Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia

A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter’s life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can’t believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who’s never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate’s faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she’d done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn’t jump.

Sifting through Amelia’s emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall’s roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It’s about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

I picked Reconstructing Amelia up awhile ago but for some reason I just wasn’t in the right mood for it, even though I was enjoying the story. So I set it aside and came back to it. And I’m glad I waited until I was in the right mood because otherwise I would’ve been reading a most excellent book and not enjoying myself!

Reconstructing Amelia is definitely a mystery but I loved the way it was written most of all. We read from a few different view points. The only slight confusion I had was that the time frames were sometimes hard to keep track of – so I stopped being so anal and decided to not try to keep so close of attention on the dates and realized I didn’t really need to pay TOO much attention to them to understand the timeline. You can pretty much follow the time line, even when the narrator changes just by what’s being talked about and what else is going on at the time. I’m making this sound complicated but it’s really not.

But back to the style I loved. I have a thing for books written in diary / journal format and even though this wasn’t exactly like that, I loved this as much. We get to read back and forth text convos, Facebook statuses ( which many were Amelia quoting passages from her favorite author Virginia Woolf who I now totally want to read her books!) I love it when one story gives you the desire to read other books. I’m a huge fan of quotes ( I keep a document on my computer that I’ve had for years now collecting quotes I love; it’s over 19 pages long last I checked!) I loved all if the quotes Amelia used as status updates.

I felt like at first Reconstructing Amelia was a bit slow, probably the first 50 pages or so? Just because we don’t know anything and everything has yet to be uncovered. It takes time, but we learn exactly what lead up to Amelia’s death. The end was a real shock, I totally didn’t see it coming at all.

I liked Amelia a lot. I felt like as I was reading her narration, getting inside her head and see the world from her eyes that she’d definitely be one of the people I’d have for a friend. Her personality and life becomes more ad more real to us, even as we know she’s dead. It made the ending that much more heart breaking and yet beautiful too.

I could totally relate to Amelia in a lot of ways. I’m not sure I’d have made the same choices if I had been in her shoes but she was just a girl, living in a world, doing the best she could even though she knew her choices weren’t always the best. We can’t be perfect people all the time. It also drove home the point that every person has many facets and most of the time one person never catches a gimpse of them all. It’s through these glimpses from the perspective of others that we get the true picture of who Amelia was and I appreciated that.  I give kudos to McCreight for portraying such a down to earth and easy to relate to character without going all cliche

Reconstructing Amelia

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• This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here

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About April

A twenty-something who's always had a love for reading and now that passion includes her nook! When not blogging or reading, she's probably chatting on Skype--or doing all those things at once with music and TV in the mix! More posts by April »


  1. That sounds like an emotional read. And.. I might need to ask you why and how she died now in the end! Totally want to know!

    I’m not sure it’s truly a book for mas as much as would want to. With Amelia being dead, there is no hope for her… ;(

    Anyway! It does sound great so maybe I just need to be in the right mood 🙂

  2. Really great review. I cannot wait to read this one!!

    Happy Friday!

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