This book was highly recommended to me by the entire blogging sphere. Jessie atAgeless Pages Review and Pixie at The Bookaholic, and I tackled this as a group read at the start of the month. At the end, we shared our thoughts and joined together to create the Awesome Team and review it. I believe we were all on the same page: beautiful writing and some interesting concepts, but the bar was set a bit too high from the start, which ended in a lukewarm reception by all three of us bookish gals. (Note - possible spoilers are colored - highlight if you wish to read!)
J: So - Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. Or Amelia Anne Is Dead and Becca Has Boyfriend Problems.
L: 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.
P: That's how I felt Jessie. I liked Amelia Anne, but my expectations going into it were at a really high level.. and I was so bummed.
L: I had a high bar set as well.
It felt like two different books in one novel.
P: OMG yes.
J: 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.
L: Becca'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
P: 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.
L: Becca's story felt a little more like First World Problems. I never understood why she just went into shutdown mode over a boy she was ready to dump.
J: 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.
L: Craig felt like an "out of the box" bad guy.
J: That would be an accurate title, Lyn!
YES. SO rote and routine with ol' Craig.
L: I agree with Pixie that Amelia should have been the focal point of the book - Bekka should have been on the back burner. Amelia Anne is Dead and White Girl Problems. Someone needs to photoshop that.
J: HA you should!
P: 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.
J: 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.
I would too. For a debut novel. AAIDaG was a pretty good introduction.
L: The writing is BEAUTIFUL! It was haunting and it had a beautiful flow.
J: Especially if she continues to write like that.
L: 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.
J: It is. I was really reminded of Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls.
L: 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.
P: So much, Lyn.
L: I haven't read Imaginary Girls yet (boo).
J: Agreed! A lot seemed to happen in a pretty short book.
Read [Imaginary Girls]. That is some gorgeous and visual writing
L: YES. I felt that the ending was rushed.
J: I mean when you think about it, a girl is murdered, Becca has B/F Issues, someone else is attacked by a mob and dies, Becca learns boyfriend did something crazy.
L: And there was so much to discuss. Like, I wanted more details about what was happening to the parents. It seemed too important just to be swept to the side.
J: 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?"
L: That puts it all into perspective - murder, murder, boyfriend doesn't like me. LOLOLOLOL! 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??!
J: Ha, so true. There were serious things afoot, but Becca uses Amelia as a reason to worry about her boyfriend.
P: 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.
L: Oh, good point! More people would be all up in the judge's business and bringing it to her attention.
J: 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.
P: Yes. Sometimes details were too convenient I guess in order to move the story along. Nothing that was a major issue for me though.
L: My own copy is off to be sold.
L: 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.
L: With a small town, things are very transparent.
J: There wasn't a huge issue for me, just a lot of little ones that added up to less than I had hoped.
P: 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
L: Lots of small little holes. I wish I had known Amelia's family beforehand as well.
P: Same here on both points.
J: 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.
L: I did want to point out that I was happy that Becca never brought up how she looked.
P: I really did find myself sympathizing with Amelia. Poor girl just wanted to act.
L: What was Luke going to school for? Did it ever say?
J: Yes, Lyn. I agree.
L: Yes! Amelia just wanted to follow her dreams!
J: Business I think? Generic Genericness. Well, we all definitely wanted more Amelia. She was the most alive part of the book. Ironically.
P: I was sad about that also. Obviously she fell in love with him for a reason.
L: I wish there was more story about the acting classes - taking some of the focus off of the road trip that lasted forever.
P: I was happy about that too. I don't remember what Luke was going to school for. I think business.
L: I was sad that we never saw why Amelia loved Luke.
L: She did, and I never understood why. I mean, there must have been a LOT going on if it was so serious.
J: So, this book was a mixed bag. Some I really enjoyed and some that could use some more work.
J: 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.
P: 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.
J: 3.5 is right where I would peg it, as well.
L: I'm at 3 stars.
P: I liked Amelia's story so much that I gave it the extra half star. lol
J: I liked the writing so much I gave it an extra half star ;D