Book Reviews

Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher: ARC Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher

Expected publication February 16th, 2021 by Wednesday Books.

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

“Everyone has a story about the first time they read the Orman Chronicles. This is mine.”

Amelia Griffin and Jenna Williams are best friends, practically inseparable. They’ve been that way ever since they bonded over their shared love of novels, specifically the Orman Chronicles, written by the elusive N. E. Endsley. And ever since then, Jenna’s had their whole shared lives mapped out.

But everything goes quickly astray when, while traveling in Ireland, Jenna is in a fatal car accident and dies. Now Amelia is alone, set-adrift, and unsure what to do. That is until a mysterious package shows up and contains none other than a rare edition of the Orman Chronicles – one that shouldn’t even exist. Believing it must be somehow related to Jenna, Amelia sets out to find out where it came from, a journey that takes her all the way to a small bookstore in Michigan… and N. E. Endsley himself. Who turns out to be very different than Amelia expected.

Amelia Unabridged is an ode to book lovers everywhere. It’s clearly evident that Schumacher wrote this story with fellow book lovers in mind. Amelia, herself is a huge book lover, the kind that willingly stays up all night just to finish one more chapter, the kind whose thoughts leave reality behind more often than not to soar to distant magical lands with adventure, intrigue, and glory the like that can only be found in fiction.

With a main character like that, and a premise that surrounds and interweaves the fictitious world of Orman and soaring whales as much as it does the real world of Michigan, Amelia Unabridged can’t help but feel like it was specifically written for the type of person who finds solace in reading the same way Amelia does herself.

“I’ve lived in books. I’ve eaten and breathed books for so long that I took it for granted. I assumed that, if they saved me once, they would always be there to pick me up, even if Jenna wasn’t.”

Each sentence of this story is layered with so much emotion and vibrant imagery, that it’s hard not to become entirely immersed within its universe. I can’t lie, I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into this novel, but my, did it ever blow me out of the water. Between the relatable characters, the heartfelt emotion throughout, and the realistic struggles that Amelia must confront, it’s easy to get swept up in this tale of grief, loss, love, and hope. The writing style is poetic, poignant, and just a joy to read, even while you have tears running down your face as you do.

Amelia Unabridged is a novel that’s beautifully written, and impossible to put down.

What’s your favorite YA contemporary romance novel?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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