Google+ Followers

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: 'Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone'

By Kat Rosenfield
YA contemporary
July 2012
Dutton Books
ISBN: 978-0-525-42389-8                                                                                   

Becca has always known she isn't meant for her dump of a small town. The last year has been somewhat better because of time with her boyfriend, James, a dropout who grieves for his mother after he watched her die from cancer. On the night she graduates as salutatorian, they have sex in the back of his pickup out on the fields, under the stars. Then he dumps her. But James soon calls, unsure if they've broken up. He knows she's going to leave him at summer's end anyway but he is a lonely, James Dean-type. Maybe they need each other still.

That same night, their small town is rocked by the discovery of the body of a dead young woman out on the road near the site of where James parked his truck. And the real story of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone unfolds.

In lyrical, layered writing, Kat Rosenfield writes about Becca's town, her home life, her relationship with James and how the investigation into how the mystery woman died plays out. The ramifications of assumptions and what people think they know about each other are devastating. Becca, in particular, shows both the benefits of knowing so many people in a small locale and the drawbacks to the same. Becca displays both perseverance and folly, wisdom and flightiness. In short chapters spaced out between Becca's story, the reader learns about the dead woman and what led to her death.

This is sophisticated writing replete with lyricism, layers and language. It is not, however, flowery. The first F bomb comes on page 7 in this realistic depiction of teens embarking on adulthood. Becca shares two bottles of wine with her unhappy mother one night and boozes it up the rest of the summer. For older teens and adults, this is a deeply affecting story told well.

©2012 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission


  1. My daughter graduated from high school in June -- gosh, I hope our small town stays boring until she leaves... Great review of what looks like a really good book.

  2. My son did the same last year so I know exactly what you mean. I was very impressed with the novel; very assured writing with the dual storyline handled well, and the characters' emotions rang true.