An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent.
Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.
Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death. (from GoodReads)
I love mysteries and I thought Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone sounded like a nice addition to the genre. However, I found that readers' opinion of this novel will depend on their tastes: those who enjoy literary prose will fall in love with Kat Rosenfield's writing, while those who like action-filled plots may be disappointed.
I think I fall in the middle of these two tastes, which is why I liked Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone but didn't love it. In the beginning, I was entranced by the beautiful decriptions of summer and small-town life, especially the discussion of how gossip spreads. The writing is very flowery and pretty. As the story continued, I became impatient because I wanted to find out what happened to Amelia. The plot moves very slowly with much emphasis on the narration.
The book is mostly from the point-of-view of Becca, who desperately wants to leave Bridgeton for a more exciting life at college. But when the dead body of a young girl is found, she feels confused and unsure of her future plans. I didn't really care for Becca and I think that's because we never get very deep into her character. On the other hand, I loved Amelia's chapters. I thought she was much more interesting and more happened during those parts of the book, probably because her sections were free of the literary prose.
Overall, I liked Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone but can't help but feel the plot and characters were dragged down by the extensive description. If the author can find a nice balance between the two, she'll have a winning novel.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.
2012/Dutton Juvenile/279 pages.