Attention Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here…or rather, gRaCeFULLY here, your guide to the scandalous lives of Grace Hall prep school’s elite. So goes Kimberly McCreight’s addicting debut novel being rightfully hailed as this year’s Gone Girl. When Amelia jumps off her school’s roof after being charged with plagiarizing her Virginia Woolf paper, her lawyer mother Kate takes it upon herself to investigate her daughter’s death—since Amelia had zero suicidal tendencies and a passion for Woolf. Plus, Kate gets an anonymous text saying, “Amelia didn’t jump.”
The chapters jump between Kate in the present, uncovering her daughters’ secrets and Amelia’s past leading up to her death. Interspersed are text conversations, gRaCeFULLY posts, email exchanges that further illuminate the secrets these women are hiding. It’s an immersive structure that is imminently readable while also providing compelling commentary on the social media conversational gap between parents and children. There are also a lot of relevant plot points involving school bullying, Internet friendships, and adults’ responsibilities towards teenagers.
McCreight weaves in plot twists left and right that are both unpredictable and satisfying. Though not as dark and psychologically disturbing as Gone Girl, Reconstructing Amelia is a great, swift read that’ll keep you up until the wee hours, trying to uncover all the secrets. This is one novel that should be at the top of your summer reading pile (right after this and this, of course).