Pub. Date: October 2006
Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna. Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful. But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished. How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.
Centered around the lives of Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily, 4 highschool girls, who each have dark, mischievous secrets, Pretty Little Liars explores the disappearance of their best friend Allison who unexpectedly disappeared. Two and a half years later, the girl's begin receiving inexplicable, provocative messages containing info only Alison knew, signed -A. But, Alison is now claimed dead. Who is -A? Is it Alison? Alison knew their darkest, deepest secrets, is she coming back to tell?From the beginning it starts strong and never weakens throughout, still strong until the end. It carried its own unique charm, mystery, humor, drama, and not to mention the suspense it holds to keep the reader satisfied. It was like the cherry on top for the stressful day I read it on.
In so many ways, Shepard portrays how the prettiest people do the ugliest things to get there way. Even how the richest people are poor in heart. How lying comes back to stab you in the back. How more than 2 people can't keep a secret. How humans hide their problems under a mask to make themselves look perfect. Relateable, huh? There's minimal depth to the story as it's a light read, but it does have substance. The feelings hidden behind these "pretty" girls are intense there's self-hate, compulsion, greed, and so much longing, and it's so easy to connect to them deeply. Reading this is reading with a purpose. Not just to be entertained, but to be exposed to how some people appear to be absolutely perfect with outer appearances, while on the inside they're hurting simply trying to find themselves and a solution.
On the down side, the beginning had a snail-pace as it's the exposition, the problem is it took far too long, mid-way through the book and it still was introducing new info. The up side is you stormed through pages. This is the first time that I felt that the writing was so easy to read that it only took a few seconds to turn the pages. Easy writing like this is so damn hard to write. Props to Shepard for her extraordinary skills.
It's safe to say, I'm a fan of the series as it holds a strong hook-ability effect on the reader. Unlike other books, this one requires you to read the whole series (8 books) to get the complete dirt behind the mystery, so this one's a cliff-hanger. Next installment, Please!
Rated PG-13 Young Adult
This book is appropriate for an older audience. Pretty Little Liars has a significant amount of tolerable references to sex, profanity, drugs and alcohol, and crude comments etc. '
Overall: 46/50 = 92% = A-
Cover: Perfect illustration to how the characters hide their imperfections inside themselves, while on the outside you'd think their perfect. You get that impression from the dolls. The dolls work fantastically to portray this.
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