4 Stars: A Great Read
Hardback: 384 Pages
Publication: April 2, 2013 by HarperCollins
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.
Reconstructing Amelia is about the importance of open communication between parents and children. It's also a book about the dangers of keeping secrets and the need to feel fit in at school. The book teaches us that we need to get more involved in our children’s lives and listen to them. We can't take our relationships with them for granted.
Amelia is smart and funny. She is the intellectual girl that every mother dreams of. Kate is a single mother and a litigation attorney at a big Manhattan law firm. Kate thinks they are as close as a mother and daughter can be. That is, until she gets a call at work that Amelia has been accused of cheating on a paper and has been suspended. The school wants Kate picks up Amelia as soon as possible. When she finally gets to the school, police officers have surrounded school. Amelia has jumped off the roof and killed herself.
Later, Kate receives an anonymous text said Amelia did not jump. With the help of a lieutenant from the NYPD, Kate begins going through Amelia’s email, texts, Facebook posts, and the Gossip Girl-eque school blog called gRaCeFULLY. Kate finds out Amelia was tapped to join a secret society of girls, that she fell in love for the first time, and that she had a Manti Te’o-type correspondence with a gay boy Ben. All of these happened without Kate’s knowledge. Kate soon realizes there is a lot she doesn’t know about Amelia.
I can feel Amelia’s pain on the pages. I also can see why Amelia makes bad decisions, because all she wanted deep down was to belong. Her experiences are eye opening.
As a mother of two teens, it makes me wonder that what they do on the internet, who they chat with on Facebook, and who their friends are. I don't really know. I want to trust them and let them grow up without me nosing into their business, but this book shows just how much about parents don’t really know about their own children. It scares me that I may not be able to protect my children from all the horrible things out there in the world.
Reconstructing Amelia is a heartbreaking story. I enjoyed this book from beginning to the end. The book addresses many important issues such as bullying, single parents, posh private schools, homosexuality, ethics, secret clubs, adultery, and role of technology and social media in teen culture. It is a good read, and I highly recommend this book to read and share with your teens.
An ARC was provided by Harper Collins for review.