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April was to mark the last chapter of Amanda Knox's nightmare. Her tell-all book Waiting to Be Heard—about her four years in an Italian prison, her conviction for murder, then her dramatic acquittal—was due out at the end of the month, with all the splash of a major book rollout, including a Diane Sawyer interview. Now, with a March 26 court decision she called "painful," the University of Washington creative-writing student, 25, fears that Italian authorities may rewrite her happy ending.

Italy's highest criminal court, without specifying why, overturned the acquittals of Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 29, and ordered a new trial in the 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher. "There's a lot of unanswered questions," Kercher's sister Stephanie told the BBC. "We are just hoping the new trial will help answer those." It was Kercher's family, distraught that Knox and Sollecito were set free in October 2011, who appealed to Italy's Court of Cassation. Knox reportedly stayed up until 2 a.m. at home in Seattle to learn the ruling. Minutes later she released a statement: "No matter what happens, my family and I will face this ... as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations."

So what's next for Knox? She has no plans to return to Italy for trial, said her attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova. "She is a free woman," he told PEOPLE. But she is in for, as Stephanie Kercher put it, "many more years" of legal wrangling. And a second conviction could ground the once worldly and adventurous Knox, says London-based extradition lawyer Anand Doobay: "If she were found in any EU country, she could be arrested, then surrendered to Italy."

  • Contributors:
  • With Simon Perry in London.