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 answerswithout 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 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.
#1 New York Times best-selling author Sara Shepard is back with The Amateurs, first in a gripping new series packed with scandalous twists, shocking betrayals, and sizzling romance.
Praise for The Amateurs
* "Shepard . . . unravels the truth, the author lulls readers into a false sense of security before expertly pulling the rug out from underneath them. This is a delicious start to the Amateurs series."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A twisty and ultimately satisfying romantic whodunit."
' Kirkus Reviews
"A delicious and suspenseful page-turner. I want more!"
I. Marlene King, Executive Producer, Pretty Little Liars
"Chilling and romantic and full of surprises."
Cecily von Ziegesar, New York Times best-selling author of the Gossip Girl series
"Long live the queen of secrets! The Amateurs is a dark and twisty thriller which might just fill the Pretty Little Liars-shaped hole in my heart!"
Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die
"Deceitful and delicious!"
Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times best-selling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of The Lovely Reckless
About the Author
Sara Shepard is the author of the second book in this series, Follow Me, as well as two New York Times bestselling series, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, and the series The Perfectionists. She graduated from NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. Visit her online at @sarabooks on Twitter and Snapchat, and @saracshepard on Instagram.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved the twisty ending!
I honestly did not expect much from this book but I ended up absolutely loving it. I’ve read the entire Pretty Little Liars series but Sara Shepard’s writing and plot development has improved so much in this book. The twists and turns weren’t overly predictable, but they weren’t out of nowhere either – the hints were perfectly placed. I also loved the cast of characters and all the different dynamics between them. All of their backstories were interesting, though I wish we had gotten more on Maddox and also Madison (hoping she’ll have a point of view in book 2!). I was just as hooked on this book as I initially was on Pretty Little Liars, but it was very different, and didn’t feel like I was reading the same series over again. YA mystery/detective novels are few and far between, but this series looks extremely promising. This book totally exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait for book 2!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review The Amateurs by Sara Shepard! This new series by the well-known author of Pretty Little Liars impressed me. The mysterious disappearance and murder of a teenage girl goes unsolved for five years and then a group of online detective teenagers, that are part of the website known as the Case Not Closed group, decides they want to solve the mystery. Brett, Aerin (the victim's sister), Maddox and Seneca each have their own tragedy that they are dealing with. They are a team full of teen angst and have to struggle and come to terms with each other to work well together. Dangerous events threatening their lives make them wonder if they should stop investigating and if they are getting closer to solving the mystery. The twists are fun and unpredictable and include a cliffhanger ending that left me anxious for the sequel. It's nice to have a modern mystery fiction series for young adults to enjoy-5 stars!
But i know it will be great because its sara shepard, the best author ever
3.5 stars Seneca is a member of Case Not Closed, a website of amateurs dedicated to solving cold cases. Seneca has been obsessed with the Helena Kelly case ever since watching the television reports on her 5 years ago. She decides to meet up with her friend Maddy from CNC in Dexby, the town where Helena lived and was found murdered. Seneca and Maddy then team up with Brad, another CNC member, and Aerin, Helena's sister. The group soon realizes that someone in Dexby doesn't want them looking into the case but that's not enough to stop them. The closer they get to discovering what happened to Helena the more danger they find themselves in. Overall, I liked this book and I think that many people will enjoy reading it however, there were a few issues that kept The Amateurs from being great. While the plot is interesting it does stall in the middle of the novel. I think the ending kind of makes up for this but, I want to be on the edge of my seat the entire book not just the beginning and end. Also, the characters are just such teenagers. Maybe it's because I am no longer a teen, far from it, I found them to be so annoying at times. Despite its small faults I can see The Amateurs becoming a popular series among teens. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. ~ARC provided by Netgalley and Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review
2.5 stars The premise of this book is exactly the type of thing I love. I was so excited to get my hands on it and yet, I was quite disappointed. The characters were okay. I felt like they were a little hard to get to know, but I took that as a side effect of the reason they were together. Sadly, it also meant I didn't really connect with any of them. The plot was interesting, yet it lacked an intensity and spark I was hoping for. It didn't seem like a puzzle to me, everything came so easy. It was almost like these bored kids just needed something to do so they all decided to solve a murder before the black tie party. The last 50 or so pages really picked up and had a great ending, but by then it was too little too late. I just wanted it to be finished. Overall, it was a good concept, but for some reason, I just couldn't relax into fully enjoying this book. I might read the next in the series, but I won't be clamoring for it. **Huge thanks Hyperion and NetGalley for providing the arc free of charge**
This book was great with a heart dropping doozey of an ending. Sara Shepard hit this one out of the park for me. Great characters with well developed backgrounds, and they are teenagers so they are grumpy, take things way too personally and get mad at the stupidest things. As Seneca unravels clues you start to wonder how you missed some of them along the way. This book really draws you in and leads you down twists and turns that bring you joy then drop you like a roller coaster. There is no lag time in this book but the pacing is not quick enough to give you pause as to how these kids were able to unearth all this new information. Each of them plays a pivotal role in discovering the clues and unearthing major leads but Seneca seems to be the leader. Something about this book brought me back to the books that helped me fall in love with mystery novels to begin with, the Encyclopedia Brown series, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, something about a group of teens solving crime just makes me happy.