Reconstructing Amelia
  • Reconstructing Amelia
  • Reconstructing Amelia

Reconstructing Amelia

4.0 239
by Kimberly McCreight

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In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now.

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In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.

Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.

Fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will find Reconstructing Amelia just as gripping and surprising.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After her teenage daughter Amelia’s mysterious suicide, litigation attorney Kate Baron becomes an unlikely amateur sleuth in McCreight’s diverting, if busy, debut. Kate’s grief over Amelia’s death and guilt about her failures as a mother are compounded by a series of anonymous text messages intimating that Amelia was actually murdered. She partners up with NYPD Lt. Lewis Thompson, who involves her, to an implausible degree, as an equal in the investigation as they trawl through Amelia’s online history and interview her classmates and their families. The real story of Amelia’s life and death emerges slowly, through a creative blend of Kate’s present, Amelia’s past, and such varied communication methods as texts, e-mails, blog entries, and Facebook status updates, leading to a chaotic landslide of climactic revelations that strains believability. Amelia’s first-person narration provides the most human note, as McCreight portrays the darkness of adolescence, complete with doomed love, bullies, poisonous friendship, and insecurity. Fans of literary thrillers will enjoy the novel’s dark mood and clever form, even if the mystery doesn’t entirely hold together. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff and Associates. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Former attorney McCreight pens a multilayered legal thriller. Single mom Kate Baron struggles with the unholy demands that come with being an associate at a high-powered New York City law firm while raising her 15-year-old daughter, Amelia. A child born out of wedlock, Amelia doesn't know who her father is, and Kate, for some reason that never really becomes clear, fails to share this information with her. While curious about her dad's identity, Amelia has other, more pressing issues about which to worry. For one thing, she has been tapped for membership in her ritzy private school's illicit all-girls club, a fact she's hiding from her best friend, Sylvia, as well as her mother. But when Kate receives a call from the school that she must leave a meeting and come pick up her daughter because good-girl Amelia has been suspended for cheating, Kate's world completely crumbles. Running late to collect her daughter, Kate doesn't arrive until pretty, smart, blonde Amelia has fallen from the school roof, a victim of her own failure. Or at least that's what the police are telling Kate, but she doesn't believe Amelia killed herself. When she receives an anonymous text message, it prompts her to prove that Amelia was murdered. The author tells the story in flashbacks, alternating between Kate's and Amelia's point of view, leading up to the day Amelia died. Although the expensive and exclusive school comes across as a cauldron out of hell and a bit over-the-top, the book never bogs down and comes to a seamless and unanticipated conclusion. Readers will need to swallow the premise that a police homicide investigator would allow the mother of a victim to tag along on the investigation and question witnesses, but otherwise, this is a solid debut novel.
“Did Amelia Baron really get caught cheating and then commit suicide—or is the truth more sinister? A nail-biter for Gone Girl fans.”
Jennifer McMahon
“McCreight captures the complexities, cruelty and angst of teenage girls so well my stomach was in knots. What really happened to Amelia? You’ll find yourself staying up all night to find out.”
“An elaborately plotted mystery. . . . A harrowing story. . . . McCreight does a fne job of building suspense and creating characters, notably Kate and Amelia, whom the target audience—both adults and older teens—will care about and empathize with.”
Entertainment Weekly
Gossip Girl meets Gone Girl.”
New York Times
“[A] mystery with enough red herring to stock Lake Michigan…this is the novel most likely to be found in coming weeks not on the beach but on the F train. ”
USA Today
“Clever and scary . . . McCreight has her finger on the private school zeitgeist. . .and this disturbing tale will make older readers fondly recall the days when kids got in trouble for passing (print) notes in class.”
“Reconstructing Amelia will keep you hooked till the last page.”
Daily Candy
“We love a powerful debut, and this is just that.… It’s Mean Girls meets The Secret History meets the cyberbullying case of Amanda Todd––and it’s unputdownable.”
Jodi Picoult
“Just finished a fantastic novel–Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. So. Well. Done. If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll love this too.” Staff Pick
Wow! I was pulled in after reading the first page.… It’s sort of a thriller/prep school teen drama that is full of secrets.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Kimberly McCreight’s debut novel shines a light on teen-girl culture.…I wanted to keep reading.”
“A tale of elaborate mystery intertwined with the tenderness of a mother’s love, Reconstructing Amelia exudes suspense at every turn…. Gripping and tragic, [it] is a true page turner.”
Library Journal
Kate Baron, a single mother and partner at a Manhattan law firm, is astonished to get a phone call about the suspension of her 15-year-old daughter, Amelia, previously an excellent student at a prestigious Brooklyn private school. But by the time Kate arrives at the school to pick her up, Amelia is dead in a fall from the roof. While the police investigation rules Amelia's death a suicide, Kate soon receives an anonymous text saying that Amanda didn't jump. Grieving, guilt-stricken, and desperate to better understand her daughter, Kate starts looking into recent events in Amelia's life, aided by a seasoned detective who reopens the case and discovers that the cruelty of teenagers pales next to adult vengeance. VERDICT Debut novelist McCreight tailors her format to her subject, sprinkling text messages and blog postings into a narrative that zigzags in chronology over a period of several months. Alternating perspectives from Kate and Amelia reveal the inner lives of a woman trying to balance motherhood with a demanding career and a teenager struggling with her blossoming sexuality while dealing with severe bullying. Despite a plot heavily dependent on coincidence, this is a compulsively readable novel that will appeal to Jodi Picoult fans. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/12.]—Michele Leber, Arlington, VA

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Reconstructing Amelia

By Kimberly McCreight

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Kimberly McCreight
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-222543-6

S E P T E M B E R 5 T H
Because there are 176 definitions for the word loser on
Don't Be a Statistic
Hey bitches!
Ah, the beginning of another school year. And I'm back with all the shit
that's not fit to print . . .
So while you've all been whiling away the summer in Southampton,
or on Nantucket or in the South of France, perfecting your tennis game or
your pas de deux, or training for your first marathon, or basking in your
latest chess championship, I've spent the summer keeping track of the back
and forth of our dear faculty members. Mr. Zaritski went out to UC Berke-
ley to teach at a science camp for crazy- smart kids. Word has it the parents
had him fired week two because he SMELLED. Mrs. Pearl took a Latin lover
and learned to pole dance in Miami. Kidding. She didn't actually have a
lover, of course. Who would ever want to sleep with her?
Ah, and sweet delicious Mr. Woodhouse. Who wouldn't have wanted
to see him in a Speedo somewhere? Alas, his whereabouts lo these sultry
months is unknown, though I have it on good authority that he spent at
least one long weekend snuggled up with our beloved English prof Liv. To
which I say, bravo.

2 K i m b e r l y M c C r e i g h t
As for all of you, I'll be covering a summer wrap- up as the updates flow
in over the next few days— and do send them along to gracefullyblog@ Because here we are, another year where every loser has the
chance to finally be cool and the fat kids might turn up skinny.
And the same old questions: Will lovely little Dylan ever come clean
about who she's screwing? Will Heather and Rachel ever admit they're
screwing each other? Will Zadie stay out of jail long enough to gradu-
ate? Which senior girl will our resident sophomore hottie Carter sleep with
first? And who is this Ian Greene and is he as sizzlin' as his meet book pic-
tures suggest? Outlook doubtful says my own personal eight ball. But y'all
will be the first to know.
In the meantime, keep those new shoes shiny and those smiles bright.
And buckle up. Because it's going to be one hell of a ride . . .


Excerpted from Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. Copyright © 2013 Kimberly McCreight. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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