You may not know who Ashley Schumacher is, but I have a feeling this won't be the last time we hear her name. Her debut young adult novel, Amelia Unabridged, is so painstakingly beautiful that it will stay with you long after you’ve finished the story and solidify Schumacher as a new name in the world of YA fiction.
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.
This book is full of grief, love, and finding yourself amidst both emotions. Amelia’s story is touching and readers will be able to empathize with her in her struggles to not only figure out what she wants out of life, but also how to honor Jenna in doing so. The way each emotion and feeling is expressed and the way Schumacher used “whales” to convey Amelia’s highs and lows is beautifully written and unique. The descriptive language is comprehensible and heightens each emotion felt by Amelia from her own grief and Nolan’s.
Getting to know each of the characters in this book is so enjoyable and seeing how they interact with one another makes you wish you could join them in Lochbrook, Michigan. The way the world of Orman is interwoven into the story makes this book-within-a-book even more whimsical and magical. It will make you wish The Orman Chronicles was an actual book series just so you could experience the same joy Amelia feels when reading, thinking, or talking about it. Anyone who loves books will appreciate the way this novel emphasizes the magic behind reading.
The story leaves you hopeful that even if bad things happen in your life, the good will come as well and there will always be someone there to keep you grounded in living life instead of running from it. Additionally, Amelia’s story reminds us that the best way to remember those we’ve lost is by living our lives to the fullest and experiencing joy in it. That while grief is normal and necessary, it should not consume us and force us to follow a path we don't want to go down.
Brimming with meaningful storytelling, purposeful characters, and a little bit of mystery, Amelia Unabridged is a must-read for both YA and non-YA readers alike. I cannot recommend enough that you check this book out when it’s released on February 16th.
*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!