The author of The Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game, and The Perfectionists is back with a new series to drag us into. I’ve read all of her other books in the aforementioned series, including all 19 PLL books, but I was excited about this book. Instead of just having mysterious things happen to the characters, these characters were going to be actively involved in unraveling mysteries from the beginnings. It also featured two lead characters of color who actually openly talked about their identity!
The Amateurs features an ensemble cast of people fascinated by cold case murders, but they’re actually teenagers and not 40 year old women glued to Forensic Files. Through an online chat board that sounds a little sketchy but also really cool, they end up coming together from all over the Eastern seaboard to solve a cold case murder in Connecticut. The details of the murder are blurry, and maybe that’s for the best, if the ending of this novel has any say about it.
The characters are all intertwined and like teenagers, into one person and then the other. The main characters, Seneca and Maddox, met on the online chat and decided to team up to help solve the Helena Kelly murder over Spring Break. Because who needs to go to Myrtle Beach when you can solve a murder? To add a little humor, Seneca doesn’t realize that Maddox (known as Maddy online) is a boy, not a girl. Also, he’s really hot and athletic and popular, because why not? This is Sara Shepard, and everyone is rich and drinks underage and crashes parties at country clubs. Seneca isn’t a particularly likable character, but she’s been through some trauma and we’ll let her get away with it, for now.
As you’ll know if you’ve read a single Pretty Little Liars books or seen even half of an episode, Sara Shepard loves to twist and turn and yank her readers. One second you think the culprit is X and then you’re sure it is person Y but the characters think it’s person Z even though the police think it is person Q. This book is no exception. There is no “clear” suspect, but by the middle of the book, you’re thinking that there are a million potential suspects. Ultimately, there seems to be a clear culprit and a clear motive, but then Sara Shepard pulls a Sara Shepard and pulls the rug out from under us. I eagerly await the next installment in this series, and the inevitable announcement that it is being picked up by ABC Family/Freeform