I have been reading a lot of books about grief recently. A person I was friends with in high school passed away from cancer a few weeks ago. We weren’t close, but I knew her. Spent time with her. Watched her journey from diagnosis to the end, and it broke me to hear she had passed. In fact, three people from my school have passed from cancer. Two people I knew and was friends with.
Reading these books about grief have helped me understand my own. My sadness, my grief, my frustration. This book took me on Amelia’s journey to accept the loss of her best friend and I will tell you, I sobbed.
I received an e-ARC of Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher from NetGalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book. This is an honest, spoiler free review, and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher
Published: February 16, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 304 pages
Sparks fly between two teens as they grapple with grief, love, and the future.
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.
To start off, read this book solely for the epilogue. I loved this story, but the journey to the epilogue was a rollercoaster. The epilogue sealed the deal that this story is a five star read for me. I sobbed so hard reading it, the journey of Amelia’s whole life on display, and I would a million percent read the book of her whole life’s journey if I could.
Going back to the beginning, I loved reading about Amelia and Jenna’s friendship. One thing I wasn’t so happy about though, was the fact that Jenna basically planned out Amelia’s whole life without even asking her. Amelia is happy to go along with Jenna’s plan, but it felt super controlling when I first read about it. While I loved that Jenna took Amelia in like her own sister, it was clear that Jenna was in charge of the friendship, and Amelia was simply tagging along. The one thing they both loved and bonded over though, was books. Amelia and Jenna both love the Orman Chronicles book, written by teenage author N. E. Endsley, and their love of books is what started their friendship.
When Jenna passed, Amelia lost that love of reading. Until a 101/100 special edition of Amelia’s favorite book shows up and she knows it was a gift from Jenna before passing. Set to find out how Jenna got this present to her and what she said to the author, Amelia travels to the bookstore it was shipped from in Michigan and runs into none other than the author himself, N. E. Endsley (Nolan). Amelia is determined to find out how she received this mysterious book and what it all means, all the while trying to process her grief and learn how to live a life without Jenna.
When we first meet Nolan, he’s a shy, reserved, and socially awkward guy who is not only unsure of himself, but of other people. I was taken aback by how reserved and anti-social Nolan was at first. Most authors I met have been very friendly and happy to converse with people about their books, but Nolan is the opposite. We quickly find out there’s a good reason for that. Hearing Nolan’s story and how his books, The Orman Chronicles, came to be, was heartbreaking. When we discover the backstory to these books and how they came to be, I was almost in tears.
Once Amelia arrives in Michigan, the plot really took off. Her journey through grief, finding Endsley, falling in love, and her realization that she has to take her own life in her hands, was an intense one. I loved the fact that Amelia discovers herself and her own passions, instead of just following what Jenna wanted her to do with life. And of course her learning how to live without her friend and understanding that life simply doesn’t stop if someone you love dies, though it feels like it should.
This book took me on such a journey and I absolutely loved it. I’m so excited to read her next book, Full Flight!
If this book sounds interesting, check out The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) by Alyssa B. Sheinmel.