Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
When the girl is found dead on the highway near Becca’s small hometown, the entire town is enveloped in the question of who she was and who killed her. All Becca knows is that she is going to leave town at the end of the summer, and leave her boyfriend behind too. But then her boyfriend breaks up with her right after they have sex, and Becca’s world shifts. She too becomes captured by the drama of the murdered girl and finds herself unable to move forward with her plans to head to college. Amelia Anne, the dead girl, was already in college. Caught with a boyfriend who no longer understands her, Amelia continues to date him waiting for the best time to break up. Two girls who end up in the same small town for very different reasons, one at the beginning of her life and the other at the end.
Rosenfield’s writing is unique and heady. She writes with all of her senses, creating a feeling that is almost smothering at times, flying high in others, and always remarkable. Her writing is best when creating a world for just two people, something that happens often here. Those dynamics ring true and painful and wistful.
Her writing about the small town and its history of death is also beautifully done. As readers, we inhale along with the characters, breathing in the scents of the woods and the roses. We witness the fact that small town knowledge can also kill, work through grief with people, and jump to the wrong conclusions. It’s an exhilarating ride of a novel that also takes the time to truly create its own setting and history.
Amazing writing, a violent mystery and a small town setting create a book that is impossible to put down, yet invites you to linger with it longer. Appropriate for ages 16-18.
Reviewed from copy received from Dutton Books.