Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone (Group Read-A-Long Discussion Review)

Title: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
Author: Kat Rosenfield
Category/Genre: YA, Mystery, Drama, Contemporary


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.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone was a slow mystery/melodrama surrounding the events of a teenage girl and her small-town life. Alongside this, there was also the story of Amelia, the tragedy of her and her death after her body was discovered on the side of a back road in Becca’s hometown.

I’d received a copy of this book thanks to Wendy Darling after it being on my wish list for the longest. Funnily enough, I hadn’t read much into the reviews, or even focused heavily on the blurb before I came across the book and just knew I wanted it badly. So maybe I had different expectations or ideas of how I thought it was supposed to be, but once I began reading I found I wasn’t exactly reading what I thought I was going to be reading.

Also, at the end of September, I’d done a group read-a-long with Jessie from Ageless Pages Reviews and Lyn from Great Imaginations and we had a lot to discuss regarding the title when finished. So this is a group review as well, by sharing some of the discussion below so you can get the general idea of how I (and they) felt about the book. And I’ve only shared a part--not the whole conversation.

A Portion of a Spoiler-Free Discussion

Jessie: So, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. Or Amelia Anne Is Dead and Becca Has Boyfriend Problems.

Lyn: That is...the greatest thing I have read.
Lyn: I was a little miffed when the honest-to-Gods good story cut away so we had to read about a high school graduate and her boy issues

Pixie: That's how I felt Jessie. I liked Amelia Anne, but my expectations going into it was at a really high level.. and I was so bummed.

Lyn: I had a high bar set as well.
Lyn: It felt like two different books in one novel.

Jessie and Pixie: YES.

Jessie: I wanted more from each storyline. The switching back and forth helped to make Amelia more of a character, but Becca was left feeling less developed.

Lyn: Becca's part wasn't bad, it did hold a level of beauty, but I liked Amelia's story much more. I think if we had seen the same level of backstory from Amelia, it would have made a much better book.

Pixie: I really liked (though it was so sad) Amelia's story. Wish the whole book would've been THAT and Becca’s would've been cut.

Jessie: I would love to read that book. Amelia was a pretty great character. And Luke had some definite potential as an antagonist. More than Craig anyway.

Lyn: I agree with Pixie that Amelia should have been the focal point of the book - Becca should have been the back burner.

Jessie: And though the storyline wasn't as much as I'd hoped.. I admit I LOVED the writing. From the first page, I thought Rosenfield was talented.

Pixie: I do agree.
Pixie: I’d def read more of her work.

Jessie: Especially if she continues to write like that.

Lyn: The writing is BEAUTIFUL! It was haunting and it had a beautiful flow.
Lyn: If this is what the author promises for the first book, then I am excited to see what else she has to offer. Her prose is lovely and chilling.

Jessie: So, this book was a mixed bag. Some I really enjoyed and some that could use some more work.

Lyn: I think this author shows a lot of promise. I am going to add her to my list to watch. This wasn't a bad book, but I think it would be fair to make a side note

Jessie: I wanted to love it, but I admit I do feel rather lukewarm about it.

Pixie: I'm also lukewarm.

We agreed on some major points--- the biggest things being that the three of us were really taken by the beautiful writing of this book. This author is going on our watch lists for sure, and I already know that I’m looking forward to reading more of her work. It was clear throughout that she was talented at telling a story and creating a cast of characters. Another was that while we’d been slightly let down by the overall story, we did still enjoy it by the end. Mostly because of Amelia’s side of things. So... it didn’t end up being a favorite, but I’m sure I’d still recommend it to someone even the slightest bit interested in this dramatic tale of loss, small-town life, moving on, and mystery.

With that said, I give it a decent 3.5 rating!

Also, I just adore read-a-longs and group discussion reviews, don't you? =D

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