Book Review/Discussion: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfeld

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Title: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
Author: Kat Rosenfeld
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 304 (paperback edition)
Published: July 2012
Source: purchased

An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

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.

It's time for another book discussion about a readalong! This time I am joined by Lyn of Great Imaginations and Pixie from The Bookaholic. We all read Kat Rosenfeld's Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone together and then jumped into a chat to further discuss what we thought.

Jessie: So - Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. Or Amelia Anne Is Dead and Becca Has Boyfriend Problems.
Lyn:  That is...the greatest thing I have read. I was a little miffed when the honest-to-Gods good story cut away so we had to read about a high school graduate and her boy issues
Pixie:  That's how I felt, Jessie. I liked Amelia Anne, but my expectations going into it was at a really high level.. and I was so bummed.
Jessie: Exactly.

Lyn:  I had a high bar set as well. It felt like two different books in one novel.

Jessie: YES

Pixie:  OMG yes.
 Jessie: I wanted more from each storyline. The switching back and forth helped to make Amelia more of a character, but Becca was left feeling less developed.

Lyn: Bekka's part wasn't bad, it did hold a level of beauty, but I liked Amelia's story much more. I think if we had seen the same level of backstory from Amelia, it would have made a much better book

Pixie:  I really liked (though it was so sad) Amelia's story. Wish the whole book would've been THAT and Becca would've been cut.

Lyn:  Bekka's story felt a little more like First World Problems. I never understood why she just went into shut down mode over a boy she was ready to dump.

Jessie:  That would be an accurate title, Lyn!
Jessie I would love to read that book. Amelia was a pretty great character. And Luke had some definite potential as an antagonist. More than Craig anyway.

Lyn:  Craig felt like an "out of the box" bad guy.

Jessie: YES. SO rote and routine with ol' Craig.

Lyn: I agree with Pixie that Amelia should have been the focal point of the book - Bekka should have been the back burner.Amelia Anne is Dead and White Girl Problems. Someone needs to photoshop that.

Jessie HA you should!
Pixie:  Yeah, and I got what the author was trying to do. She was trying to show two characters from two diff worlds. One who'd been in an obvious abusive relationship. And one that wasn't because despite their probs, Becca's boyfriend was supportive. Eh. I just think it could've been executed better.
Jessie And though the storyline wasn't as much as I'd hoped.. I admit I LOVED the writing. From the first page, I thought Rosenfield was talented. For a debut novel. AAIDaG was a pretty good introduction.

Lyn:  Jessie: The writing is BEAUTIFUL! It was haunting and it had a beautiful flow. If this is what the author promises for the first book, then I am excited to see what else she has to offer. Her prose is lovely and chilling.

JessieIt is. I was really reminded of Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls

Lyn:  I did like how she wrote about small town Southern life. She was spot on - people never moving, the pros and cons of a small community.  That was right on the nose.

Pixie:  So much, Lyn.
Lyn:  I haven't read Imaginary Girls yet (boo)
Jessie: Read it. That is some gorgeous and visual writing. A lot seemed to happen in a pretty short book.

Lyn:  YES. I felt that the ending was rushed
Jessie:  I mean when you think about it, a girl is murdered, Bekka has B/F Issues, someone else is attacked by a mob and dies, Bekka learns boyfriend did something crazy.

Lyn:  And there was so much to discuss.  Like, I wanted more details about what was happening to the parents.  It seemed very important just to be swept to the side.
Jessie Right? "Hey my mom seems to be drinking a lot of wine and my dad is practically nonexistent in this book but hey -- why is James always gone?"
Lyn:  That puts it all into perspective - murder, murder, boyfriend doesn't like me.
Pixie - LOL! I think that is what worked against her. There were some horrible things happening, and she is flipping out over a short-term bf. Why wasn't she more worried about her family??!
Jessie Ha, so true. There were serious things afoot, but Bekka uses Amelia as a reason to worry about her boyfriend.

Pixie:  That annoyed me especially. Being raised in the whole small-town thing, I didn't find that part realistic of her not really being concerned at all with any fam.

Lyn:  Oh, good point! More people would be all up in the judge's business and bringing it to her attention.

Jessie: YES. I mean she goes on at length about what happened when previous people died, but when it happens to Amelia Anne.. she just... ignores it.

Pixie: Yes. Sometimes details were too convenient I guess in order to move the story along. Nothing that was a major issue for me though.

Lyn:  With a small town, things are very transparent.

Pixie:  It is. The town I live in right now, practically everyone knows everyone. Very gossipy. When you're new, you're new for life. lol
Jessie There wasn't a huge issue for me, just a lot of little ones that added up to less than I had hoped.

Lyn:  Lots of small little holes.  I wish I had known Amelia's family before hand as well.

Pixie:  same here on both points.

Jessie I wanted more from Luke. I mean we want female characters who are more than who they love, but all we know about him was that he was in love with Amelia and controlling.
Lyn:  I did want to point out that I was happy that Bekka never brought up how she looked.

Pixie:  I really did find myself sympathizing with Amelia. Poor girl just wanted to act.

Lyn:  What was Luke going to school for? Did it ever say? Yes! Amelia just wanted to follow her dreams!

Jessie Business I think? Generic Genericness. Well, we all definitely wanted more Amelia. She was the most alive part of the book. Ironically.

Lyn:  I wish there was more story about the acting classes - taking some of the focus off of the road trip that lasted forever

Pixie:  I was happy about that too. I don't remember what Luke was going to school for. I think business.
Lyn:  I was sad that we never saw why Amelia loved Luke.

Pixie:  I was sad about that also. Obviously she fell in love with him for a reason.
Lyn:  She did, and I never understood why. I mean, there must have been a LOT going on if it was so serious.

Jessie:  So, this book was a mixed bag. Some I really enjoyed and some that could use some more work.

Lyn: Yes - some people loved it and others find it just lukewarm.  I think this author shows a lot of promise. I am going to add her to my list to watch.  This wasn't a bad book, but I think it would be fair to make a side note
Jessie I wanted to love it, but I admit I do feel rather lukewarm about it. I probably will donate it to get trade cash, ha.

Lyn:  My own copy is off to be sold.

Pixie:  I can't sell mine. It's an ARC Wendy Darling gave me. I'll probably donate though. I'm also lukewarm. I will be giving it a 3.5

Jessie 3.5 is right where I would peg it, as well.Lyn:  I'm at 3 stars.

Pixie:  I liked Amelia's story so much that I gave it the extra half star. lol

Jessie I liked the writing so much I gave it an extra half star ;D

Lyn:  I miss the writing, I will say
Jessie's Rating:  
Pixie's Rating:  
Lyn's Rating:   

Overall impression: great, atmospheric writing but the main plotline needs work.

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