Skip to main content

Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone is the spellbinding debut novel by Kat Rosenfield.  Technically it's young adult fiction.  But old adults will appreciate it too.

It's the day after Becca's high school graduation when the bruised and broken body of an anonymous, young girl is found on the edge of town.  It's been over a decade since the town's last homicide--a cut and dried affair, so to speak, in which the identities of both perpetrator and victim were known from the outset, requiring a minimum of investigation.  The new homicide, of an as yet unidentified young woman, is even more brutal, unsettling and bewildering, and it threatens to shake this small community down to its core and change it forever.

Becca's struggling during the summer after her graduation.  She's struggling, spinning out, spiraling out of control; her heart's broken, she's nauseous, she's gaunt and spaced out and is increasingly finding solace at the bottom of a wine bottle.  She can no longer see her future.  She can't see herself on that college campus come fall anymore, even though for years she always dreamed of a life somewhere, anywhere, that wasn't her small hometown and has determinedly planned for that future while stubbornly vowing that she would get out, that she would never return.  But in the wake of an unexpected broken heart and the discovery of the bloody brokenness of shattered potential left in a heap on the edge of town, Becca's dreams and plans have all shattered and crumbled to dust.  Meanwhile all the adults and friends in her life are oblivious to Becca's inner turmoil because they've got other things on their minds--specifically whatever unspecified and never dealt with turmoil roils under the surface of her own parents' relationship while her father stays out late and her mother slips further and further into alcoholism.

Interspersed between the chapters depicting the aftermath of the homicide on Becca and her hometown are chapters that detail the events of the last days and hours of Amelia Anne Richardson's life.  Amelia had plans and dreams and had only recently broken out of the staid life path expected of her; all of which is cut down just days after her college graduation in the middle of one scary, harrowing, dark night on the side of the road.  What went so wrong that left Amelia so gruesomely beaten and bleeding her life out in the dust on the side of the road on the edge of town?

This is a lyrically haunting, foreboding portrayal of the impact a shocking murder has on a small community--a story that is at once both beautiful and frightening.  Much as Becca spins out in the wake of the homicide that summer, the reader witnesses the parallel story of the events that ended Amelia's life slowly but increasingly quickly pick up speed, careen out of control and crash in a bloody heap of broken bones and dirt. I highly recommend you pick up this book the next time you're at the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at does not offer any insi…