The only reason this book is getting two stars from me is because I was reading it at the right time. My puppers has been sick this past week which has made me upset and nervous as well so it was the perfect time to have a book that didn’t require any focus. And boy, this book definitely did not require any focus which isn’t great for a supposed mystery.
Now I’ve read other books by Sara Shepard so I knew not to expect much substance. Her books are kind of good for those quick easy reads that are cheesy guilty pleasures. But this was even worse than the worst book in the Pretty Little Liars book because at least in that series I’d watched the show and read so much of it that I was kind of hooked to the characters, as ridiculous as they were. In The Amateurs I didn’t really care about any of the characters.
In The Amateurs a group of young adults who enjoy amateur sleuthing via a website called Case Note Closed (where people post ideas about unsolved crimes and attempt to solve them) get together at the request of Aerin, whose sister Helena went missing and was then found dead years earlier.
Now Aerin is the first of many stereotypical characters in this book. She’s beautiful, blonde high schooler and her sister going missing damaged her and her family so much that she lashes out by drinking and either hooking up with or just more or less flashing a fair number of guys from her city, including one who is now a cop.
Then we have Seneca who has been interested in Helena’s case because it happened around the same time her mother disappeared and then was found murdered. She starts out the book at college where she’s super struggling even though she was apparently the perfect student in high school. She ends up proving to be super judgmental and quick to jump to conclusions.
We also have Maddy (Maddox) and his stepsister Madison. Seneca and Maddy were friends on the Case Not Closed message boards and plan to work together on Helena’s case but that plan is almost derailed when Seneca visits him and realizes that Maddy is actually a guy and not a girl like she assumed. Maddy is a kid who went from being a loser to being popular and he’s super athletic. His inner monologue goes from being worried that Seneca will think he’s just a dumb, girl obsessed jock to proving that that’s exactly what he is because his immediate thought is about how good Seneca will look in a swimsuit. Urgh. Madison, on the other hand, is a spastic weed user. In stereotypical fashion she’s Korean and loves Hello Kitty.
Then there’s Brett, another Case Not Closed user who joins up with them. He’s hot, rich, and immediately takes a liking to Aerin. He also has good instincts in regards to clues and what not.
Not a very likable cast of characters over all. Everyone is judgmental, vapid, self-obsessed, and kind of crazy.
And here’s a few other major issues:
– Maddy starts a relationship with his older track coach, a relationship that he quickly wants out of when she proves to be a little crazy. And then she starts blackmailing him. (“If you break up with me I’ll call the coaches at the college you got a scholarship for and they will revoke your scholarship.”) He tries to tell Seneca what the coach is doing, especially since he and Seneca end up liking each other and Seneca just scoffs and goes all “oh, you expect me to feel sorry for you?” Girl, there’s straight up blackmail of a student by a teacher going on.
– Of course a young cop flirts with a high school girl because that hasn’t happened before in a Sara Shepard book.
– Just all of the stereotypes.
– All of the designer name dropping. Come on Shepard, we don’t need to know who designed Aerin’s dress.
Okay, I’ve rambled enough for the day. Just basically know that the only reason I even liked this book at all was because I needed something that was just kind of nonsensical and easy to read.