Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 3363
Impressively-Written but Full of Unlikable Characters
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Oh, that awkward moment where you read a book that's come highly recommended to you from just about everyone you know and then you don't like the book. There seem to be a lot of times where I'm that guy: the one who goes against the grain of popular opinion. I could list a number of books my friends all loved that I didn't like much at all, as well as ones pretty much no one else cared for that I thought were fabulous. Honestly, it's frustrating this divide that leaves me agreeing with others no more than 3/4 of the time.

Though I did not particularly enjoy this book, I am not blind to its charms, so do allow me to start there. Kat Rosenfield has, no doubt, a marvelous career ahead of her. With the first sentence, I knew that I would love her writing, and I was right about that at least. If this is how well she writes a debut, she will be going big places. Her style perfectly matched the tone of the novel, a mood of hopelessness, of loss, and of confusion.

Also on the positive side, I give Rosenfield full credit for telling a unique story, one I have never seen the likes of in YA fiction. She parallels the lives of the titular Amelia Anne and Becca, born and raised in the town where Amelia Anne breathed her last. Both girls are in love, or think they are, with boys who fail to please them sexually. Both have big plans that they fear their boyfriends will not support. Amelia Anne graduated from college the same day that Becca graduated from high school. Amelia Anne died, stuck forever in some sense in this town where Becca dreads being trapped.

Moving into what I did not like now, I have to go back to the writing. Much as I loved the way Rosenfield phrased things and put together her sentences, I did not like the storytelling method she used. I did like getting to see both from Becca's perspective in the present and Amelia Anne's perspective in the days leading up to her death, although I really hate the way her chapters weren't given chapter numbers. What drove me crazy, however, was that the narration occasionally either switched to third person omniscient in Becca's section or that she was telling the story from some unidentified date in the future. The numbered chapters often included reflections on things Becca simply could not know or hints at knowledge she could not yet have possessed. These details detracted from the novel for me, rather than adding additional crucial knowledge.

Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone is one of those books about terrible people. All of them, with the exception of Amelia Anne, are awful. I did not like a single one of them. Of course, sometimes authors can make this work, make you curious about characters you would happily hurl off a cliff. In this case, though, I just did not care about them. When the dramatic twists happened, instead of being shocked and excited, I was more like "whatever, can we please move this along?" and entirely bored with the whole thing. No matter how clever twists are, if you're not emotionally invested, they lack impact.

Were it not for the beauty of the writing, this rating would be a 2. Though I didn't like this, I urge you not to take this book off your list solely based on my review, as so many reviewers I trust implicitly loved it. As it is, I would read something else of Rosenfield's in a heartbeat, because of how incredibly talented I can tell she is.
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July 08, 2013
Sometimes we dont all liek the same book. im having a hard time liking the harry potter series
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