Wendy Darling's Reviews > Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
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Jul 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-publication, young-adult, mystery-traditional, july, penguin, ala-2012, mature-ya, tough-subjects, read-2012, summery
Recommended for: fans of Imaginary Girls, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Read from June 27 to 28, 2012

This has been amazing year for young adult literature for mature audiences. From The Miseducation of Cameron Post to the upcoming Monstrous Beauty, it's been incredibly exciting to find books that aren't afraid to push boundaries, ask questions, and immerse their readers in unusual literary styles. Is this in recognition that more and more adults are reading YA? Perhaps. I just hope the trend continues.

One of my favorite books this year is definitely Kat Rosenfeld's Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. It's the story of Amelia Anne Richardson, a girl found brutally murdered on the side of a dirt road--but it's also the story of Becca, who is spending a last summer at home in her small town. It's a mystery without easy answers, it's a snapshot of a girl's coming into her own, and it's a sad, painful testament to the trauma that envelopes the end of a love affair.

Our first meeting was romantic. High school legend-like, it made me yearn to stay with him just for the chance to tell our kids someday about how their father had swept me off my feet at the tender age of sixteen. About the bonfire at Hunter's Point and the coltish-skinny, cigarette-smoking boy with shaggy hair, sitting apart from his friends, who looked across the flames at me with such intensity that he himself seemed to be on fire.

The writing is entrancing, with a slow, rhythmic cadence that captures the moody summer violence that both girls experience. It isn't an easy book or typical page-turning mystery by any means, and it's likely to be very polarizing in its style and its content. I'm not certain we ever get to know either girl as well as I would have liked, either, and I think I would have been more moved by their plight if their stories didn't parallel quite so much. But I still found myself fascinated by the language and the mystery of what happens to Amelia Anne and Becca, whose true fates seem elusive even at the conclusion of the book. Readers who appreciated the writing in Cameron Post or the dreamy smoke and mirrors of Imaginary Girls will likely fall in love with Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, too.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher. Recommended for mature YA readers only.

Win a copy of this book over on our blog! If you enjoy more mature, literary YA, you'll likely appreciate the author's prose.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 74) (74 new)

message 1: by Julia (new)

Julia I'm so upset that all of these fantastic books are coming out but I am neck deep in HW and haven't been able to read them! :(

message 2: by Julia (new)

Julia Great review, by the way. It sounds fabulous!

message 3: by Jasprit (new)

Jasprit Beautiful review Wendy, this definitely sounds like something different that I would enjoy, thanks for bringing it to my attention :)

Simcsa I've never heard about the book.. It also doesn't sound like something I would like. However, I love Imaginary Girls. What am I supposed to do now? :)

Sharon ∞❥ is an emotional book junkie ❥∞ great review Wendy...sounds really good.

message 6: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jul 22, 2012 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wendy Darling Julia, the amount of books coming out in September/October alone is staggering. I haven't actually counted them all yet, but it's pretty overwhelming to look at the pile! I'm sorry you don't have a lot of reading time lately, but hopefully that changes soon. And HW = homework? Isn't it summer for you?! :(

Thanks Jasprit! It's a very unusual book, and a hard sell for most YA readers, I think. But for those who also like adult fiction, this is sort of a crossover title that is really outstanding.

Simcsa, if you loved IG, I am pretty sure you'll at least like this book. The writing evokes a similar feel, and it's also full of twists and turns.

And thanks Sharon! It's a pretty great book if you enjoy this sort of thing.

Mark Added to the TBR stack. You had me at "Cameron Post." :)

message 8: by Julia (new)

Julia Wow, 2012 is the year of the mature YA books. This is a good thing, considering I'll only have my Kindle in Poland so I can download them all! Mua ha ha ;)

Yes, HW = homework :/ It is summer and for some reason I thought I would have the bright idea to take 3 courses over a 6 week minimester. Worst. Idea. Ever. I have never been so plagued with work, and I'lve taken 6 courses during a regular semester. I'm academically suicidal.

Wendy Darling I thought that might do it for you, Mark! :)

Yeah, this has been an amazing year for more literary YA, Julia. I'm so jazzed about that, and I'm really grateful that publishers are taking a chance on less commercial material. I think it's important to support this stuff where we can, so that they continue to be open to this sort of material.

And hah, academic suicide! I'm sorry your summer has been so rough. I was kind of an overachiever in school too (I don't think I had a free, non-academic summer at all past grade school), so I can totally sympathize. But it'll be worth it in the end. I just hope you're also having some fun, too!

message 10: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose Wonderful review, Wendy. I'm so looking forward to reading this. :)

Wendy Darling Thanks Rose! It's already out in stores, so I hope you get a chance to read it soon. :)

message 12: by Rogier (new) - added it

Rogier on my wishlist.tnx for the review

Cassie Thanks Wendy! I always depend on you for any book I'm interested in reading! Your reviews help ton, and I've never heard of any of the titles you talked about in this review... I feel bad, but I'm very excited for this book! I'm definitely going to check out the books you said, and I just want to say thank you tons! :)

Tanya You've got me intrigued! I've debated whether or not to add Imaginary Girls on my list as it also tends to be polarizing, but I think I'll be adding it and this one. Heading over to your blog and crossing my fingers :)

message 15: by Kay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay Yay! I have it coming in the mail so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! And like Tanya, I was hesitant about Imaginary Girls since the reviews I read were either super positive or super negative, but I think I'll want to read it.

message 16: by Alex (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alex Oh, I'm interested! Looooved Cameron Post.

message 17: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jul 22, 2012 11:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wendy Darling Awesome, I hope you get it soon, Rogier. :)

Aw, thanks so much for letting me know the reviews are helpful, Cassie! I truly appreciate your taking the time to do that. This book (and the others I mentioned) are very tricky and won't be to everyone's taste, but if you like a more literary style of writing, it might just be your cup of tea. Let me know what you think of them if you end up reading them!

Oh Tanya and Kay, Imaginary Girls was one of my favorite books from last year. A lot of readers were upset that the book didn't really explain everything, but I actually loved that about it. It has a very Twilight Zone-type of quality. I hope you enjoy it if you read it! And yay, I'm glad you are both going to try this one, too. :)

I'm pretty sure people who loved Cameron Post will like this, Alex--that's my working theory, anyway! It's a very different story, obviously, but it's similarly very well-written and addresses mature themes.

message 18: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah Scheier I've had this book in my amazon cart since it came out but haven't wanted to break my already strained book budget. Your review and that excerpt have convinced me. Thanks! (and so glad to see you back on Goodreads)

Wendy Darling


Yay! Fingers crossed you fall in love with it just as I did, Leah. It's such an unusual book, and I'm glad to see this sort of thing getting published. And thank you for the welcome back. :)

message 20: by Skittles (new)

Skittles This sounds very interesting. Adding to list.

message 21: by Isabelle (new) - added it

Isabelle I really need to read Imaginary Girls now. I've heard nothing but good things about it.

As for Amelia Anne- I'll buy the hardcover on Amazon. So pretty. And I love mature YA.

Wendy Darling Hope you enjoy, Skyla. :)

Well, Imaginary Girls is pretty polarizing too, Isabelle. But it was one of my favorite books from 2012! I am so glad you're going to give them both a chance, though.

message 23: by Kala (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kala I wish they had this at my library. I might bite the bullet and buy it instead, it looks really good.

message 24: by Howdy YAL (new)

Howdy YAL This looks like a good one. I'm going to have to kep my eyes out for it. And slightly off topic, but I am really excited for Monstrous Beauty thanks to your review, Wendy. I've been looking for a good mermaid novel lately.

Wendy Darling I'm keeping a copy for my shelves, Kala. :) It might be worth sampling the first chapter or so on Amazon to see if you like the author's writing style.

YAL, Monstrous Beauty is my favorite YA mermaid book yet! Enormously difficult to pinpoint, and I don't think most young adult readers will like it, hah. But I thought it was spectacular.

message 26: by Howdy YAL (new)

Howdy YAL That's good to know. I actually want something that's sort of outside the steretypical genre. I've read Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Child which is cute, but it hardly had the depth I want. And right now I'm reading Tempest Rising which I would really like if it wasn't so heavily bogged down with insta love.

Wendy Darling I'd love to hear what you think of MB, YAL. It's very dark, very adult, and very different from any other mermaid book I've read. I'm going to be starting The Brides of Rollrock Island soon too, which I have high hopes for!

I've heard that about the Fins books. I may pick one up at the library sometime, but I'm not really in any hurry. :)

message 28: by Howdy YAL (new)

Howdy YAL The Brides of Rollrock Island looks very interesting, I can't wait to read your review.

As for the fin books, they're really fluffy. I think they're great middle grade books, but the overall series plot is really lacking. Each book could essentially be a stand alone. I would equate them to being like meramid chick lit.

message 29: by Laura (new)

Laura Damn, Wendy! :) You know I wasn’t going to read this one. Haha….I’m not even sure why—just didn’t jump out and say HELLO. It just needed a Wendy review to slap me upside the head! Beautiful review, Wendy! Damn you. ;) I’m looking forward to it now.

Tee loves Kyle Jacobson Wendy I love to read your reviews because you make me want to run out and read the books! I have to get this book on release day. I think you are so right about the mature YA reads gearing towards adults and college age kids. The New Adult genre is taking off on a run!

Wendy Darling I don't know if I've ever been damned on my own review before, Laura! :D Heh. I'm glad this one said HELLO to you at last.

I like fluffy books sometimes, YAL--I didn't realize the Fin books were more middle grade, though? I like MG, but I'm a bit pickier about those. Mermaid chick lit isn't a bad thing if it's done well, but I have yet to see that!

And yay, I'm glad this made you want to run out and get the book, Tee! It's been out for a couple of weeks, actually, so hopefully it won't be too hard to find. :) I like the New Adult label you've come up with, hah. Let me know if you end up liking this one. :)

Tee loves Kyle Jacobson Wendy the genre actually has a website where new adult books are listed and the authors share things. Let me look it up and get it over to you. Here it is and it is an awesome website so enjoy and let me know what you think http://naalley.blogspot.com/p/about.html

Eyehavenofilter Thanks for helping me decide to read this... Wow! I loved it, and reviewed it.

Joy (joyous reads) Great review, Ms. Wendy. I'm so glad I picked it up last week. I can't wait to read it! :)

message 35: by Julia (new)

Julia I just realized you said it was exciting more literary YA was coming out, Wends! I am too. My Creative Writing professor is so gung-ho about the literariness of literature and I found I am lacking severely in my literary reading, lol. It was ironic that you mentioned it. That word has been haunting me.

message 36: by Howdy YAL (new)

Howdy YAL Yay for literary YAs. My Creative Writing teacher would be proud :)

Wendy, I should clarify that Forgive My Fins is not an actual middle grade novel-the characters are about to graduate from high school. But it sure does read as one. The main character reads younger than she is, I think. And it's very clean which is a far cry from a lot of the books in the genre. I actually do like Tera's writing though I prefer the Sweet Venom books to her Fin books.

Wendy Darling Wow, I've never seen that site before, Tee! Thanks for sharing that, I will have to look through it sometime soon. Cool.

Yay!! I'm happy you enjoyed this, Ada-Lee. 5 stars, too!

Thanks Joy. I can't wait to see what you think of it. :)

Yeah, I've been a broken record about literary YA, Julia. (view spoiler) Does your CW teacher read any YA? I'm curious what adults who don't would think of the types of literary YA books coming out this year. There are a couple of titles I am going to be (cautiously) recommending to a couple of friends here who don't read a lot of YA, and even then I'm not sure what they'd think of it.

Thanks for clarifying, YAL.:) That makes sense, I know what you mean about "young" YA. I started a small shelf awhile back for books that I felt were more MG than YA...and I never really mean that in a flattering way, hah. I haven't read Sweet Venom either, isn't it funny I never connect that the same author wrote both?!

message 38: by Jen (new)

Jen I really enjoyed this one too. Loved the writing!

message 39: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Oooh, I can't wait to read this!

Wendy Darling Yay, a fellow fan! Will you be writing a review, Jen?

I hope you get a chance to read it soon, Jennifer. :)

message 41: by Jen (new)

Jen I did review it on my blog, but I'm behind on cross-posting here!

message 42: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah I love the sound of this book! Great review, Wendy! :)

Wendy Darling Nice--I like the closing lines of your review especially, Jen. :)

Let me know what you think of it when you get around to it, Miss Sarah. Thank you!

message 44: by Julia (new)

Julia He doesn't, Wendy! He has no clue what he's missing. He really only reads contemporary literary fiction and the occasional sci-fi. He doesn't even consider Neil Gaiman literary. I cried a little. Oh, and (view spoiler).

Wendy Darling Aw. People who don't read YA really don't have any idea what they're missing. On the plus side, someone commented on our Necromancing the Stone giveaway saying that she got her friend to teach the first book in her gothic lit class! So that's kind of cool. Support for adults reading YA is growing.

And yay, I will keep calling you Freebird from time to time, then! I always liked that name. :)

message 46: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Beautiful review! I hadn't planned on picking this up - note the past tense...

Wendy Darling Thanks Tracey! And yay, I am always happy when I can get someone to at least check something out. :) I hope you enjoy it when you get to it, Tracey.

message 48: by Angela (new)

Angela Sounds like a read I would enjoy...if only I had the time to squeeze in yet another book, given the huge crush of releases coming out in Aug. - Oct. this year. Thanks for another great review, Wendy. :)

Wendy Darling I would love to hear what you think of this one, Angela! And yes, the number of books releasing between August-October is insane. It's impossible to get to them all. *sigh*

message 50: by Angela (new)

Angela Wendy Darling wrote: "I would love to hear what you think of this one, Angela! And yes, the number of books releasing between August-October is insane. It's impossible to get to them all. *sigh*"

If it comes to the library any time soon, I will pick it up and let you know! I already have a shelf overflowing with summer and fall ARCs to get to before then, though....

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