by Ashley Schumacher
Publication: Wednesday Books; February 16, 2021
About: Sparks fly between two teens as they grapple with grief, love, and the future in this unforgettable debut novel sure to entice fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer E. Smith
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.
Ashley Schumacher’s devastating and beautiful debut, Amelia Unabridged, is about finding hope and strength within yourself, and maybe, just maybe, falling in love while you do it.
Oh, my heart! It’s been quite awhile since I read something that I loved as much as this debut by author Ashely Schumacher. Amelia Unabridged is a young adult novel about Amelia, her best friend Jenna, and their shared loved of the Orman Chronicles books by N.E. Endsley. I don’t want to waste time repeating the blurb but these girls are the best of friends, have a horrible fight, they sort of make up, Jenna dies, then Amelia receives an extremely rare edition of one of their favorite books. She calls the bookstore in Michigan attempting to find out who sent it, but gets no information. Luckily, she decides to travel from Dallas to the small Michigan town to try to figure out the mystery, because this takes her to her beloved author himself, Nolan (pen name, N.E. Endsley).
Let me start by getting a few trigger warnings out of the way. This book contains death. You already know that Jenna dies in a car accident, but there is also a flashback to another incident concerning death of children. It is brief and necessary, but it is there.
Amelia Unabridged is everything beautiful and wonderful that a reader hopes for. The writing is flawless, especially the complexity and imagery although intended for a YA audience. It can be happily read by either the intended age group or adults, such as myself, and be enjoyed wither way. The characters are beautifully and realistically flawed making them seem so relatable, despite being such a magical and dreamy plot. Speaking of the plot, the pacing is perfect with not one dull moment in the novel. Every word and every line are purposeful to the development of the story, without filler descriptions, flashbacks, or dialog. I promise that you will not find yourself skimming or your mind drifting while reading this one.
I adored every single character in this novel, but there just are not enough words for me to describe how amazing and special both Amelia and Nolan are. These two damaged souls come together and just bring the other one a peace they thought was no longer attainable. This isn’t a romance novel, it’s truly more important than that. However, you will find yourself noticing a fast-forming connection and spark between Amelia and Nolan, as well as, find yourself hoping, praying, and cheering for them to be together. Alex, Nolan’s best friend, is also such in incredible and thoughtful character. I actually stopped to think about it a few times that I never knew 18-19 year old boys like that when I was that age. Where were they?? And Alex’s mom and bookstore owner Valerie is such a huge character there could have been a book written just about her, which would be fascinating, I’m sure.
To summarize, this book comes with my highest recommendation regardless of your typical preferred genre. Whether you are navigating through your early teen years or enjoying your retirement years, this is book that any reader can relate to and enjoy. I especially recommend this novel to anyone that has been thinking of making a change, pursuing a new hobby or career, or just thinking of going somewhere different. There is such beauty in taking the unknown path. Thank you to the author for writing such a touching novel!
*Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!
Purchase Amelia Unabridged from Amazon!