My thoughts: Billing Reconstructing Amelia as this year's Gone Girl, a marketing device I typically avoid, doesn't do this novel justice. While it does share some similarities with Gillian Flynn's blockbuster (my review), it reads like an utterly original mash-up of Gone Girl, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and Gossip Girl. The novel taps into a sense of "wait, what's real?" and immediately gives the reader the sense she doesn't know exactly what she should believe. In terms of plot, however, I was struck by the similarities to Maria Semple's divine comedy Where'd You Go, Bernadette? In Reconstructing Amelia, the mystery is much darker, and it's Kate, the mother, left to piece together Amelia's life through the messages she left behind.
McCreight's writing shines throughout this novel. As the novel unfolds in alternating chapters with Kate and Amelia, I was amazed how well-formed each character was. Each woman has a distinctive, authentic voice from the novel's first pages.There's always a joy encountering characters who love books as much as I do, and Amelia is one of those characters: "Clothes were to Sylvia what books were to me: the only thing that really mattered." Writing the inner thoughts of a fifteen-year-old is challenging, yet McCreight manages to both nail it and keep Amelia's sections from reading like a young adult novel.
The verdict: Reconstructing Amelia is an addictive thriller combined with a moving story of the relationship between a mother and teenage daughter. That McCreight manages both stories equally well is a testament to her writing and character development.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 400 pages
Publication date: April 2, 2013
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Reconstructing Amelia from the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)
Want more? Check out the entire tour, visit Kimberly McCreight's website, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.
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