The Amateurs (Amateurs Series #1)

The Amateurs (Amateurs Series #1)

by Sara Shepard

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Overview

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 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.

"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
"[L]ikely to reach best-seller status." -Booklist

"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

"It's clear that Sara Shepard is no amateur; her devious and thrilling twists will leave you frantically turning pages until the very last moment." — Kass Morgan, New York Times best-selling author of The 100 series

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 09/19/2016
Shepard (the Pretty Little Liars series) dishes up another exciting whodunit, this time focusing on a group of teens who are tied together by the killing of high school student Helena Kelly and a website for amateur sleuths. Seneca, 19, became interested in cold cases after her mother’s murder four years earlier. Along with online friend Maddy (whom Seneca believes is a girl until they meet) and Helena’s younger sister, Aerin, Seneca resolves to find Helena’s murderer. The trio is joined by Brett Grady, grandson of a fashion heiress who was also brutally murdered, and Maddy’s stepsister, Madison. Using Seneca’s deductive skills and following new clues, the teens slowly discover the shocking identity of the killer and the secrets Helena was hiding. Shepard creates robust characters with their own motives for getting involved with the investigation; as she 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. An Alloy Entertainment property. Ages 14–up. Agent: Andy McNicol, William Morris Endeavor. (Nov.)

School Library Journal

10/01/2016
Gr 8 Up—Five years after the murder of Dexby teen Helena Kelly, her killer is still at large and her younger sister, Aerin, is consumed by grief and lack of closure. Seeking help in solving the crime, Aerin posts to Case Not Closed (CNC), an online forum that specializes in solving cold cases. Eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier and 19-year-old Maddy Wright, two amateur sleuths who frequent the board, are among those who answer the call. The ragtag duo, joined by Maddy's stepsister Madison and fellow CNC member Brett, show up on Aerin's doorstep ready to start the investigations anew. As the skilled group begin to make headway, explosive relationship dynamics threaten their efforts. The teens must also deal with increasingly physical attacks as they chase down clues. The first in a new series, the narrative is told from multiple points of view, with chapters in this page-turning thriller alternating among four main characters. Lighthearted moments break up the tension, but the characters' logic often requires a suspension of disbelief, while pacing can be uneven and dialogue stilted. Love triangles are distractingly prevalent, with all four main characters somehow involved in one, and the relationships mainly give way to love at almost first sight. Additionally, Shepard seems to take pains to reveal that Seneca is biracial and Madison is Asian American, but the knowledge adds little to the story. VERDICT A fun but additional whodunit for libraries with a demand for Shepard's other series, as well as fans of Ally Carter's "Gallagher Girls" or James Patterson's "Confessions."—Alea Perez, Westmont Public Library, IL

Kirkus Reviews

2016-09-19
This mystery brings online friends together in their attempt to solve a murder, sparking more than one possible romance.Aerins 17-year old sister, Helena, disappeared five years earlier, and the white girls remains were found much later. Although the police investigated and the story was big news at the time, the murderer was never found. Now 16, Aerin, also white, sends out a plea for help to an online forum wherein amateur sleuths try to solve old murders. In response, Seneca, a biracial (black/white) college student whose mother also had been murdered, decides to travel to Aerins snooty Connecticut town to see if she can make any progress on the case. There she meets her online buddy Maddox, who she thought was an Asian girl but turns out to be a white boy. Brett, another white online forum participant, rounds out the team. Varying levels of trust and disclosure amp up the tension and complicate the investigation. Shepard at first seems unable to decide whether shes writing a mystery or a romance, as she teams up Seneca and Maddox, who might have another girlfriend, and Aerin with a local police officer. Eventually, however, the story begins to weave all the characters together into a solution to the mystery, with appropriate red herrings and veiled clues. A twisty and ultimately satisfying romantic whodunit. (Mystery. 12-18)

From the Publisher

* "Shepard creates robust characters with their own motives for getting involved with the investigation; as she 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

"Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series was a smash hit, so this is likely to reach best-seller status."— Booklist

"Shepard's fans ready for a new sleuthing series will enjoy this first installment and look forward to the next case."— VOYA

"A delicious and suspenseful page-turner. I want more!"
I. Marlene King, Executive Producer, Pretty Little Liars

" The Amateurs is Sara Shepard at her best-chilling and romantic and full of surprises. A classic whodunit with a contemporary edge. The ending will leave you with your hair standing up, begging for more."— 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

" The Amateurs makes me want to go on an adventure with Sara Shepard. She has a knack for sizing up situations, people, and finding mystery in everyday life. She just plain gets it, page after page."— Caroline Kepnes, author of You

"Deceitful and delicious! Sara Shepard remains the queen of high-stakes, high-octane, compulsively readable suspense. Prepare to stay up all night!"— Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times best-selling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of The Lovely Reckless

" The Amateurs is Nancy Drew for the digital age, with all the fast-paced action, humor, and romance that Sara Shepard does so well. The final twist will leave readers breathlessly awaiting the next book!"— Katharine McGee, New York Times best-selling author of The Thousandth Floor

"IT's clear that Sara Shepard is no amateur; her devious and thrilling twists will leave you frantically turning pages until the very last moment."— Kass Morgan, New York Times best-selling author of The 100 series

"You'll think you know, but you won't know."— Kate Brian, author of the New York Times best-selling Private and Privilege series

" The Amateurs is a clever, well-structured mystery about a group of unlikely young detectives who come together to solve a cold case. In the end, The Amateurs is as much about the value of true friends and learning to accept your own demons as it is about discovering who really committed the crime."— Kimberly McCreight, New York Times best-selling author of Reconstructing Amelia and The Outliers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781484742273
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Series: Amateurs Series , #1
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,208,819
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews