Review: The Amateurs (The Amateurs #1)


What a disappointment of a book. If I had been smart, I would have DNFd this story. Painfully underdeveloped characters, immature dialogue, uncomplicated plot, and no substance whatsoever. I almost kick myself for taking the time to read this.

Young people are interested in solving cold cases. That’s the premise of this story/series. Seneca Frazier sees a cry for help on an unsolved cold case on a message board/website and jumps at the chance to help. She meets up with several people she friended online. They all put their heads together to try to solve the mysterious murder of an innocent girl so many years ago.

That all sounds well and good, but the delivery of this story was horrid. Not only was the overall story bad but it was not well developed at all. The characters were underdeveloped; the plot was laughable; the dialogue was very immature; the plot felt weak; and there was open pot smoking & underage drinking. Those together do not a good story make.

The protagonist, Seneca, was not a likeable character. She felt shallow, self centered, and immature for someone that is supposed to be out of high school. She was the character that was openly drinking when she was not yet of legal age. Her character was supposed to be the lead in helping solve an unsolvable crime but instead she was focused on how attractive her online friend Maddy happens to be. (like, oh my gosh! he’s so hot!) She focuses far too much time on pointing out how she felt Maddy was a girl but is a boy instead. Who cares. Is that the point of this story or is it working to solve a murder? I’m confused. The rest of the characters were just as bad. They all spoke in what felt to be Valley Girl talk. I had to wonder if I was reading a lower level YA book or a MG book. They talked down to everyone and really were rude. Also, don’t expect to have any adults in this book because apparently they do not exist in this town.

The opening of the story was a little confusing but the reader could quickly figure out what was going on. What really started to muck the plot up was that each character that was introduced just so happened to have had a loved one murdered and their murder was unsolved. Let me just tell you that happens to be a lot of murders. So many that the actual point of the story gets lost. Chapters and chapters are spent diving into each character’s backstories and it soon becomes an info dump. I was getting frustrated that so many things were being introduced and they were all trying to take center stage. It was too much for the plot and therefore the plot became scattered. I gave up caring who had what happen to them in their past. Either people were focused on their own histories or the characters were drooling over the hottie in the room. Regardless, this was bad writing that was poorly executed. I’m not sure anything could have been done to save this story.

I do wish I had DNFd this book like my gut was telling me to do but I had to be stubborn and finish. I know better than that. I had not read anything by this author before and I have a strong gut feeling the rest of her books are written like this. If that is the case, I will not be reading anymore by her. This book frustrated and annoyed me more than anything because it really did have promise. With all of that, I cannot recommend this to anyone unless you enjoy the other books by Shepard.


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