Initial reaction: I was really surprised how engaged I was throughout this entire narrative. The book somehow missed my radar when it was first released, but I got it on Google Play for $1.99 during one of their sales. I couldn’t put this down at all. I loved the format, loved the way it kept me guessing, and the characters were well constructed. I still need to collect my thoughts, but this is looking like a 4 star read.
Edit 1/28/2016: Character name corrected to Kate. Apologies for the confusion!
Confession time: “Reconstructing Amelia” is the kind of mystery that I really love reading, and it’s no surprise to me that I really enjoyed the ride this book took me on. It had a boatload of twists I wasn’t expecting, tragic coincidences, and characters I could very well see the motivations and reactions for throughout the narrative.
This narrative trades between the story of the mother, Kate, and Amelia, her 15-year old daughter. Kate is a hard working lawyer that tries to do well by Amelia despite some secrets in the past she would rather not deal with if she can help it. But Amelia starts acting in erratic ways that reach a point of no return as Kate’s called by Amelia’s school to learn that her daughter’s been suspended. Next thing you know, Amelia’s dead of an apparent suicide.
Kate feels the enormous weight of guilt for a number of reasons (questioning her parenting, not recognizing the signs in the days before Amelia’s death, not getting to the school on time, etc.). But one text throws everything into focus for Kate – one sent anonymously to her phone:
“She didn’t jump.”
Kate begins the quest to figure out what happened to her only daughter, and reveals a twisted web of cover-ups, lies, complicated romances and relationships, jealousy, bullying, among other things. Technically, I ended up reading this novel twice because I read my Google Play version and then downloaded the audiobook from my library (which was exceptionally read by one of my favorite narrators: Khristine Hvam). Kate and Amelia both were relatable characters, and I found myself following the timeline and portrayals well even as the book moved from past to present and featured trades between texts (which if you’re thrown out of the narrative in the print, the audiobook does a good job of presenting those in an alternative way) and perspective points.
Definitely would recommend this read, and I’d gladly read it again for the experience.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.