I’m back from vacation. It was strenuous (haha). Long walks. Good food. A lot of staring into space either at the ocean or in the woods. However, I did make several mistakes. I tried biking on very hilly roads. Big mistake. I did bag two books, one because there were two characters I truly did not like and based on that the plot didn’t ring true and one because I swore that I read it before, the plot was so familiar. I attribute that to either having read a similar book or having read the reveiws so many times, I thought I read the entire book. (A mind is a terrible thing to lose.) And finally I read a truly bad debut young adult novel about a girl with leukemia.
So, based on all of that, you might think there were no reading highlights, but you’d be wrong. Susan already talked about it but I thought I’d give you a little more. (It was her suggestion to begin with…and she’s usually right.) So, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, a debut novel by Kat Rosenfield, was the reading winner. I love opening lines and this book’s opening line is “The night before Amelia Anne Richardson bled her life away on a parched dirt road outside of town, I bled out my dignity in the back of a pickup truck under a star-pricked sky.” Yikes!!! Is that good or what?
The world belonged to Amelia Anne, or so she thought. She had no real passion until her senior year in college when she discovered acting. Her business major boyfriend, Luke, ridiculed her. But to her, the world was calling.
On the other hand, Becca, a high school senior, had her future planned out. Out of town college, big career, never returning to the small town of Bridgeton. Her boyfriend, James, raised on the poor side of town, understood Becca’s need to leave and tried to make a clean break by breaking up with Becca on graduation night.
But everything changes when Amelia Anne’s body is found “where the snaking curves of County Road 128 crossed briefly over Route 9 and then veered off toward the swelling, distant Appalachians”. As it does in small towns, news travels fast, the phones keep ringing, gossip keeps flowing and within, it seems like, minutes everyone is talking about the dead girl. Becca becomes obsessed with it. All of the sudden her plans seems meaningless.
Kat Rosenfield has captured so much in her story. She has captured the dichotomy of the promise seen by Amelia Anne when she gets accepted into a performing arts program vs. the falling apart of Becca’s dreams as she doubts her future. She has captured the heart of a small town, the ‘everybody knows everybody else’s business’, the rumor mills and innuendos, the insiders and outsiders. And she’s done it a prime literary fashion with wonderful language, as evidenced by the snippets above.
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is a mystery but it’s also more because it tells the stories of Becca and Amelia Anne. I hope Kat is working on a second book.