REVIEW: RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA, BY KIMBERLY MCCREIGHT

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In an upscale private school in Brooklyn, secrets and hatred flourish. Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel unveils the consequences in this story about one young girl’s mysterious death, and turns a spotlight on the privileged teenagers whose insecurities are unleashed in venomous ways.

Amelia was a talented student and budding writer. Confused about many of her feelings, she is swept up into a club that can only enhance her insecurities and target her for bullying.

Kate is Amelia’s mother, a lawyer with a well-known Manhattan firm, and with her own secrets.

What happened to Amelia in the months leading up to her death? How did her relationships somehow result in the tragedy? Did Kate’s secrets cloud the issues? What betrayals would come to light in the ensuing investigation?

There were many characters to abhor in this story with multiple narrators. There was Zadie, the leader of the pack; and then there was Sylvia, an old friend whose loyalty seemed questionable at times. Dylan seemed the least obnoxious of the “mean” girls, but how did her passive behaviors intensify everything? Some of the adults, like Liv, add to the list of unlikeable characters masquerading as friends.

Hatred and bullying in the age of cyberspace was deftly portrayed via texts, e-mails, and Amelia’s first person narrative.

This unforgettable tale had me wondering until the very end, even as I had my suspicions early on, so I am awarding this book five stars.

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