Review: The Amateurs (The Amateurs, #1) by Sara Shepard

24974965The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Nromal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance

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As soon as Seneca Frazier sees the post on the Case Not Closed website about Helena Kelly, she’s hooked. Helena’s high-profile disappearance five years earlier 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.

So when Maddy Wright, her best friend from the CNC site, invites Seneca to spend spring break in Connecticut looking into the cold case, she immediately packs her bag. But the moment she steps off the train in trendy, glamorous Dexby, things begin to go wrong. Maddy is nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin Kelly, seems completely hostile and totally uninterested in helping with their murder investigation.

But when Brett, another super user from the site, joins Seneca and Maddy in Dexby, Aerin starts to come around. The police must have missed something, and someone in Dexby definitely has information they’ve been keeping quiet.


I think I like the idea behind The Amateurs better than the story itself.

It is relatively original and makes the reader curious, but the writing is so dry. I couldn’t find the atmosphere anywhere I looked.

And the characters sure don’t help, as they are as one dimensional as cut outs. I tried hard to connect with them, but hell, the immaturity is hard to ignore.

This is one of those times when you have to take the title and blurb seriously. Aerin, Seneca, Maddy and Brett really are amateurs, meaning that cluelessness, stupidity and forgetfulness are words that associate to their personalities and the situations they get themselves into. Basically, they’re digging their own graves.

I liked the idea of teenagers trying to decipher mysterious criminal events. But the reality is that those are teenagers whose attention constantly switches subjects – they fall in love, they get reckless, they get worked up over petty things and they jump from conclusion to conclusion – and that is just very, very annoying.

But again, it’s the writing, ultimately, that kept me from enjoying this. I could have taken the immaturity since the mystery was done fairly well, but I cannot lose myself in a book with writing that can’t even grip me enough to care for the characters’ lives, however in danger they are.

Not recommended. But I do, however, recommend Pretty Little Liars.

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Amateurs (The Amateurs, #1) by Sara Shepard

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