*I received an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Wednesday Books, for giving me this opportunity!
Today I’m excited to be reviewing Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher. The book follows the story of Amelia Griffin, a young woman living in Dallas, Texas, who meets her best friend, Jenna Williams, at a bookstore during a dark part of her life. The two become inseparable, doing absolutely everything together, from sharing their obsession with the famous Orman Chronicles by N.E. Endlsey, to planning every step of their college life so they wouldn’t be separated. Shortly after a freak car accident kills Jenna, Amelia is still grappling with her grief when a mysterious special edition of her favourite book is delivered to her. Convinced it’s a message from Jenna, Amelia embarks on a journey to Michigan where she winds up meeting her favourite author and learning that maybe a little bit of magic does exist outside of books.
Amelia Unabridged is a beautiful homage to all those who have spent parts of their lives in between pages. It is a story about learning how live on and re-find yourself through loss and keeping loved ones alive through stories. It also focuses a lot of taking a risk and letting the universe guide you, even for a second. It has such a wholesome and gorgeous story with strong world building and believable characters. Each place that Amelia visits on her trip is so wonderfully described that I could so vividly imagine walking through Val’s bookstore, with the quiet chatter of book clubs, stray notes from Val’s piano lessons, and the smell of the strong coffee from the café.
The book’s namesake character, Amelia, immediately stole my heart, and after so many bad things happen to Amelia at the beginning, I honestly spent most of the book worried that something worse was coming. Amelia has such a wonderful perspective, often framing different scenes and moments from a photographer’s eye. She is such a beautiful, loyal friend who more often than not puts their wishes and wellbeing over her own, even when the friend is no longer living. This loyalty is especially prevalent when she finds herself walking two separate paths during her time in Michigan. She works hard to maintain her original path, set by herself and Jenna, despite it not being something she is passionate about.
I don’t normally read contemporary books, but I think it’s time for me to change that. Especially for stories like this one! I’m on day two after finishing the book with my heart feeling warm and full, even though I spent most of the book teary-eyed and crying.