Amelia Unabridged – Ashley Schumacher – Wednesday Books – Published 16 February 2021
Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.
In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.
When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.
Amelia Unabridged is a beautiful, beautiful story about grief and loss. It is also about magic. Magic that happens in the everyday world. The magic of books. The magic of friendship. The magic of a new love and the way it can bring out the very best in people and grapple them back from the edge. The magic of a perfectly amazing bookstore. Amelia Unabridged has all of this and more. It was exactly the book I was looking for – deep, heartbreaking, uplifting, inspiring and honestly so easy to read and snuggle up with, but also lyrical and poetic and metaphoric and so I felt a little bit smart reading it.
Amelia loves her best friend Jenna. They are alike as much as they are different. Jenna has the most amazing, loving, supportive parents. Amelia’s father checked out with his young girlfriend and her mother has checked out in the aftermath. Jenna has their future all planned out while Amelia isn’t sure what she wants. But they both love books. Especially the Orman Chronicles. When the chance to meet the reclusive author of their favourite series, they jump at it, only to be disappointed and torn apart by their experience. A few weeks later, Jenna is dead and Amelia is reeling from the loss. Weighed down by grief and guilt, a surprise package sends Amelia chasing something that feels like Jenna directing things from beyond the grave, and what Amelia finds is more than she could have ever imagined – if she is brave enough to reach and and grab it.
This book is an ode to friendship. New friendship, old friendship. Friends that argue and fight. Friends that don’t need words to communicate. Friends that support and nag and make each other laugh. Amelia Unabridged starts before Jenna’s death, which I think was so important for the reader to understand Amelia’s grief, because we too can grieve with her at the loss of such a vibrant, loving, and yes, slightly annoying but only in the ways you love, young lady. I was expecting to enjoy this friendship between Amelia and Jenna, but we also are gifted another wonderful friendship between Nolan and Alex, as well as a new friendship, a friendship based on understanding between Amelia and Alex.
There is romance in this book. And while it happens over a very short period, the depth of understanding between Amelia and Nolan prevents this from feeling like instalove. It actually feels like the complete opposite, like they have been friends for forever. Their romance is sweet, passionate and yet based on shared grief and guilt. They build each other up and challenge each other.
There are so many wonderful things about this book. The bookshop!! The bookshop. Readers are going to fall in love and wish they could visit. This book also celebrates the culture that can build around a popular book series. The side characters are as developed and vibrant and important as our main characters. There is also a giant, accident prone dog. There is so much to love about this beautiful book.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Writing, books, fans, authors, grief, best friends, friendship,
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Death, drowning, car accidents. Kissing and vague sexual references. Occasional coarse language, sh*** (2), as***** (1), pi** (4),
Published: 16 February 2021 by Wednesday Books
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 304 pages.