ARC Review: The Amateurs by Sara Shepard


Book cover for The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Amateurs (The Amateurs #1)
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

As Seneca, Brett, Maddy, and Aerin begin to unravel dark secrets and shocking betrayals about the people closest to them, they seem to be on the murderer’s trail at last. But somewhere nearby the killer is watching . . . ready to do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

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The Amateurs was my first Sara Shepard, and after reading it, I definitely feel like I should read more! This murder mystery tells the story of four teens that meet online and contains a strong main character. The way the book is written is so mysterious and really makes the reader suspect everyone. This eerie book is the perfect read for the fall season!

It’s been a while since I’ve read a murder mystery novel, and The Amateurs was the perfect book to get me back into the genre. I loved how all the characters are basically strangers that met on an online case solving forum. This was a nice original touch, setting the book apart from the basic murder mysteries. What I also really enjoyed was the fact that the identity of the killer is actually a big surprise. One of my biggest annoyances in books is predictability, so I was thrilled with the ending that I never saw coming.

Seneca is such a fierce main character. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and isn’t afraid to go snooping. The way her style is described makes her seem so trendy and strong, and I really admired it. Seneca can also be deceptive and is a good actress, making her the perfect person to search for clues.

I loved the way The Amateurs is written! The story is told in multiple perspectives, which I always love, and really gives a lot of insight into each character’s life. There is so much backstory that is revealed pretty slowly, throwing the plot in an entirely new direction every time.  Sara Shepard really makes the reader question everyone as a potential suspect!

The Amateurs is a murder mystery that features four teens that met online on a case solving forum. I loved the main character’s strength and the way the backstory is slowly revealed. After that mind-blowing ending, I feel like I should reread the book and look for the hints myself!


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