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2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

4 / 30 books. 13% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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- Australia (1)
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My Progress:

11 / 51 states. 22% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

3 / 25 books. 12% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

13 / 50 books. 26% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

15 / 52 books. 29% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

18 / 52 books. 35% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

12 / 40 books. 30% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

7 / 40 books. 18% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

4 / 25 books. 16% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

12 / 25 books. 48% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

19 / 109 books. 17% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Little Bit Late, But We (Finally) Have a Winner ...

Sorry I'm a little tardy with this.  Better late than never, right?  So, congratulations, Ivy, you've won a copy of Second Chances by Melanie Jacobson.  If you'll email me (at blogginboutbooksATgmailDOTcom) with your mailing address, I'll pass it along to Melanie, who will be mailing out your prize.  Enjoy!

Reconstructing Amelia: It's That Disturbing and That Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Kate Baron, a 38-year-old lawyer working for a prestigious firm in Manhattan, receives a call from her daughter's high school, she's stunned.  Amelia's always been a model student.  She can't possibly be guilty of plagiarizing; the administration's obviously made a huge mistake.  When Kate reaches the school, she gets an even worse shock—Amelia's not waiting in the headmaster's office because her dead body is sprawled on the ground outside the school.  The police are quick to rule the 15-year-old's death a suicide.

Kate can't believe her only child is dead, can't fathom why someone as beautiful and smart as Amelia would take her own life.  It just doesn't add up.  Then, Kate gets an ominous text:  She didn't jump.  It's obviously some monster's idea of a sick joke, but what if it's not?  What if someone pushed Amelia?  As horrible as the idea is, it makes more sense than a girl like Amelia killing herself.  Kate can't imagine who would want to hurt Amelia, but she's determined to find her daughter's murderer.  She doesn't care if voicing her concerns makes her sound like a desperate, grief-crazy psycho—she will find out what really happen to Amelia.       

As Kate searches through her daughter's texts, emails and Facebook statuses, she begins to wonder if she knew her daughter at all.  Did Amelia's involvement with a secret campus club twist her into a lying, cheating bad girl?  Or was she the victim of extreme hazing?  Was her death caused by someone she knew or was it a random crime?  The closer Kate gets to the truth, the more disturbing the answers become.  Can she handle knowing what really happened, especially if it shows how largely she failed as a mother?  Kate's no longer sure ...

I've said many times that I love a nice, twisty psychological thriller and Reconstructing Amelia certainly qualifies.  The debut novel by Kimberly McCreight offers a murder (or not?) mystery that takes plenty of surprising, sinister turns.  Although it does get cliché in spots, the plot's tight construction as well as its alternating viewpoints keeps the story tense and edge-of-your-seat interesting.  It's well-crafted, for sure.  Not that there weren't times when it felt a little far-fetched or when Amelia acted a lot older than 15, but overall, the plotting's tight.  That being said, Reconstructing Amelia is a dark, disturbing novel that's deeply unsettling.  Let's just say, it's R-rated for a reason.  There were lots of times throughout the novel when I thought, "Why in the world am I still reading this?"  So yeah, beware.  The story made me that uncomfortable, but it was also that compelling.  Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult)  

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, sexual content (including homosexual encounters), and depictions of underage drinking/drug usage 

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Reconstructing Amelia from the generous folks at Harper Collins via those at TLC Book Tours.  Thank you!

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