Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield is a rare, well-done YA mystery.
Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life. -GoodreadsIn addition to Becca's story, a girl on the cusp on growing up and leaving town, short chapters detail the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson. In a lot of ways the two young women are living parallel lives. Both are struggling with their own self-identity and are experiencing troubles with their boyfriends. As readers learn more about the two girls they are drawn closer and closer to the truth about how Amelia died.
I liked this book a lot. Becca's issues with her family, her boyfriend, and her hometown all seem very realistic for a teen preparing to move off to college, making a huge transition in life. Unfortunately, however, though I will purchase this book for my library I will not recommend it for a Mock Printz Workshop selection. Why? There is quite a bit of teen sex and drinking in the story. Since the list of books for the Mock Printz event has relatively few selections (10-15) and we tell students to try and read them all before the workshop, I think the books need to uphold certain standards. I am not prude. Sex and alcohol don't usually bother me in YA lit but this book had so much, it just seems over the top.
If you have read this book, let me know your thoughts about the explicit sex and drinking within. If not, what are your thoughts about those topics in YA lit?