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Book Review

‘Reconstructing Amelia’


Book ReconstructingAmeliaCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Shirley Shiffler

Harper Collins Publishers

April 2, 2013


CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

382 pp.

“Reconstructing Amelia” is one of those “I’ll just finish this chapter; OK, just half an hour more; argh!, I can’t put this book down!” page-turners that I love to come across.

Kate Baron tries her best to balance her career as a high-powered lawyer with the demands of being a single mother. Amelia is a 15-year-old model student at an exclusive private school. The story begins with Kate receiving a telephone call from her daughter’s school. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, and Kate needs to pick her up immediately. When she gets to the school, however, she is told that Amelia has jumped to her death from the roof of the building.

In the weeks following, Kate deals with her grief and guilt and tries to reconcile her knowledge of her daughter to the uncharacteristic behavior of Amelia’s last days. Then she receives an anonymous text.

“Amelia didn’t jump.”

With those words, Kate realizes that she is going to need to use all the tools available to reconstruct her daughter’s life. Through emails, texts, social media posts and cell phone logs, Kate discovers numerous conversations that show the turn Amelia’s life had taken since the school year began. Kate had never felt the need to monitor her daughter’s online activity, since the two of them always had an open, trusting relationship. What she finds is that, while Amelia might be a good girl, the person on the other end is often not. She uncovers adults posing as kids, teachers pretending to be students, enemies who turn out to be friends and friends who are really enemies. After unraveling the secrets and lies, Kate finally gains the peace that comes from understanding the circumstances of Amelia’s death and is able to face her grief and herself. CV

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