“Reconstructing Amelia”, Kimberly McCreight


Reconstructing AmeliaAmelia is a 15-year-old girl in a college preparatory school.

Amelia had never been in trouble in her entire life. Her teachers called her a delight – bright, creative, thoughtful, focused. She excelled in athletics and was involved in every extracurricular activity under the sun. She volunteered once a month at CHIPS, a local soup kitchen, and regularly helped out at school events. Suspended from school? No, not Amelia. Despite Kate’s crushing work hours, she knew her daughter. Really knew her.

Her mother, Kate Barron, is a successful lawyer who works in a cut-throat law firm. Many times – because of her work – returns late at night, so tired they barely have time to exchange few words before she falls asleep. Nevertheless, Kate, who is a single mother really knows her daughter. Or so she thinks until something happens that no mother, or father, should have to experience. The death of Amelia.

It’s late October and Kate receives a phone call. She has to go urgently to school and take her daughter home, because she is suspended for cheating. When she arrives at school, late because of traffic, she can see many police officers and an ambulance. A policeman approaches her, and when he finds out who she is, he tells her he is detective Molina and that Amelia jumped off the rood and died. Kate collapses. She can barely cope with what happened. She takes two months of her job and her few friends try to support her. The days pass and she is in deep depression. But suddenly she receives a text message on her mobile phone…

Amelia didn’t jump.
Kate snapped her eyes closed. No, that message hadn’t said what she thought it had. It wasn’t possible. Kate squeezed her eyes even tighter before finally opening them. But when she looked down at her phone again, the message was still there. Amelia didn’t jump. She read it three times more, and yet the words remained the same. Kate’s heart was pounding as she rested her phone gently on the center of her desk. Then she rolled her chair slowly away so that she could stare at the phone from a safe distance.
Please, was all she could think. Please don’t do this to me. Please don’t torture me.

Kate initially believed this was a sick joke. But Jeremy, her boss at the law firm disagrees and decides to move heaven and earth to help. Thus, they find out that detective Moline did not do his job well. Amelia’s death investigation was not thorough. Detective Lou Thompson reopens Amelia’s case and he has suspicions that Amelia was killed. With the new data, Kate, despite her grief and depression, is left with just one option: find the strength and gather the courage to search for the causes and the real circumstances of her daughter’s death.

Reconstructing Amelia - greek book coverThe first move is to search the mobile phone Amelia had. Kate finds the charger, connects it, but the phone is locked. She takes the cell phone and Amelia’s laptop and asks technical assistance from the IT department of her company. The tech unlocks the phone, finds what passwords Amelia used for Facebook, twitter and email and prints for Kate what he found. Kate follows the new clues. Where will they lead her? Her beloved daughter committed suicide or was she murdered?

You will find Kate’s quest for truth in the book “Reconstructing Amelia” which was published in greek on May 2014 by Platypus Publications, translated by Foteini Moschi. This is the first novel Kimberly McCreight wrote and it enjoyed great success in USA, where it was published by Harper Perennial.

And that success is not a coincidence. Kimberly McCreight handled with great mastery many of the issues that young people – and of course their parents – face, including the hot topic of gossips and bullying, which both have found fertile ground in blogs and social media. You see things today have changed. In the past, before internet came to our liVes, a blunder in school could hunt us for few weeks. Today a photo or a video, even a blog post can haunt a student’s life forever. As someone said “digital fingerprints do not fade away”.

Reconstructing AmeliaBut “Reconstructing Amelia” also touches many other issues. First loves, friendships that stood in time and friendships that were betrayed, teenagers need and effort to socialize, either in groups or in cliques (in the case of Amelia secret clubs) are issues that fill the pages of this book. Rejection and acceptance. Because it’s not just to be accepted and liked by other, but what matters is one to accept his own self.

Kimberly McCreight addresses all these issues and achieves to write a special and unique book. She is a talented writer and the fast paced plot keeps you in suspense with many twists. The narrative moves in two parallel timelines and facts are presented to us through the eyes of the two protagonists. Although the novel is built around an extremely unpleasant event the reading is incredibly enjoyable and very useful. I think this is an excellent book, especially for teens and their parents who will find in “Reconstructing Amelia” a window if acquaintance with the world of their children.

It is worth mentioning that “Reconstructing Amelia” got Nicole Kidman’s attention, who will do the production and star in a film adaption, in collaboration with TV network HBO (yes, HBO is the network behind Game of Thrones).

Do no wait any longer! Read this book!


Few words about the author:

Kimberly McCreight is the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, which was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel as well as an Alex Award. Called Entertainment Weekly’s Favorite Book of the Year, Reconstructing Amelia was one of CNN’s Reader Favorites for 2013, a finalist for Goodreads Best Mystery of the Year and a Book Club pick for Target, Books-a-Million and Indigo. Reconstructing Amelia has also been optioned for film by HBO and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films. McCreight’s second novel How I Lost Her, will be published by Harper in April 2015. Her teen trilogy The Outliers, to be published by Harper Teen in 2016, has been optioned for film by Lionsgate, Mandeville, and Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.

The synopsis at the back of the book:

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.