I’ve enjoyed several of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars books, so I was excited when I found her latest book The Amateurs at the library.

Speaking of Pretty Little LiarsThe Amateurs begins in a similar fashion. The details are different, of course, but the bottom line is that Helena Kelly, a pretty girl in an affluent suburb disappears and is found dead.

Five years later, Seneca Frazier is a college student who is obsessed with the Helena Kelly case. She connects with Maddy, an online friend from a true crime/amateur sleuth website. Maddy, who is from Dexby, the town where the crime occurred, invites Seneca to come visit for Spring Break. What better way to cross-reference the details of the case? Perhaps they can uncover some clues that the police missed!

Things are “off” from the moment that Seneca arrives in Dexby, but she persists. She and Maddy are joined by Aerin (Helena’s sister), and then another kid from the amateur crime site. Maddy’s sister even joins the group, and before you know it, they have their very own little Scooby Gang searching for clues.

By the end of the book, questions are answered, but revelations lead to more questions. The mystery was satisfying, and I did not expect the outcome. This is a YA novel, so things are not necessarily as dark as they could be, but there’s still a decent amount of tension that builds over the course of the book. Not only are these new friends getting closer to the truth, but there seems to be someone determined to stop them from discovering the truth.

I would recommend The Amateurs. I’m outside of the target demographic, but I still enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and a fun read. The drama factor is paired nicely with good old-fashioned teen drama, and the result is a nice slice of escapism.  It will be interesting to see what direction the series takes following the revelations at the end of the first book!

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