Oct 3, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia

I love a good mystery. When the pieces all fall into place, it is such a satisfying reading experience (I'm looking at you Casual Vacancy).

Well-written mysteries have pieces that fit like a puzzle. But you know when you're putting together a 500 piece puzzle and you convince yourself that two pieces absolutely go together, so you hammer them down like there's no tomorrow? Sometimes that's what Reconstructing Amelia feels like.

Let me back up.  Reconstructing Amelia follows Kate, a single mother/attorney, as she copes after her daughter Amelia's alleged suicide.  Unwilling to believe that her daughter killed herself, Kate sorts through her daughter's electronic life and enters a terrifying world of bullying, hazing, secret clubs, and possible school cover-ups.  The perspective alternates between past and present day Kate, past Amelia, and collections of texts, Facebook statuses, and e-mails.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the book. It takes on a hot button issue (cyberbullying), incorporates other prevalent young adult issues (LGBT, popularity, identity) and presents a thoughtful critique of our online world(s). The teen voices are not forced and the blame for their actions isn't placed entirely on their shoulders. However, in what appears to be an attempt to create a lot of "gasp" worthy moments, some of the revelations read as if they're too hammered into place to fit.

But all in all, it's a satisfying read. If you're okay with overlooking a more farfetched conclusion and enjoy mysteries, I would pick up this book, preferably before the Nicole Kidman movie version premieres. Due to the subject matter, teens may find this an interesting reads, provided they're mature enough to handle the heavy amount of profanity, sexual scenes, and talk of cutting.

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