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Reconstructing Amelia

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3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  84,307 Ratings  ·  9,197 Reviews
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:
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Hardcover, 382 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by HarperCollins
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Doreen Young This book could have appeal for both. I work at a High-school Library and both students and staff loved this book. It is an eye opener regarding the…moreThis book could have appeal for both. I work at a High-school Library and both students and staff loved this book. It is an eye opener regarding the mentality of young teens and the general naiveness of the parents. I would not want to be raising children, especially teens, with today's technology. This story is an eye opener!!(less)
xoSammiDxo My take is a mild form of autism, perhaps Asperger's. Dylan wasn't socially awkward, she simply didn't relate to social cues nor did she always…moreMy take is a mild form of autism, perhaps Asperger's. Dylan wasn't socially awkward, she simply didn't relate to social cues nor did she always provide them. And in a piece it is revealed by Dylan's mom "only her father, me, and Zadie know." this is what is meant by "knew the real her". Zadie knew of the Asperger's, but no one else outside of the immediate family knew.(less)
Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnDark Places by Gillian FlynnSharp Objects by Gillian FlynnThe Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsInto the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
Female Psychological Thrillers/Suspense
11th out of 536 books — 1,550 voters
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene WeckerLife After Life by Kate AtkinsonA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth OzekiThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Interesting Books of 2013
9th out of 326 books — 986 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jenn (One of Many, We are Legion)
This book. This. Fucking. Book. You see all those other reviews talking about how it was unputdownable, and how they never believed something so cliche before this book? You know how you’re rolling your eyes right now at those comments? Stop it. They are all true. This book handily usurped Gone Girl as the best book I have read in the past year. Make no mistake, however, this book is absolutely heartwrenching in so many ways I cannot describe absent spoilers.

This book is many things, which makes
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M
Dec 03, 2013 M rated it did not like it
Here are my pervasive thoughts as I read this book:
1 - Gillian Flynn, you should be offended within every inch of your life.
2 - I can see how a puppet show could be entertaining, but not when all you see is the marionette pulling the strings and
3 - I am coining a new term - Offensive Apologetics - to encapsulate much - but by no means all - of what is wrong with this book.

To address 1 - Ms. Flynn penned a successful hit entitled Gone Girl which, while gimmicky and over the top, was engaging and
...more
Emily May
Apr 22, 2015 Emily May rated it really liked it
“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”
- Virginia Woolf


This book made me cry. And I really wasn't expecting that.

I think the comparisons between Reconstructing Amelia and Gone Girl have done this book a disservice. I know that every mystery/thriller with some unconventional female antics is now compared to Gone Girl - inevitable, really, in a world so focused on the marketing and selling aspect.

But Gone Girl (and the books that deserve to be grouped with it) left me shocked
...more
Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sammee
May 24, 2013 Sammee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
In a nutshell this book is what I said it would be - a Lifetime movie meets Gossip Girl mixed with The Skulls & a dash of Law&Order: SVU for, an attempt at, good measure. If that is your sort of thing then enjoy but if you are looking for imagination, colorful writing, complex characters & a story that doesn't have plot holes then I suggest you pass on this book. EW review gave this an 'A' calling it "this year's Gone Girl — you remember Gillian Flynn's best-selling nail-biter of 201 ...more
pdbkwm
May 17, 2014 pdbkwm rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this, but the writing is really bad. Really bad. Really, really, really bad. Plus, some of the plot points simply made no sense. There are certain things you can suspend your disbelief to and that’s fine and normal when it comes to any form of fiction, as long as it makes sense in their world the author created, but there is a limit. There’s no way a detective would bring the mother of a victim along with him to interview witnesses and get statements. It….. No, just no.

Unless, h
...more
Lisa
Apr 09, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A glowing review in Entertainment Weekly suggested this book is the must-read thriller of 2013, the next Gone Girl. Based on that review, and bored by the last book I finished, I was eager to read this one. But the glowing review left me disappointed. Don't get me wrong - this is a fun, engaging thriller that kept me reading. I finished it in about a day and a half. But I would hardly rave about it.

Kate, a single mother in her late 30s, is a junior partner in a large NY law firm, logging in the
...more
Korey
Jun 21, 2013 Korey rated it did not like it
Good lord this book is awful. It reads like a novelization of a particularly insipid Lifetime movie. I can't even fathom how this dreck got published.

This book is a disaster in all respects. The characters are paper thin and uniformly obnoxious. They are each imbued with exactly one personality trait that is hammered into the ground ("mom works!" "Daughter reads" "boy crazy best friend"). The characters have no interior lives. None of these characters feel like people. They are some of the most
...more
Kristin (KC)
Jun 01, 2015 Kristin (KC) rated it liked it
*3.5 Stars

• Gripping and mysterious build-up
• Intriguing plot
• Wonderfully composed characters
• Decent conclusion, but wasn't as blown away as I'd hoped

*Would recommend*
Katie
May 19, 2013 Katie rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rose
Initial reaction: I was really surprised how engaged I was throughout this entire narrative. The book somehow missed my radar when it was first released, but I got it on Google Play for $1.99 during one of their sales. I couldn't put this down at all. I loved the format, loved the way it kept me guessing, and the characters were well constructed. I still need to collect my thoughts, but this is looking like a 4 star read.

Full review:

Edit 1/28/2016: Character name corrected to Kate. Apologies for
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Harpercollins Canada
Reconstructing Amelia is a debut novel by Kimberly McCreight, and, my gosh, is it good. In the beginning of the novel readers meet Kate, a single mother and successful lawyer who struggles daily with determining which role is more important. Her daughter, Amelia, is a bright, creative, thoughtful and focused high school student. Despite Kate’s “crushing work hours, she knew her daughter. Really knew her,” she assures herself. But the closeness of their bond is called to question when Kate receiv ...more
Trudi

2.5 stars

I could really tear this book a new one if I wanted to, seeing as how it is plagued by incredulous plot twists and nonsensical melodramatic character motivations that at times positively scream daytime soap opera antics.



Despite these maddening shortcomings, I was able to overlook most of them most of the time as the novel fairly hums along with just enough speed and tension to keep you turning the pages. It's a beach read in the sense that if you are sun stoned and feeling epically laz
...more
Brenda
Jun 25, 2016 Brenda rated it liked it
Time to deconstruct Reconstructing Amelia. I think I must have enjoyed this book. After all, I never considered not finishing it. So it kept me engaged. I had no problems switching from Amelia to Kate and back to Amelia. And I had no problems reading current time and 1997. I wanted to know the whole backstory.

This was not, however, a perfect book. I really objected to how Lew the Lieutenant let Kate get so deeply involved in the investigation. She was the one poring over what was on Amelia's pho
...more
Maria
This book was one of the biggest disappointments I've read in a long time. I like mysteries, I like books about teenagers, I like books that incorporate different kinds of media (e-mails, texts, blog posts, etc.), and I think the book had a good premise: a seemingly-happy fifteen year old girl flings herself off the roof of her fancy, private school, and her mother is determined to figure out why. But it all goes downhill from there.

Amelia is the cliche of the Perfect High School Daughter: she i
...more
Dem
Jun 12, 2014 Dem rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub-reads
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight is one of those books that parents of teenagers will read and think, could this possibly be happening in my child's life or is it all just hype.

"Do you really know whats going on inside your daughter's head"

What a brilliant premise for a novel. We have become so advanced in social media and yet so naive to the dangers and consequences of the advancements. Once there was a time when bullying at school might have been confined to the school yard or t
...more
Sara
Apr 20, 2013 Sara rated it liked it
So a few weeks ago I was reading reviews here and I can't recall the book but someone pointed out that a problem they have with books that deal with girls coming into their sexuality or falling in love for the first time is this slightly absurd idea that they have no idea what's going on. There's a lot of "what are these strange feelings I am suddenly having that I have never before even heard about?" and "I am completely unfamiliar with this strange tingling between my legs that has never been ...more
Katie
Dec 30, 2015 Katie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Gillian Flynn, literary psychological suspense
I guess we have to thank Gillian Flynn for making the literary thriller one of the hot new genres...after I finished reading this book, I couldn't stop thinking about how much this book would appeal to fans of Gone Girl. It's not QUITE as twisted and dark as Gillian Flynn's novels, but the elements are definitely present, and this is a powerful read.

The story begins with Kate Baron, a single mother and attorney, receiving a call from her daughter Amelia's exclusive private school, saying that Am
...more
Denise Cornelius
Jun 17, 2013 Denise Cornelius rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
TL
Jun 17, 2015 TL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to TL by: Nikki (Tumblr.Books)
""I don't know what she was doing with them," Seth said, "But I know that nothing Amelia could have read would have changed how much she loved you. And she did, Kate. She really loved you."

"Then why do I feel even worse?"

Seth reached forward and put his hand over Kate's. "Because she's still gone.


This book tugged at my heart, and made me cry at times... also frustrated and angry at some of the things happening.

It drew me in from the start and didn't let go, letting up now and then to let some t
...more
Carol
Aug 21, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-audible
O-M-G! I'm so glad that I was a teenage girl way before the arrival of the internet. These girlies take bullying to a whole new level!
Becky
Jul 05, 2013 Becky rated it it was ok
I read a ton of mysteries/thrillers, so when I saw this one was getting all sorts of glowing reviews and that there's even a Nicole Kidman movie in the works, I had to read it, of course. For the first third, I found it to be a decent suspense novel, and I was even impressed at the believability of some of the plot twists.

But then that all fell apart, as if the author had just thrown in a bunch of plot points she had no idea how to resolve. Several of them were faux-resolved in completely unbeli
...more
Liz Krieger
Feb 01, 2013 Liz Krieger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-finished
I always snort with cynicism when people rave that a book was 'so good I couldn't put it down."

But THIS book is just that compelling, so it truly warrants that sort of phrase. Within 36 hours of starting this book about a private-school teenager's apparent suicide, I'd come to the end, and I nearly felt out of breath, was deeply moved and had become totally absorbed by both the exciting, heart-wrenching plot and the well-drawn characters.

Some books are beautifully rendered but sort of boring.
...more
Sharon
Oct 11, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
Kate Baron is a single mother and a very busy lawyer. Her fifteen year old daughter Amelia attends an exclusive private school. Amelia is a bright, creative and a very thoughtful student so when her mother receives a call from her school to come and pick her up because she's been suspended she is has no idea as to what her daughter could've done.
Once Kate arrives at the school she is shocked to to find that Amelia has fallen to her death from the school roof. Not only is Kate extremely upset she
...more
Blair
Kate Baron, a stressed, overworked lawyer and single mother, receives a call from Grace Hall - the exclusive private school in Brooklyn's suburbs which her only daughter, Amelia, attends - to say Amelia has been caught plagiarising an English paper. This is odd in the first place, since Amelia is a straight-A student whose favourite subject is English. But when Kate arrives at the school, she is greeted by a phalanx of police and the devastating news that her daughter has died jumping from the b ...more
Michelle
This reminded me of the television show Castle. Now, I love Castle, it’s one of my favorites, but I love it because it’s campy and silly. (Also, Nathan Fillion helps). Anyway, I don’t think a campy vibe is what the author was going for in this. The premise is terrific. Teen at prep school commits suicide – or did she? Super driven single mom aims to find out.

It’s hard to find characters to root for her. Kate is okay, I guess. And you understand where she’s coming from and why she’s been so drive
...more
Connie
I had some trouble deciding on a rating for this book. I give Ms McCreight a lot of credit, and 4-5 stars for tackling some disturbing and hot topics in the world of todays teens...bullying, peer pressure, sexuality...and using the social tools that are todays world, texting, IM, Facebook etc. I think that following along as Amelia's life is "reconstructed" tells a very haunting story and one that could open up all kinds of dialogue not just in book clubs but in homes of parents with teens.

For t
...more
Chase
Feb 22, 2014 Chase rated it it was ok
Shelves: readin14
I am giving this book 2 stars just because I want to believe that I wouldn't bother to even finish a book that's truly 1 star. I picked it to take on vacation on the recommendation of Goodreads (THANKS GOODREADS), because I like to take something light (or "terrible") on my vacations. Really the only reason I read it was because I was trapped inside of a metal tube hurling through space with nothing else to do.

This book is just super dumb. The story is dumb, all the people are dumb, the twists a
...more
Books
Jan 09, 2014 Books rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, color me impressed and tip me over with a feather, but I absolutely loved loved loved this book! It’s not my usual read exactly, but then again, what is? My book tastes are as wide as my taste in music. But I digress. Anyway, initially I was planning on rating this novel four stars, but after crying myself through the phenomenal ending that completely caught me off guard, this book no doubt deserves a solid five-star rating. I genuinely thought I had the ending figured out, but I was oh so ...more
Bunny
Jun 24, 2013 Bunny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-13
No.

No. No. No.

One of the guardians of a 13 year old child cannot read this book. It hurts. I just hurts, and it's hard to breathe.

This is such a fantastically written book. Too much so. Kimberly McCreight took something that is essentially "ripped from the headlines" and put such an amazing twist on it, fleshing out almost every character involved, giving such depth it was easy to get lost in the story.

I am Kate in this novel, and unlike with a lot of books I get swept up in, her emotions were
...more
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Dylan 10 210 May 25, 2016 08:07AM  
Bookworm Bitches : July 2014: Reconstructing Amelia 37 270 May 02, 2016 09:28PM  
The Mommy Gamers ...: Reconstructing Amelia Discussion *SPOILERS* 12 39 Feb 05, 2016 10:08AM  
The Perks Of Bein...: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight - July 2015 18 134 Sep 29, 2015 09:58AM  
The Challenge Fac...: K-Terror & Vicci ~ Reconstructing Amelia 79 14 Sep 24, 2015 03:31PM  
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Kimberly McCreight is the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, which was nominated for an Edgar, Anthony and Alex award. She attended Vassar College and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and at kimberlymccreight.com
More about Kimberly McCreight...

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“Sometimes its hard to tell how fast the current's moving until you're headed over a waterfall” 46 likes
“It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been counting the minutes until I could forgive her. But it's a lot harder to forgive someone who's not looking to apologize.” 25 likes
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