297

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : More Bitter Than Death - Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff


  1. An intriguing book with engaging characters, Reconstructing Amelia exposes how far teenagers, and sometimes adults, will go for acceptance or love. It is also a unique conversation starter for the reader with teenagers because it will compel any parent to ask himself or herself: How well do I know my teenager?

  2. I loved this book. I loved the writing, the characters,the many story lines and of course...the intrigue & mystery. This book will hold your attention from the beginning to end, you will be tempted to skip to the end to find out what really happened to Amelia....but don't! You will miss a roller coaster of a story.


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