Author: Sara Shepard
Warning: Spoilers (and I spill the ending!)
It is the last Friday in June and time for my twenty-third 2011 weekly blog post. This week I am reviewing the first Pretty Little Liars book.
One day I was leafing through a magazine and I saw an ad for the Pretty Little Liars TV show. A corner of the ad said that the series was based on the books by Sara Sheppard, so at school the next day I checked out the first book. The book is about a group of friends who break up when their leader goes missing.
Alison “Ali” DiLaurentis is the “It” girl. She’s the pretty popular girl that everyone wants to be friends with. She has four best friends: Emily Fields, Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, and Aria Montgomery. Emily is a competitive swimmer being raised by her conservative parents. Spencer is an overachiever, trying to one-up her older sister Melissa. Hanna is a chubby girl who just wants to fit in. Aria is considered weird because her passions include making films as opposed to playing soccer like everyone else. Ali brings the girls together and the girls tell Ali their darkest secrets.
The book opens with a sleepover in Spencer’s barn. They’re having a party to celebrate the end of the seventh-grade. At this sleepover, Ali tells the girls that she knows how to hypnotize people. The girls are all skeptical about the whole idea, but eventually they agree. Ali turns off all the lights, lights some candles, and starts counting back from one hundred.
She touches each girl’s forehead, but before she can get to Spencer she stands up and opens the blind, saying it’s too dark. Spencer says Ali doesn’t always have to be the boss, and eventually Ali leaves. Spencer feels guilty and runs after her, but she can’t find her.
Three years later, the girls are about to be high-school juniors, and things are about to change for the worst.
Someone has finally bought Ali’s old house. Because she went missing, Ali’s parents moved to Maryland. Emily’s mom is the Rosewood Welcome Wagon lady, so she puts together a basket and asks Emily to drop it off. While there, she meets a girl named Maya. Maya introduces her to weed, and it isn’t long before they fall for each other. Emily blows off swim practice to hang out with Maya, and her boyfriend Ben catches them kissing at a party. Ben breaks up with Emily on the spot. At the end, Emily and Maya are still together.
Aria has just moved back to Rosewood from Iceland. After dropping her brother Mike off at lacrosse tryouts, she goes to a bar and meets a guy named Ezra Fitz. They start talking, and end up making out in the bathroom. On the first day of school, Aria goes to her AP English class and her new teacher is revealed to be Ezra Fitz—the same Ezra Fitz from the bar. He’s shocked to see her in his class, because she implied she was a college student. After class, they talk, and he says that while he thinks she’s amazing, they can’t see each other now that she’s his student. Throughout the book, they try to resist their attraction to each other, and fail miserably.
Hanna has reinvented herself in Ali’s disappearance. Along with transformed dork Mona Vanderwaal, she’s the new “It” girl. In order to stay popular, she has to stay thin. In order to thin, she struggles with bulimia. She also shoplifts. When she gets caught shoplifting, her mom persuades the young officer to let the crime go, mysteriously telling Hanna she’ll “take care of it.” Hanna’s boyfriend Sean has taken a virginity pledge, but Hanna tries to seduce him at a party. When he refuses, she steals his car keys for revenge and takes his BMW out for a joyride, and she ends up crashing it. One night while watching TV, Hanna hears noises and she sees her mom with the officer who showed up at her house, and it’s obvious that in exchange for letting Hanna’s crime slide, her mom is sleeping with him.
Spencer is still the overachiever that she was before Ali went missing. But she can’t surpass Melissa’s achievements. Melissa brings her new fiancée Wren Kim to dinner, and Spencer falls for him. He falls for her as well, and one night he kisses her. Unfortunately, Melissa was watching and she obviously calls the engagement off. She and Wren continue seeing each other, though.
Throughout the book, the girls get threatening e-mails, notes, and texts from someone by the initial A. At first the girls think A is Alison, but Alison’s body is found buried in the backyard of her old house, and the messages continue. The story ends when the four girls get a text at Ali’s funeral. The text says I’m still here, bitches. And I know everything. –A
I liked this book a lot more than I expected. When I first saw the cover, I thought it’d be a book full of snobby mean characters with no real plotline, but the A thing brings in the mystery. I’d definitely recommend this book.