Reconstructing Amelia

( 171 )

Overview

When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets a phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter.

Kate rushes to Grace Hall to pick up Amelia, but what she finds when she arrives is beyond comprehension. Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of ...

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Overview

When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets a phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter.

Kate rushes to Grace Hall to pick up Amelia, but what she finds when she arrives is beyond comprehension. Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of impulsive suicide. At least that's the story Kate believes until she gets an anonymous text:

Amelia didn't jump.

Determined to learn the truth about what really happened on that roof, Kate searches through Amelia's e-mails, texts, and Facebook updates, piecing together the last troubled days of her daughter's life.

Reconstructing Amelia is a stunning debut page-turner that brilliantly explores the secret world of teenagers, their clandestine first loves, hidden friendships, and the dangerous cruelty that can spill over into acts of terrible betrayal.

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  • Reconstructing Amelia
    Reconstructing Amelia  

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.
People
“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.”
Booklist
“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.”
BookPage
“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.”
People.com 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.”
Click
“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

  • ISBN-13: 9780062225436
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Pages: 382
  • Sales rank: 176,178
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimberly McCreight lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and two young daughters.

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Read an Excerpt

Reconstructing Amelia


By Kimberly McCreight

HarperCollins Publishers

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


ie
gRaCeFULLY
S E P T E M B E R 5 T H
Because there are 176 definitions for the word loser on urbandictionary.com.
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@
gmail.com. 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 . . .


(Continues...)

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 171 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(77)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(8)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 171 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    Definitely a MUST to read! Leaves you on the edge of your seat a

    Definitely a MUST to read! Leaves you on the edge of your seat and keeps you hooked all the way through. An ending you never saw coming and so many twists & turns. Outstanding!

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Unique and fantastic!

    Every now and then you read a book that surprises you for just how unique it is. A story that sets itself apart from any other. This book was that for me. Some reviewers were disappointed with the end. I wasn't. I honestly don't think the end matters. This book is about relationships, about lost opportunities and forgiveness. It is about finding out who we are by learning about who the people we loved really were and still finding a way to live with our mistakes and the 'what if's'. A fantastic story, terrific writing, and a book and characters that keep you thinking. You cannot ask for more.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    No "Gone Girl"

    THIS MAY CONTAIN A SPOILER...I read a review that compared this to "Gone Girl"....but if you're expecting that kind of blow-you-away twist ending, you'll be disappointed. Great writing, round characters, but I was disappointed by the resolution, and I felt like too many red herrings were put out there to mislead readers. Totally engrossed while I was reading, but when I reached the end I was let down.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    Reconstructing Amelia is a story of Kate, a successful lawyer an

    Reconstructing Amelia is a story of Kate, a successful lawyer and single mom, and her teenage daughter Amelia who is smart, creative and athletic. The two have a close relationship despite Kate’s profession and long hours. Then, Kate receives a call from Amelia’s school saying that Amelia has been suspended for cheating. When Kate arrives, she learns that Amelia has jumped from the roof of the school in an apparent suicide. But one day, Kate receives a text that says that Amelia didn’t jump.

    Kate then sets out to reconstruct her daughter’s life and find out the truth which plunges the reader into the world of teenagers – social media, friendships and bullying. She uncovers a side of her daughter that she didn’t know. She begins to question how much she really knew her daughter, what she could have done to prevent this, and why Amelia didn’t come talk to her. 

    I was drawn into the novel from the beginning and couldn't put it down. The book alternates between Kate's perspective and Amelia's and also uses a number of narrative devices such a blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets and emails to tell the story which I found gave the story more texture by reflecting how we communicate and find out information today. The story is heartbreaking and it addresses many important topics such as bullying, sexuality, role of technology and social media in teen culture. Ultimately, it's about the complex relationship between children and parents and how much we truly know about our children. This is an incredible debut novel for Kimberley McCreight. 

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Page Turner!

    Overall this was an enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages. The story does not seem to be realistic about how a police investigation would be handled and the author seems to want to hit every "hot topic". The characters are intriguing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 12, 2013

    Color me unimpressed. The setup for this book was great--overac

    Color me unimpressed. The setup for this book was great--overachieving, fifteen year old, straight A student, Amelia, commits suicide after being accused of plagerism. It's up to high-powered attorney and mom, Kate, to sort through text messages and emails to figure out what happened.

    The pacing is very good, making the book a page turner, but there are problems. Kate and Amelia don't come across as real people. In addition, Kate isn't particularly likable. She got pregnant in law school and elected to become a single mom despite her plans to pursue an intense legal career which left her little time for Amelia. Also, she never told Amelia who her father is, in fact, she's not even sure.

    By the end of the book I was rolling my eyes, thinking I'd stumbled into a Lifetime movie with endless plot twists in a game of "Who's Your Daddy?" Amelia's classmates are such over the top bullies they should be working as comic book villains. For a while I even suspected one of them, Dylan--Amelia's lover, as being a robot. Her behavior was THAT inexplicable. Not recommended.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2013

    An extraordinary book. A compelling mixture of very fast-paced a

    An extraordinary book. A compelling mixture of very fast-paced action interwoven with a subtle exposition of the key relationship in the story: the one between the mothera and her daughter. Many twists and turns in the plot, this story just gripped my attention from the very beginning. A must-read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Amazing!

    I don't know where to start... this book grabbed my attention and held it all of the way through. It's one of those great finds that make you read for hours to figure out everything and then when you finish you wish there was even more because you don't want to leave the characters behind. People in high school and older ( I'm 26) will be able to enjoy this book. I hope this author continues writing on this level. You will not regret picking this up.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    fast paced and genuinely suspenseful. the characters are well dr

    fast paced and genuinely suspenseful. the characters are well drawn and speak in authentic voices. I was hooked at the start and never lost interest. highly recommend.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    The writing was absolutely horrid. I couldn't stomach the way t

    The writing was absolutely horrid. I couldn't stomach the way the writer was trying SO HARD to sound like she knows how teens/young adults talk -- she missed the mark by A LOT. This is the last sentence I read and gave up (this is supposed to be a 24 year old IT guy who works at one of the top law firms in New York…but is also a stoner...): "...Because you don't want to like [sic] get into the deets of your kid's Facebook page. I mean, I'm twenty-four, and I'm a pretty scrubbed-up guy and whatevs, but my 'rents would stroke out if they saw my whole page. You've gotta filter it for ma and pa. I mean, who wants to see their kid doing body shots, like, ever?"
    There are grammatical and spelling errors riddled throughout the book, which drove me bananas. Sentence structure was that of somebody who has never written before. The plot could have been interesting, but the writing was just too much to get past. Also, this is definitely not a book that should be marketed towards adults. Her "trying-to-be-hip-and-with-it" lingo will turn off the younger crowd as well...Definitely not recommended.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2013

    As far as mysteries go, this one had me flipping through trying

    As far as mysteries go, this one had me flipping through trying to figure out the ending.  That was good, and it IS a good book.  However, it had been compared to Gone Girl and it is not. that. good.  Enjoyable read though, and I liked reading it through the Mother's perspective as well as the daughters.  I would recommend it, but I  wouldn't say it was comparable to Gone Girl (If you haven't read that, you should!).  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    Awsome book, a must read!

    I LOVED this book. I read it in one day. Once you start this book you will not be able to put it down. I can't wait to see what they will do for the movie coming out in 2014. Nicole kiddman will play Kate, and thats exactly who I pictured as Kate. This is a fantastic representation of what a mother will do for her child. A must read for all mothers of daughters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    Anonymous

    I really wanted to like this book, based on the overview, but unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. The book went at a good, fast pace but then the ending was so predictable, that I was completely left saying "Is that all there is"? Overall the book was fair.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Not for me

    Definitely YA chick lit

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    One of the best books I've read in a long time. Grabbed it off t

    One of the best books I've read in a long time. Grabbed it off the shelf and could not put it down! 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    Love it a must read!

    Could not put it down, characters are so real that the book keeps you thinking about them after it ends. Great book definitly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    great book!

    great book!

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  • Posted July 2, 2014

    Liked it a lot

    Will recommend to friends

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    Four stars and 1 day.

    It wont take you long to get through this page turner. The writing is a bit wonky in parts...the author tries a little too hard to make the teens believeable. The story is good but a tad off in parts such as "Ben" turning out to be- well you know who. And the author of the blog being- well- you'll find out. Those are the only parts i didnt care for. The book as a whole is entertaining and will keep you guessing until pretty much the very last chapter!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    I was prepared to say that this book seemed to give you clues as

    I was prepared to say that this book seemed to give you clues as you went along and you guessed what would happen a page before it happens. Then I got to the end and OMG I didn't guess any of it. Good twists at the end. A little bit depressing but I must admit I was very caught up in the book and finished it in 2 days.

    My favorite quote was:
    Parenting is awful 95% of the time, it's that last 5% that keeps the human race from dying out. 4 parts blind terror, 1 part perfection. It's like mainlining heroin, one taste of life on the edge and your hooked.

    good read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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