3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2014
Single mum and successful lawyer Kate believes that she knows her 15 year old daughter. Although Kate works hard for the futures of herself and her daughter she always make sure she has time with Amelia with whom she thinks she has a close relationship. When Kate receives a phone call from school in the middle of a meeting telling her that Amelia is suspended for cheating, Kate can't believe it; Amelia would never cheat and wouldn't need to anyway being a bright and talented student. When Kate reaches school she is met with worse news - Amelia is dead. Amelia has committed suicide.
After a brief investigation the verdict is that Amelia killed herself after being found cheating but Kate is convinced that the daughter she knew and loved would never kill herself but who will believe her and what can she do?
Then Kate receives a text stating that `Amelia didn't jump' which starts her thinking....someone somewhere knows the truth. When the police investigation re-opens Kate finds herself finding things out about her daughter that she never suspected and also examining and questioning her own life. Is anyone ever as honest as they seem, even to themselves? Does any parent ever truly know their child?
Starting from the day of Amelia's death and then jumping back and forth as Amelia's death is investigated we read Amelia and Kate's stories and how they tie in to what has happened. The story is interspersed with extracts from Amelia's facebook and texts, revealing the hidden Amelia as she is revealed to Kate and revealing a whole host of secrets.
The way the story is staged is clever and captures the reader's interest as we get to know Amelia and Kate from different angles and the way that the clues are laid is very subtle, keeping the reader guessing right until the very end. It is a story of secrets and hidden lives, of a teen struggling to find her way in the world, wanting to fit in and never being quite sure of who she is - it's a story that most people can relate to in some way, whether you are reading it from a child's or a parent's perspective.
Beautifully written so that you are always aware of the emotions and thought processes of the characters which makes them very real and relatable Reconstructing Amelia is a powerful novel that makes you take a look at your life and your children and wonder....
One of the best books of 2013. A unique and engaging psychological crime novel that you won't want to put down.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2013
Stressed single mother and law partner Kate is in the meeting of her career when she is interrupted by a telephone call to say that her teenaged daughter Amelia has been suspended from her exclusive Brooklyn prep school for cheating on an exam. Torn between her head and her heart, she eventually arrives at St Grace's over an hour late, to be greeted by sirens wailing and ambulance lights blazing. Her daughter has jumped off the roof of the school, apparently in shame of being caught.
How well do we really know our children? As parents we always assume we know the important stuff - but everyone has secrets. Most especially teenage girls..
As Kate struggles to comes to terms with the fact that Amelia, always a model student, never having caused her any worry, not only cheated but then killed herself, she receives a strange text message. Amelia did not jump. So begins a journey for Kate, into the heart and mind of a daughter she thought she knew well. Tracing Amelia's final weeks leading up to the incident this is a compelling read.
We hear from Kate. We hear from Amelia in flashback. And a darker side of school life begins to emerge - that of secret clubs, peer pressure and the age old popularity stakes. It is a dark tale in places - oh how children, and they are still children, can hurt each other without thought of consequence.
There is a touch of the "Gossip Girl" about this -but a darker, more intuitive look at how gossip can be fatal. As we follow Amelia down the path that will lead to her destruction you will at turns be horrified, dismayed and desperate to stop her, then completely amazed by how little some adults know and even worse how little those that do know care. But did Amelia give up? Did she jump? Ah well, that is the question.
Characterisation is superb. I was completely immersed in Amelia's world - an astounding young lady which makes what happens to her even more heart wrenching. And Kate amazed me - from playing the blame game, to realising that there was more to the story than immediately obvious, to tenacious bulldog in her quest to get to the truth you will be with her all the way and will FEEL it all the way. Sob.
Knowing at the start that there will be no "happy ending" for Kate and Amelia makes the story even more fascinating and addictive. Well written, with some tough subjects at its heart, this was an absolutely brilliant book. Highly Recommended.
Happy Reading Folks!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2014
I enjoyed this book, it kept me gripped as I wanted to find out what had happened to Amelia. However, I was disappointed by the spelling mistakes in it; 'you're' was mixed up with 'your' on a couple of occasions (e.g. 'you're daughter', loc 5220), which made the book seem less professional. A good read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2014
This is an intelligent, powerful, very realistic read. Characters are well drawn and believable, and I liked the fact that the reader is kept guessing until the very end. The writer has very cleverly positioned the present day shock and grief of single mother Kate, determined to know what the truth is about her daughter, alongside Amelia's own story told in her words, texts and Facebook posts. Even though we know Amelia's story will end in tragedy, from the beginning several weeks before the suspense is slowly ramped up. As Kate seeks the truth about her daughter, events unfold in Amelia's life, and I was rooting for them both. Complex relationships are drawn, and we can probably all relate to being insecure as a teenager and doing something taking the wrong path to please or impress someone, or to prove a point to ourselves.
A brilliant, important, sometimes sad but always real story, recommended to anyone who enjoys an intelligent, well written book. A great first novel, I'll definitely look out for more by this writer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2014
Before I begin I need to address Simon & Schuster's issue with their covers.....they have some great ones and yet they NEVER translate over to the e-book versions once you've downloaded them. They're the only publisher this ever happens with and their books aren't free ones, either, so there's no excuse. It's time they sorted this out.
This is a great debut story and one which held my interest the whole way through. There were some niggling mistakes but it seems the way of every e-book out there these days, though some of these were ones not usually seen. Yes, we had the misplaced hyphens here and there and dropped speechmarks/words from sentences but added to that also stealth used and not stealthy, you're used when your should've been (a big ouch for me)then a exquisite girl instead of an wasn't impressive. Confidant used in place of confident and gong and not going and gray not grey....all a tad careless. In the acknowledgements t0 was used bizarrely in place of to as well !!
I liked how the book was constructed as the two stories-both Kate and Amelia's told from their own points-of-view. Both were likeable characters although around the middle I was getting a tad aggravated with Amelia and the choices she was making. At the beginning Kate can come across as a bit of a smug cow as well. I didn't feel she was in any position to be sniffy about others.
I did find the fact Kate went along on police interviews a little hard to believe. I don't see that occurring in real-life. It would all be far too emotive and I'm sure not permitted. There's a rare syndrome mentioned in the story on page 93. I made a fatal error in Googling it when I hit upon it-DON'T !! It gives stuff away which happens further into the story. Something else I Googled was "You're going to have to spill the four-one-one eventually"....but even Google hadn't heard of that so I've no idea what was meant there.
Over all, a good book and I'll certainly read another by her though this one could do with that final spit 'n' polish done as I'd have knocked half a star off if I could because of the errors.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I read 'Reconstructing Amelia' last weekend while on holiday and found the book a really quick and easy read.
The plot concerns itself mostly with American school children and the dreadful effects of bullying which, in this case, leads to the death of student Amelia who has been suspended for cheating.
The story evolves as Amelia's mother, Kate Baron, attempts to solve the riddle of her daughter's death. We soon learn that Amelia fell from a roof but; did she jump, was she pushed or was it an accident?. As the themes of bullying escalate via social media there seems to be a gang mentality in operation. The trouble for the bullies being; bullying has a nasty way of growing out of control and the repercussions can have a devastating effect for them as well as their victims.
Kimberley McCreight makes a decent job of tying up the loose ends to produce an ending that wasn't unexpected but was quite neatly done.
If I'm being very honest I can't say I found 'Reconstructing Amelia' an amazing read. It has the feel of a young hand at work and was maybe intended for the young adult rather than the adult market. For that reason I felt the real emotions and angst of a mother losing her child in such a dreadful way was never really properly exhibited and the characters remained quite flat. I'm leaving a 3* review because the themes of bullying are very relevant.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2014
Very mixed feelings about this one. At times the storyline was terrific and had me wanting to read more. At others it was incredibly banal and far fetched to the point of absolutely childish. I accept that many of the characters were teens and so the teenage angst was plausible but the actual plot became farcical at times.
Absolutely astonishing to get to the end and find a host of acknowledgements to a string ot allegedly terrific editors. They really do need to go to Specsavers as there were an appalling number of typos and grammatical errors, so much so that I was sure this was a self published book. Very inept of Simon and Schuster publisher to put out a book in such a bad state of editing.
For sure it does NOT come anywhere close to being another "Gone Girl". Goodness knows how any reader ranked it as high as that. It's an easy read, twisting plot but could do with a better approach to make it a genuine success.
on 4 November 2015
Kate is a lawyer and single mother to her daughter Amelia. She is fully aware that she doesn’t give Amelia the attention a 13 year old girl needs, but she needs to work in order to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. While she doesn’t spend as much time with Amelia as she would like, Kate is sure she knows her daughter.
That is, until one day when Kate is pulled out of a important business meeting with a call from the school Amelia attends. Amelia has been suspended for cheating on her English homework…but Amelia is a good girl, she’s never been in trouble before and this is completely out of character. Before Kate can get to the school to take Amelia home, she comes face to face with a scene of a dead body. Her daughters. The school and police state she jumped, but Amelia was happy, Kate knew that?
As Kate is slowly coming to terms with her daughters death, she receives a text; ‘Amelia didn’t jump’. This ties in with what Kate believes…her daughter wouldn’t commit suicide. But if she didn’t choose to take her life, how did she die?
What did I think?
I had this book in my ‘to read’ pile for such a long time and it was one that I was most excited to read. It didn’t disappoint me and I’m so glad I found the opportunity to read it sooner rather than later.
McCreight has written a fantastic mystery book and keeps you in suspense throughout. I think that she has hit a very sensitive subject head on, teenage years are hard especially when cliques and bullying are involved. Every parent thinks they know their child inside-out, but how much do we really keep from them?
The ending could have had a bit more of an impact, but other than that McCreight has done a fantastic job – if it weren’t for the way it ended it would have received five hearts!
on 23 July 2015
The book was great overall, but I felt the author spent too much time on some subjects such as the stress of the mother's work/personal life balance, which become repetitive after a while, with no additions that were of any substance, that could aid to the plot. There are areas in the story which were brushed over, and the author seemed hurried to tie up the loose ends and plot twists she had created. A couple of examples would be the revelation of the author of the gossip column and the story behind the character "Ben". The ending was also very anti-climatic and abrupt to me, it felt a little like an afterthought that was thrown in to complete the story. It could have been better written, but in some respects, I think the plot was fitting. Life isn't a movie and the plot line, for the most, was believable and not wildly dramatic.
The writing is definitely not a literary work of art, and is saved by the superb plot line. I was surprised given the background of the author, that it was not better written. There are areas, predominantly relating to younger characters - the teenagers and the "stoner IT guy", that I felt were a little off in their speech. That said, the book still flowed quite well, given the difficulty of linking together two POVs, in two different time frames and also the additions of copies of emails/texts/social media communications. Apart from the writing style, and the foundation of the plot line, I didn't feel it was too similar to Gone Girl.
The main character is likeable, which for me, is important as a reader. Most of the characters could exist in reality, flawed but portraying a palpable realness and complexity, in which their actions sometimes left you disappointed. It discussed issues, incredibly relevant to today's society, including sexuality, bullying, isolation and the destructiveness of social media.
I enjoyed the book thoroughly and found it gripping, especially as the truth unravels in the last few chapters. It leaves you with a genuine sadness, and brings back an awareness of how forceful teenage cruelty can be. I hope it serves as an eye-opener to parents and other adults that believe teens have it easy. In today's society, I believe there are far more hurdles and challenges to overcome, and the pressure of success, acceptance and fitting in is hugely overwhelming. A good read for mature audiences.
on 8 October 2013
Kate is a busy litiagtion lawyer as well as a single mother to fifteen-year-old Amelia. She is in an important meeting one morning when she recieves a phone call from Amelia's school. Amelia has been suspended from school and Kate must pick her up as soon as possible.
Kate rushes to the school but is held up. By the time she arrives at the school, Amelia is dead, having jumped from the school roof.
Kate is devastated. She'd always done her best to juggle her demanding job and caring for her daughter and now feels responsible for Amelia's death. She feels she should have known that Amelia was feeling so low she would choose to kill herself but in the coming weeks, Kate discovers she had little idea of what was going on in her daughter's life.
Reconstructing Amelia is told from both Kate and Amelia's point of view, switching between present day and the past, and includes text messages, emails and Facebook updates. It took a while for me to really get into the book. I was intrigued from the beginning but it wasn't until about a third of the way through that I became hooked and was desperate to find out what had happened to Amelia and why she ended up on the roof.
I felt for Kate as she began to delve into Amelia's past and discovered a whole new side to her daughter's life that she never had a clue about. I admired her strength as she ploughed on, despite how difficult it must have been for her to uncover some upsetting facts.
I also felt for Amelia too, knowing what fate lay ahead for her. We know that she ends up dead but we're not entirely sure what happened or why until the end. Although it took me a while to get into the book, I did become gripped and was kept guessing throughout. I thought it was a great book, full of layer upon layer of mystery.