cover image The Amateurs

The Amateurs

Sara Shepard. Freeform, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4847-4227-3

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.)