Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel Summary & Study Guide

Kimberly McCreight
This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel.
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Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel Summary & Study Guide Description

Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel by Kimberly McCreight.

Reconstructing Amelia is a novel by new author Kimberly McCreight. In this novel, Kate gets a call at work that her daughter was caught cheating and is being expelled from her private Brooklyn high school. When Kate arrives at the school, she learns her daughter has committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the school. Weeks later, Kate gets a text message telling her that Amelia did not jump. This message enrages Kate, but it also gives her hope that spurs her to investigate her daughter’s death more closely. In the end, Kate learns all of Amelia’s secrets, some good, some not. Reconstructing Amelia is compelling first novel that will leave every parent desperate to hug their kid and every young reader more aware of in whom they place their trust.

Kate is a lawyer who is in the middle of a meeting when her daughter’s school calls, telling her that her fifteen year old daughter has been caught cheating and has been suspended. Kate rushes to her daughter’s school only to arrive and find emergency vehicles all around the building. Kate is told that Amelia, in despair over being caught cheating, has committed suicide by jumping from the school’s roof.

Kate spends four weeks grieving her child, remembering every moment of the final days of her daughter’s life, wondering what she might have missed. Finally Kate cannot remain home any longer and decides to go back to work. At the office, Kate finds that the case that had once seemed so important to her has been given to her law school nemesis, Daniel. Kate could care less.

As Kate settles behind her desk and prepares to tackle the day, she receives a text message from a blocked number that says Amelia did not jump. A follow up message emphasizes the first message. Kate is shocked and deeply confused. Jeremy, her boss, comes to her office. When he learns about the messages, he sends Kate’s phone to the IT department and asks her questions about the investigation. As they talk, Kate begins to realize she never took much notice of the investigation. She simply assumed that the cops were right in their determination of suicide.

Kate goes home and begins searching through Amelia’s bedroom, looking for anything that might prove Amelia did not commit suicide. Kate’s friend, Seth, helps her. Seth finds more than twenty handwritten notes that declare Amelia was hated. This seems to support suicide, but Kate also finds a different essay on Amelia’s computer, suggesting the paper that Amelia was accused of cheating with was not her paper.

Kate begins pushing for a new investigation and is soon visited by the new detective on the case. The detective shares Kate’s new conviction that something was missed in the first investigation. Together, Kate and the detective visit witnesses and review Amelia’s texts and social site activity. Through these things, Kate and the detective discover that Amelia was a part of a club at her school that required her to do several activities that were less than appropriate, including posting near naked pictures of herself on an Internet based blog. Kate also discovers that her daughter was involved in her first romantic relationship with a girl at her school.

As the investigation goes on, Kate tries to track down a boy named Ben who had been sending texts to Amelia in the months before her death. Kate is shocked to discover this young man is actually her boss. Kate and Jeremy had a brief affair early in her career and, due to Amelia’s unusual eye color, Jeremy had guessed that Amelia was his daughter. He was simply trying to communicate with his child. This news is a surprise to Kate who had always assumed Daniel was Amelia’s father.

In the end, Kate and the detective are able to rule out all their suspects in Amelia’s death. Then the detective traces the source of the first two texts Kate got alerting her that Amelia did not commit suicide. These texts were from Amelia’s best friend, Sylvia. Sylvia was with Amelia when she fell from the roof. It was Sylvia’s anger at Amelia for allowing Sylvia’s boyfriend to take the near nude pictures of Amelia that led to the fall and Amelia’s death.

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