Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Serious and Suspenseful, YA Whodunit Is A Sobering Pageturner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Becca Williams can't wait to leave her tiny hometown in the dust.  With her high school diploma now in hand, she's ready to head off to college and forget she ever heard of a town called Bridgeton, let alone lived there her whole life.  Only one thing is holding her back:  James.  She loves him.  The small-town gossips think it's just a high school fling, but it's not.  Is it?  Becca's not sure anymore.

Her conflicted feelings are heightened by the discovery of a dead body on the side of the highway just outside of town.  Becca doesn't know why the young woman's death disturbs her so much—Amelia Anne Richardson wasn't from Bridgeton—but it does.  As the stunned townspeople try to piece together what happened to the woman, Becca grapples to gain her own understanding.  With real-world violence touching her safe existence for the first time, she's paralyzed by indecision.  Can Becca face the brutal realities of life away from home?  Or, even more frightening, accept the stale comforts of the life she's always known, in the place she's always lived?  Amelia Anne didn't make it far in the big, wide world—will Becca be any different?

The plot of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, a debut novel by Kat Rosenfield, is difficult to describe.  No matter how I summarize it, it just doesn't end up making a lot of sense.  When you read the book, you'll see that it does, in fact, make all kinds of sense.  Maybe too much.  At any rate, it's a raw, sobering tale about two girls who have their whole lives in front of them, two girls who must make difficult decisions, two girls forced to choose between risk and suffocation.  Dark and haunting, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is one of those YA reads that feels older.  It's depressing—no doubt about that—but it's also a seriously compelling novel, one that had me tearing through the pages because I absolutely could not put it down until I knew how the story ended.        

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  B+

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, sexual content and depictions of underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find 

2 comments:

  1. Your always reading books I didn't even know existed. Now I want to read this one...but if our opinions differ so much do you think I'll like it?

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't heard of this one either, until I saw it being buzzed about in the book blogosphere. Will you like it? Honestly, I don't know. But, it's a quick read and compelling and it's more serious/adult than a lot of YA books, so ... yeah. If you read it, I'd definitely be interested in hearing what you think!

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