Second Look: Sara Shepard’s THE AMATEURS (The Amateurs #1)

Sara Shepard has a new series hitting the shelves November 1!  The Amateurs mixes Pretty Little Liars with Serial.

I have to admit, when I saw this pop up on NetGalley, I was a little unsure.  But I figured, “What they hay?” and requested it.  I’m still not completely sure…but I have to say, the ending surprised me enough to want me to read the second book.

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Releases November 1, 2016

What It’s About: The story focuses on a group of teens (age ranging from about 17 to 19) that come together to solve the mystery of Helena Kelly, a girl who went missing from the prominent town of Dexby, Connecticut, and showed up dead four weeks later.

The story focuses around the friendship of Seneca and Maddox, who met online on the forum, Case Not Closed, where amateur and armchair detectives try to solve cold cases.  When spring break rolls around, Seneca decides to visit Maddy — who she thought was a girl — and try to solve the case.  (Maddox lives in Dexby.)  They are joined by Brett Grady, another member of the Case Not Closed File.

Together, they enlist the help of Aerin Kelly, Helena’s little sister, to find out what really happened to Helena.

How It’s Like PLL:  It’s the classic Rich Girl/Boy town.  Aerin is the quintessential “poor little rich girl” who’s trying to figure out who she is after the death of her sister five years earlier.  Madison, Maddox’s half-sister, is also the classic Rich Girl stereotype.

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How It’s Like Serial:  They’re trying to solve a crime.  (And in that way, it’s probably like PLL, too…)

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TV News: Pretty Little Liars…ENDING?!

I don’t have much commentary on this, beside SHOCK AND AWE that it’s actually ending.  So instead, I’ll simply quote the original post from E! News:

It’s official: Pretty Little Liars is ending after its seventh season.

After much speculation over the future of the show, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Sasha Pieterse and creator I. Marlene King announced the “bittersweet” news in a Facebook Live broadcast from the show’s set, where they’re filming the final batch of episodes.

Although, not to fret!  In true PLL fashion:

While King had hinted at the possibility that the show could continue in a different form after season seven, the group confirmed that the last ten episodes will mark the end of the series.

Alas, we still have a few months before we have to say good-bye.  The second half of season 7 of PLL won’t air until April 2017.

Until then.

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Second Look: Twisted by Sara Shepard

A is back, bitches...

PLOT:
The four pretty little liars are at it again. After the horrible events in the Poconos last year, Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily became closer than ever, and the BFF’s took some much needed time off in Jamaica over spring break. Except something not so fabulous happened in Jamaica. Something horrible that will drive them apart, and something that will most definitely come back to haunt them. Because the past eight books have taught us that secrets never stay buried in Rosewood.

CHARACTERS:
The usual suspects:
Spencer. Things are about to change in Spencer’s life when she learns that her mother has been dating… and mommy’s new boyfriend has a very hot son. Our little plaid wearing Signorina Smarty Pants also got herself into Princeton. Hooray! But what makes me think she did something very unsavory to get that acceptance letter?
Emily. When Chloe and her family move into the Cavanaugh’s house, Em finally has someone she can share her secrets with. But Chloe’s father has some secrets of his own that could ruin his family… and Emily. And OH HOLY SHIZZLE. Emily drops a big bomb that I, for one, was not expecting. I can’t say much more without dropping hints, and I’m not one for spoilers. But I am fairly certain this is one secret that will come back to bite her in future installments.
Hanna.  Hanna Banana is finally able to one-up her dad’s faux daughter, Kate (aka Hanna’s stepsister), by securing a photo shoot with a photographer who will hook her up with modeling agents. Except something’s not kosher with this dude… and it’s going to cost Hanna, and maybe her daddy’s entire Senate campaign.
Aria. Aria and Noel Kahn have been together for one blissful(ish) year. At least until Klaudia, the Kahn’s beautiful, Finnish, snow bunny exchange student, comes to stay with the family. I think there could be trouble in paradise, kids.

EXTRA GOODIES:

  • More lies! More scandals! More debauchery! More ridiculous behavior that is completely unheard of in today’s youth and is extremely dramatized for literary value! YAY!
  • Sara Shepard keeps dishing on pop culture references to clothes/fashion, music, and local hotspots (especially if you’re from Philly) that we all love, and maybe even wish we had access to (or is that just me?)
  • With the purchase of this book, you can help Sara Shepard put a down payment on that penthouse made of gold she’s always wanted.*

OPINION:
I know, I know, I know. ANOTHER Pretty Little Liars installment?! Haven’t we had enough of these already?? I have to admit, the storyline is a bit tired. However, these books are just as fun the 9th time around. Admit it: we love these girls. Mostly because they make us want to jam the stiletto of a Minolo Blahnik heel through their heads while screaming, “CAN’T YOU SEE THIS WON’T END WELL?!” But I love a good scandal and, personally, I also love reading about what kind of trouble these posh princesses would get into next. Shepard’s writing is well paced and her well-crafted (albeit overused) mystery always leaves me wanting more. Though I find myself wondering if it’s a brand spankin’ new mystery, or the same one wrapped up in a new package. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it and, as usual, there was a nice little note from “A” at the end telling us what we can expect in Book #10 (Ruthless, set for release December 6, 2011).

OFFICIAL RATING: 7/10

*Seriously, the woman has 10 novels out (soon to be 13) for teens in two different series. And, by the way, both of those series have been made into TV shows. She also published an adult novel (The Visibles) in 2009 and founded the PBS Kids network. I swear, I’m in the wrong line of work…