Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive Park Slope private school. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, though the school refuses to say why, at least by telephone. They will say only that Kate must come get her daughter and she must come now.
And it must be Kate herself. Because no matter how loath she is to abandon her meeting, there no one for Kate to send in her place. For fourteen years, it has been just Kate and her daughter, the two of them alone and against the world. And for the most part, that has suited Kate just fine.
The whole ride out to Brooklyn, Kate wonders with growing annoyance what Amelia—so smart and successful and always so supremely responsible—could possibly have done to warrant a suspension, especially from the very liberal Grace Hall.
But soon all of it—the annoyance, the questions, her ridiculous meeting—drops away, forgotten when Kate turns that last corner and sets eyes on the police officers, and the fire trucks and that ambulance, sitting there, doors hanging open. Not rushing anywhere.
Because by then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.
An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating jumps to her death. Impulsive suicide, tragic and awful, but far more common than anyone realizes. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one that she believes. That is, until she gets an anonymous text : She didn’t jump.
Told from Kate and Amelia’s alternating points of view, as well as Amelia’s e-mails, texts and Facebook posts, Reconstructing Amelia, tells the story of why Amelia was on Grace Hall’s roof that day. And how she ended up plunging to her death.
It is a story of secret first loves, old friendships and an all girls club steeped in tradition. It’s about having the strength to accept your own truth, even when you’re betrayed by the people you trusted most. But most of all Reconstructing Amelia is the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.