Book Review: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

One of the most stunningly written and understated books of the summer, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield is a sweeping portrait of small town life, murder, and growing up.

A coming of age story told through the unraveling summer of one young woman’s death and another’s attempt to escape her small town life.

Every aspect of this novel soars: characters, mood, setting. Rosenfield’s writing is so exquisite and beautiful, it is almost painful to read; painfully beautiful. It was a unique reading experience: to be so swept up in the story, I’d be rushing along to find out what happens next — yet going back, re-reading pages and passages just to admire the beauty of Rosenfield’s phrasing and description.

There’s something so special about this book. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is a haunting portrait of transition. That strange and pivotal moment in a young person’s life when they are changing from teenagers to adults; when the line between those two parts of their life is so uncertain and impossible to define. It’s a moment everyone experiences, but not everyone can describe. Rosenfield has captured it perfectly — and elevated her story through the unraveling of a deadly mystery.

It’s rare for a book to captivate me so completely, but Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone has joined a short but significant personal list that also includes The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is a treat to read. It is captivating, compelling, and luxuriously written. It is in stores now. Here is the official synopsis:

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.

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