Book Review: The Amateurs

The Amateurs
Published By: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Page Count: 320
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Young Adult - Mystery

The Amateurs was a fantastic mystery from author Sara Shepard. I was completely drawn in from the first couple of chapters and thoroughly enjoyed the book. 

 Seneca Frazier traveled to Dexby, CT to meet up with her friend Maddy so they could investigate the murder of Helena Kelly. Seneca and Maddy met through the online forum Case Not Closed. When Seneca got off the train in CT, she didn't see Maddy. Instead she found a "tall, handsome boy with wavy brown hair, a chisled jaw, and a T-shirt that said Unversity of Oregon." It turns out, Maddy is also short for Maddox. His step-sister is named Madison, and not a member of the forum. Awk-ward! This was a great start to the book! 

Seneca and Maddox end up meeting Aerin, Helena's sister. Once she finds out what they are doing, she wants to join the investigation. They include another forum member, Brett. And eventually, Madison, Maddox's sister, is included as well. 

 The diversity of the characters is what makes this book so interesting. They all come from varying backgrounds and have different life stories, but come together to try and solve this mystery. They also each have their own baggage to deal with, due to their diverse backgrounds. But it added to the story as we learn more about each character. 

 There was a myriad of possible suspects for the murderer and I kept thinking it was one in particular. But it turns out the end is a bit of a cliffhanger and the actual murderer was not on my list at all. The clue that leads Seneca to this realization kind of bothered me too, but I pushed it aside just like she did. 

 My only complaint about the book was that it was marketed as mystery with romance, which is one of my all time favorite genres. However, although there are a few little side love interests that take place in the book, I would not classify this book as a mix of mystery and romance. 

 I'll admit that I hadn't heard of Sara Shepard before reading this book. I haven't read/watched Pretty Little Liars so I read this without any preconceived notions or expectations. The Amateurs certainly delivered! It was fast paced with lots of twists and turns, and I was kept guessing until the very end. It seems this is the first in a series so I definitely look forward to the next book! Highly recommended for mystery fans! 

 Content: Language

I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold.