Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
304 Pages (Hardcover)
July 5, 2012
There is something hypnotic about the inner workings of a small town. Bridgeton, the setting of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, is suffocating with its cliques and fine line between belonging and not, yet enticing with its air of mystery from its quaint appearance. In my opinion, this is one of those stories where the setting really makes the novel.
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.
Bridgeton, like most small towns, has the power to consume people. It is made up of generations of children who never dream of leaving, and generations of children who grown up looking for a way out, yet never actually escape. When a dead body turns up on the side of the road with no identification, the town is alive with whispers of who heard what. The story is not about the girl or who she is, but rather Amelia is a story of a town that takes lives, in one way or another, and how a tragedy can show people of the town just how much they do or do not belong.
In a lot of ways Amelia reminds me of Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. There is a lot of emphasis on description and a continuous vibe of mystery and trepidation. However, the focus on description made it difficult for me to connect to the characters. I felt like I was gazing in through a clouded glass, trying to see in and understand, but just like the main character,Becca, the town rejected me because I didn't belong. It was interesting to see the story unfold from the different angles of the secondary characters getting a chance to weigh in. However, the continuous change of characters added to my confusion and lack of connection.
This novel showed a lot of promise and I kept trying to really like it, but something was standing in my way. However, if you loved Imaginary Girls, I would predict that Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone would be your kind of novel.