Reconstructing Amelia

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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This book is about a mother investigating the death of her teenage daughter, convinced she did not commit suicide. She uncovers a conspiracy in her daughter’s fancy private school to protect the students involved in secret clubs that involve hazing, blackmail, and vicious harassment. In the end, the mother’s own history is revealed as a contributing factor in the complicated sequence of events that led to her daughter’s death.

The point of view alternates between the past and present and between the mother and daughter, and includes lots of emails, text message conversations, and facebook status updates. This format allows for lots of surprises and reversals. The book definitely kept my attention, and the ending was something I didn’t expect or anticipate. The book has been compared to Gone Girl, and I think in terms of the structure, pacing, and “thriller” genre, that’s accurate. But I think the target of this book–privileged teens forming exclusive clubs–is a much easier one than that of Gone Girl, a book that takes on the terror at the heart of marriage that comes from the total unknowability of the other.

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