REVIEW: The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

by - 12:02 PM

“She was never going to know the truth about Helena. What happened to her sister was going to remain a mystery – and a recurring nightmare – for the rest of her life.”

Back of the book blurb:

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.

A message in a bottle:

Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781484742273

Available for Purchase:

My rating:

            Sara Shepard has so much of my money that it’s becoming quite ridiculous. There’s just something about her murder mysteries that get me so hooked! Even though it’s hard to not compare any book she writes to Pretty Little Liars, because let’s be honest, they all seem to be heavily reminiscent of the breakout series, each book keeps me captivated.

“She was going to figure out what happened. It wouldn’t solve all of her problems. It wouldn’t solve all her mysteries. But it was a start.”

            With The Amateurs, I definitely felt like it was a more mature novel, which was very refreshing. It was not nearly as outlandish as any of the PLL novels, and overall, the novel just had a sense of maturity that really helped me connect with The Amateurs more than any Shepard novel that I’ve read.

“You’ll get what you deserve, H.”

            I’ve always loved Sara Shepard’s writing style; she’s amazing at writing several POVs and making each POV unique and makes you want to believe what she wants you to believe. The only reason I knew what happened in the PLL novels was because I read them years after they came out, mainly due to the fact that I fell in love with the television show, and people had told me what happened in the books. I never would’ve guessed at who the killer was in The Amateurs. Sara Shepard always gets me!

“Seneca’s head felt stuffed with shaving cream—unusual, for her. She hated feeling off-balance, and usually came into every situation having done her research and knowing exactly who and what was in store for her.”

            I loved all of the characters so much, especially Seneca.! Again, I believe the maturity of the novel helped with this, because each character seemed so much more developed and had more of a personality. I love how it comes out that the characters are all bonded by a tragic backstory and that’s why they’re helping with Helena Kelly’s case.

“Then, with an effort, she shrugged away her insecurities. So he was a guy. So he was delicious to look at. So he was a weirdly cool track dude. Who cared? She knew why she was really here.”

            My only problem with The Amateurs is the romance portion. Obviously, I am always rooting for romance, even when people think it’s misplaced, but I truly believe it’s misplaced in this book. I’m not sure if it’s because the romance seemed so… young compared to the rest of the book or what. It just seemed stilted and awkward and rushed. It didn’t feel like it should’ve taken place at the time of the novel. I could definitely feel the chemistry between the two characters who do have a thing, but it just didn’t seem like the right time.

            Either way, I love Sara Shepard and her writing and I believe The Amateurs was an incredible novel to add to her bibliography and I cannot wait to continue this series when the next book comes out! PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY!

Happy Reading!
The Wandereader

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