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Author Kimberly McCreight at Bank Square Books

Published January 16. 2014 4:00AM

Since the days of "The Catcher in the Rye" and "A Separate Peace," novels about prep school culture - the privilege and ritual - have fascinated readers (probably because folks like myself can't spell "prepatory," much less get an acceptance letter from Choate).

Consider this prep school setting - and add a 15-year-old girl who apocryphally kills herself after a cheating scandal. Her single mother doesn't believe it was suicide and starts to peel back the layers of the school's veneer - digging through contextual intricacies of modern popular culture, secret societies, the facets of social media, bullying, and the oft-heartbreaking experience of "first love."

These are the elements at work in Kimberly McCreight's wildly successful first novel, "Reconstructing Amelia" - glowingly reviewed by the likes of Jodi Picoult, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and People.

McCreight appears Tuesday at an author luncheon in Mystic's Bank Square Books, where she'll discuss and sign copies of the book.

- RICK KOSTER

Kimberly McCreight, noon Tuesday, Bank Square Books, 53 West Main St., Mystic; $15.99 includes signed copy and lunch, RSVP required; (860) 536-3795, banksquarebooks.com.

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