When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter.
Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond comprehension. Her daughter is dead.
Despondent over having been caught cheating, Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of impulsive suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. In a state of shock and overcome by grief, Kate tries to come to grips with this life-shattering news. Then she gets an anonymous text: Amelia didn't jump.
The moment she sees that message, Kate knows in her heart it's true. Clearly Amelia had secrets, and a life Kate knew nothing about. Wracked by guilt, Kate is determined to find out what those secrets were and who could have hated her daughter enough to kill. She searches through Amelia's emails, texts, and Facebook updates, piecing together the last troubled days of her daughter's life.
Reconstructing Amelia is a stunning debut pause-resistor 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.
©2013 Kimberly McCreight (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
Added Audible to my 2 hour commute, consuming books at rapid pace, and rating books based on keeping me engaged and making time fly!
I wouldn't have hated this book if the blog posts and secret clubs stuck strictly to the "Gossip Girl"/"Cruel Intentions" form, which are enjoyable in their own right. But swinging this to the mother's perspective looking in to her daughter's world, and the constant twists and turns and unexpected events, elevated Reconstructing Amelia to a compelling mystery with lessons to be learned. Maybe a bit far-fetched that Kate would do so much sleuthing on her own, but the odd-couple pairing of she and Lou worked for me in the end. Narrator does fine work characters ranging in age, gender, and background, even if the British and Brooklyn accents are somewhat jarring.
I have not read the print version, but as an audiobook this is one of the best I have listened to, not only because it is a great mystery but also because of the way it exposes a dark, horribly destructive world of adolescents who are desperately trying to be accepted by their peers.
Amelia's entire relationship with Dylan - also the revelations regarding horrendously inapprorapite adult behavior (no spoilers here)
Khirstine Hvam is an excellent narrator and really brings both the adult and adolescent characters to life. For me, the best readers are the ones that allow me to become completely immersed in the story without becoming distracted or annoyed by the reader's voice, mannersims, etc. - and Ms. Hvam is one of them.
The friendship between Sylvia and Amelia held some very poignant moments (again, I don't want to give away anything in the plot).
While I think that some of the plot twists are quite contrived, this is still an incredibly compelling story. The adolescent characters of Amelia, Sylvia, Dylan and Zadie are especially memorable.
Reconstructing Amelia was billed somewhere as "this year's Gone Girl." Not even close. Gillian Flynn made Gone Girl's somewhat improbable plot seem plausible with a thorough and highly entertaining dissection of her two main characters, especially Amy. But author Kimberly McCreight lacks any subtlety as she puts human pinata Amelia through every possible kind of peer harassment and bullying ever imagined. It's difficult to believe that an entire student body knows what the kid is going through and not one adult (even those with some clue) intervenes.
Plausibility takes another dive after Amelia's death. What homicide detective investigating a possible murder would allow the victim's mother to participate in the interviews of witnesses and potential suspects?
A reader might sympathize with Amelia's pain and suffering and even buy into the reasons why she doesn't seek help. But that sympathy dissolves as clueless mom Kate learns more and more about what her daughter endured in her final months.Screaming and blaming everyone but herself, Kate just comes off an an annoying harpy.
The subject of school and cyber bullying could make for a good story by an author with a defter touch than McCreight.
Read it out loud before she published.
When the narrator said it was over
All of them
This book bugged me for so many reasons. None of the characters were likable. Everyone's reactions were unrealistic, and I found myself going 'whaaaa...??' for most of Kate's reactions.
Both Kate and her daughter jump to the strangest conclusions. Ian says yes, he's aware that Sylvia thinks he's cheating on him, and Amelia takes this as an admission that he's cheating. And when Kate sees that the daughter she thought was perfect has almost naked pics on the internet, the first conclusion she comes to is that Amelia is a prostitute?!?! Really? Her first assumption isn't going on a furious rampage that, 'gee someone skanky Photoshopped pics of my daughters face and put them on half naked women?!'
I also couldn't wrap my head around her reason for hating Jeremy and denying his paternity. Just did not make sense.
Kate is the most passive character I've ever read.
And the writing...all the characters did was STARE. Nobody looked or glanced or anything else. Also, they all spoke quietly. All the time, except when they were yelling for no reason.
I'd say skip this one.
This is one of the best read and most entertaining listens I have ever heard on an audiobook! It is something I would highly recommend to anyone to listen or to read!
The ending definitely! That last moment when you truly find out what happeend, when the entire book was leading you through it backwards. Such a fantastic structure and the killer! WOAH! Very surprising.
She brings life to the characters and perfectly creates the mother and the children in a realistic manner. She performs well both adults, adolescents, and men, which for one woman is very difficult!
Probably Amelia herself! It was not until the last moment that you realized who she was and how she felt about the people around her in the story.
Everything about this book was perfection! There was no moment that I would have changed in this book.
i like to read. i like to listen.
following the trail of emails, texts and alternating chapters to reveal what happened the day Amelia Baron died proved to be a fun roller coaster ride full of twists and turns and lots of shady characters whom the reader thinks pushed her off that roof.
up until the very last few seconds of Amelia's story, Kimberly McCreight throws in little things to keep you guessing.
great narration. really embodies teenage girls well.
i am really sick of everyone comparing different novels that have twist endings to "gone girl" - honestly, this is not like gone girl at all. it's a book of its own with it's own interesting (and screwed up) characters and really doesn't mirror "gone girl" in any way.
It's true to life.
I love true to life stories, and this one was amazing!! Khristine Hvam never disappoints!!
There is nothing better than a good book!
I was sucked in from the first words! I listened to this one non-stop..... This is everything an audiobook should be!
Near the top. I have a list of special favorite books that I would re-read, and that I recommenc to friends/family. This book is on that list
Amelia was my favorite. She was so "normal". She expressed her emotions well, and handled herself very maturely.
Oh the characters came alive with such emotion! She especially reads teenage girl voices very well.
The title is exellent. I wasn';t sure what it meant, but after reading the book I realize how clever the title is.
The author explores parenthood with all it's emotions, flaws and joys. the book is heartbreaking and beautiful.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It made the commute to work fly by.
Amelia of corse.
A great book that keeps you listening.
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