Pretty Little Liars
By: Sara Shepard
Published By: HarperTeen
Release Date: 2006, but the edition I read was released in 2010
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Owned by Reviewer
Pretty Little Liars is the first book in a mystery series that follows the lives of four former friends Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily. The girls went their separate ways when their BFF, Ali, goes missing. Each girl struggles with Ali's disappearance and they drift away from one another. Aria even moves all the way to Iceland! But upon Aria's return, the girls are drawn back together when each of them starts to receive mysterious messages from a person named A, who just happens to know all their dirty little secrets. Who is A? Why is she tormenting the girls?
This series has been out for awhile, but I was pretty resistant to reading it. I mean the Barbie dolls on the original covers turned me off and the blurb on the book jacket just didn't draw me in. So every time I'd go to the bookstore or library for a new read I'd see these books, roll my eyes, and choose something else. I seriously thought these books would be mean girls all over again, but I was wrong.
I started watching the ABC Family version of Pretty Little Liars when it first aired last summer. I figured watching an episode or two of the show would let me know if the books were worth my time. Even though I kept ignoring them a little nagging in the back of my mind kept telling me to give them a chance. I soon started to enjoy the show, but unfortunately my big cross country move kept me from keeping up with it. I decided that it was time to give the books a chance.
Pretty Little Liars is one of those books that just kept me guessing. When the last word had been read I immediately wanted to reach for book two. Sara Shepard does a superb job of bringing her characters to life. I truly felt for each girl as I learned more about who she was and the secrets of her past. I love that even those all of these girls are flawed Sara makes them the type of characters you still want to root for in the end.
I also think Sara does a beautiful job of keeping her readers on their toes. Since I have only read the first book I can truly say I have no idea who A is and how she knows the secrets the girls want to keep hidden. I think it is a true talent to be able to weave a mystery in such a compelling way without giving up hints too quickly.
The messages from A instantly made me think of Gossip Girl. It seems that just like Gossip Girl, A knows everything about everyone. I am intrigued to find out more about her as I keep reading.
One Last Gripe: I was somewhat upset by some of the situations in the book such as teen drinking and a relationship between Spencer and an older boy. I know these things happen, but I fear that if they are glamorized too much it can lead some impressionable readers onto the wrong path. I would definitely hope that younger teens were not reading these books unless they were engaging in conversations with their parents about what they were reading.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The mystery surrounding A
First Sentence: Imagine it's a couple of years ago, the summer between seventh and eighth grade.
Favorite Character: Aria
Least Favorite Character: Hanna
Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic, sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series.