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Reconstructing Amelia
Photo courtesy of Justine Cooper

When straight-A student Amelia Baron falls from the roof of her Brooklyn prep school, her death is ruled a suicide. But her bereft mother, Kate, senses something more grim. Then, when Kate receives a mysterious text maintaining, “She didn’t jump,” she knows for sure that darker forces are at play.

And so begins Reconstructing Amelia, one of the season’s juiciest, twistiest thrillers that, for better or worse, is garnering Gone Girl comparisons.

Using texts, Facebook posts, diary entries and one really nasty Gossip Girl-esque blog, debut novelist Kimberly McCreight pieces together the events leading up to Amelia’s death--with enough clues, leads and red herrings to keep Agatha Christie on her toes.

Did Amelia’s murder have something to do with her new text-message-only friend, we wonder? How about her recent acceptance into the highly exclusive popular group, the Magpies? And then there’s the issue of her biological father, about whom Kate has always been cagey.

There’s an element of social commentary here--McCreight has plenty to say about the state of high school bullying and the stereotype of the overworked single mother. But she most succeeds as an old-fashioned storyteller. You won’t be able to guess how it all wraps up, even pages from the riveting denouement.

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