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 follows two girls; Becca and Amelia who feel trapped by their lives. Both girls simply want to run away, escape the lives they have been living, and finally feel freedom hugging them, telling them they can finally breathe. Amelia and Becca were very similar during life, but now Amelia has been murdered, and her body rests on the outskirts of Becca’s town.
Although this book wasn’t my cup of tea, I am not oblivious to the great aspects Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone attains. If I could rate a book simply on writing style I would undoubtedly give this book 5 stars. From the very first sentence, I knew I would love Rosenfield’s writing style. If this is her debut novel, I have no doubt in my mind that Rosenfield will have an amazing career ahead of her. Her prose was incredibly lyrical and yet it was still able to capture the dark undertones of hopelessness and confusion.
Also, I give Rosenfield credit for her unique approach to writing her novel. By including Amelia’s perspective, she foiled Becca’s character wonderfully. Amelia’s chest ceased to rise and fall in the same place in which Becca was born and raised. Amelia graduated college the same day Becca graduated high school. Both yearn to fall in life’s embrace, but Amelia’s opportunities were cut short. Amelia is physically trapped in the same town which Becca fears she will remain locked in.
Now that I have mentioned the aspects I enjoyed in the story, I am going to move on the parts I did not like. Even though I just praised Rosenfield for her unique method to write the story, I do not think it was necessarily successful. I did really enjoy seeing from Becca’s current perspective and Amelia’s days leading up to her demise, but I really disliked Becca’s third omnipresent narrator. The third person narrator often gave the audience information that wasn’t important to Becca’s or Amelia’s storylines, therefore I think the book would have been stronger without it.
I personally really love character driven books, but besides Amelia, almost all of the characters in Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone are horrible people. Certain authors are able to work with heinous characters and make you love to hate them, but that wasn’t the case here. Rather than caring about the characters, I felt indifferent towards almost all of them. Even when the twist happens and we finally discover who killed Amelia, I didn’t feel my heart pounding and I wasn’t excited, but rather, I just wanted to be done with the story. .
Although I personally didn’t like the book, I wouldn’t necessarily let this review hold you back from picking this book up. Many people I trust on opinions absolutely adore this book, so maybe you will too!