Published by Dutton Juvenile on July 5th, 2012
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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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.
This book was highly recommended to me by the entire blogging sphere. Jessie at Ageless 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!)
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: Craig felt like an “out of the box” bad guy.
J: That would be an accurate title, Lyn!
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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: With a small town, things are very transparent.
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.
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?
L: I wish there was more story about the acting classes – taking some of the focus off of the road trip that lasted forever.
L: I was sad that we never saw why Amelia loved Luke.
P: I was sad about that also. Obviously she fell in love with him for a reason.
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.
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: My own copy is off to be sold.
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.
L: I’m at 3 stars.
P: I liked Amelia’s story so much that I gave it the extra half star. lol