AIMEE by Mary Beth Miller


Age Range: 14 & up
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In a journal being written for therapy, an unnamed narrator tells of being accused of the murder of her best friend. Quite realistically the girl jumps between past and present as her thoughts travel over these momentous events. Separated from her tightknit group of friends both at the order of the court and because her parents have moved to a new town for her sake, this girl is isolated, bereft, and damaged. The mystery is what really happened and whether this JK—“Jack Kevorkian”—could have saved her friend, aided and abetted in her death, or worse. Consequences for herself, her family, and friends include a severe anorexia, which leads to a hospital stay, parents separating, and the knowledge that Aimee’s death was a result of unbearable pain. Avoiding flamboyance and trendy dialogue, first-time novelist Miller simply tells the story using her narrator’s voice, which is compelling. Often, in such stories the secret seems less than the buildup, but this time it is not. Aimee found herself beyond help and no longer able to bear her life despite being in a supportive, albeit imperfect, group of friends who shared alcohol, flawed parents, and sometimes sex. For the narrator, being accused of killing Aimee is only a small part of anguish. A keen observer, slightly self-absorbed, she is convincing; the revelations of the past drift into her recounting of the present, offering clues as though this were a gripping thriller. The complexities of her relationship with her super-perfectionist lawyer mother and disengaged father are aptly portrayed without demonizing or excusing any of them. A late revealing of the name of the narrator is symbolic of the healing that is beginning and indicates that all has finally been told. A fascinating character study that will intrigue readers wanting to go beyond sensationalistic headlines. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-525-46894-3
Page count: 308pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002


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