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by Julia Debski

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield


Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance


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.


I bought this book second hand from our local used bookstore. The cover and title hooked me in, and so I decided to take a chance on it. Unfortunately, I believe that three stars is still a pretty generous rating. There were some really fantastic parts, and then the rest was..mediocre, if not just plain bad. I really hate giving bad reviews because I know a lot of work and heart goes into the story, even if it is badly written. So first, I'll tell you about the good about each point, and then the bad. 

When there were good parts in this novel, they were really good. The opening line, "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.", was beautiful and I was hooked. The author had intense, poetic description and imagery and at first, it was enchanting. I loved it. But it never really stopped. Everything was described in metaphorical, overly lavish language and by the fourth or fifth chapter, my patience was wearing thin. With a lot of imagery and description came a lot of repetition.

Becca can't wait to escape the small town- Bridgeton- where she lives. She finds the town too small, suffocating....and we are reminded of this in nearly every chapter. The way the town gossips after the murder is mentioned at least 3 separate times, each time taking nearly a page, or more. We get it. Your small town life sucks. And yes, we get it. The girl was dead on the side of the road. It got to the point that in the last couple chapters, when I realized she was going to bring up either of the above points again, I skipped to the next page.

Ooooh so plot. Plot plot plot. This story, as you may be able to tell from the synopsis, had amazing potential. I mean, come on. The parallels that could be made (and some the author did make) and the suspense of finding out the murderer and all that...woah it could have been so cool!....could have been.... Let me explain. The beginning of AAISAG (Amelia Anne Is Dead And Gone) was fantastic. Bam, we are right in the middle of the action. "Dead girl, break up, what the hell is happening every thing is terrible oh no!" It was a great opening! Then, in the middle, the author became lost. There was no plot, just recalling past events in the town and how James (boyfriend? ex-boyfriend?) is gone. And how her parents's marriage is falling apart. And not relevant to the plot at all. Also, the author drops only a couple major hints, and they are not subtle at all, and takes the mystery out of it. However, it does leave you with the question of  "Why?" and "When?" It is enough suspense to hold the reader's interest throughout the drab in the middle. And then, in the chapters leading up to Amelia's death are riveting, suspenseful, and awesome. But then the ending is just....a let down. It had the POTENTIAL to be amazing, but sadly it wasn't. I cared enough about the story to be awfully frustrated with how it ended, especially for James.

Which leads me to James. When the other characters, especially Becca, seemed bland and weakly developed, James was the saving grace. He also happened to be the plot twist of sorts...but wasn't in the novel for most of it. Maybe it is just me, but when one of your main characters is the major plot twist, YOU USUALLY HAVE HIM AROUND IN MORE THAN JUST A FEW DOZEN PAGES. *heavy breathing* Okay, so I got that out of my system. But seriously, if you want to read an amazing character that is multi-faceted and complex and beautifully written. I cared about him, and I was beyond angry at how the story ended for him. It wasn't fair.

Overall, I realize that the novel was kind of sucky. However the good bits (amazing opening, fantastic character, and such) was enough to overshadow some of the bad parts. I am just very sad at the amount of wasted potential and what could have been.

I have learned that knowing where you're going means remembering where you've been. I'm not afraid of what lurks behind me, or ahead.” 
- Becca Williams, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

Maybe I would recommend this...maybe

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Other Books By This Author: Amelia Anne is Kat Rosenfield's first novel. However she has a second one coming out, called Inland, in spring/summer 2014.

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