Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don't want to make this review all about comparing the book to the TV series, so i shall say my piece about the show then move onto my proper review, i know i shouldn't really mention she show at all but it effected the way i read the book so i really feel it needs to be said.
I only became a fan of the show Pretty Little Liars (PLL) about 7 months ago, i'd heard about it before then but never actually watched it so i decided to check it out and ended up tearing through the first three series in a week. Now, i am a huge fan, i absalutely love everything about the show, from the characters to the angsty, suspenseful story line. PLL is one show that constantly keeps you on your toes or let you relax so you think you know whats happening but then blind sides you and everything you thought you know turns out to be totally wrong. It's the one show that constantly keeps my mind churning constantly over the plot, the characters and trying to find clues then add them up and figure out who A actually is. It really is a complex ride and the show has excellent writers, so when i found out the show was based on a series of books lets just say i was thrilled to say the least. I have been anticipating this read for some time now so safe to say i had the highest of expectations for this series.
A friend told me not to go into reading the book expecting to get as much from it as we do the show, so i went in with an open mind and tried my best not to compare the two. But as you will know it's hard not comparing a TV show/ film to the books their based on. Truth be told the thing i wanted most from the books was the suspense and the relationships between the characters we get on the show, the first i suspect you would get if you hadn't already seen the show and well i'll mention the latter later in this review.
The book introduces us to Rosewood elite, a group of five seventh graders, Alison the most beautiful of the group, Aria the quirky free spirit, Hanna who longs to be skinny and popular, Spencer the brains and Emily the sporty one who struggles with who she is. This set of five girls started a friend ship that started out fun and full of laughs, but soon turned into a group of scared girls full of secrets and lies. For Alison the leader of the group, had a thirst for secrets and soon had something on each of the other four girls in the group careful not to let any of her own secrets into anyone else's hands. She used their secrets to torment the girls, have them do anything she wished and let them know they were under her control. The strain Ali caused amongst the group was nothing compared to when "The Jenna Thing" happened, each of the girls became jumpy and combined with the hold Ali over them, they no longer only loved and admired Ali but they feared her and in their own small ways loathed her and the hold she had on them all.
But the summer of seventh grade Alison disappears, no trace of her is to be found. Flash forward three years later and with out the lynch-pin of the group the remaining four friends have grown apart.
The story follows each of the four girls lives, Aria has just returned from Europe still carrying the burden of the secret of her dads affair with one of his students and her own on going relationship with a teacher, Hanna is now the Queen Bee but struggles with a fear of reverting to her old misfit ways, Emily struggles with her sexuality and with who she actually is, Spencer is still aiming to be the best at... everything sick of being stuck in the shadows of her sisters spotlight her gaze turns to Melissa's new boyfriend.
As if the girls didn't already have enough going on with their lives, with their secrets and the burden of "The Jenna Thing" still hanging round their necks, Each of the girls start receiving messages from a source only known as 'A'. The messages are not only threatening, but include details that only Alison knew about the girls and their deepest secrets. They thought they were safe from their secrets being unveiled with the disappearance of Alison, but they were wrong, does A know what really happened to Jenna? Is it Ali, back and up to her old tricks again? Tormenting people with their secrets as only she could?
With the disappearance of Alison each of the remaining four friends sighed a secret sigh of relief, the threat she held over them all was no more once she was gone. Though they loved Alison and worshiped her, they feared her and the what she could and would do with the information she had on them. The damage she could cause to their lives with a slip of her tongue at one wrong move from any of them.
Ali knew more about them than anyone else did, including the bad stuff they wanted to bury - just like a body. It was horrible to think Ali might be dead, but... if she was, at least their secrets were safe.
Any they were. For three years, anyway.
Throw into the mix a eating disorder, some joyriding, a few visits to a police station, some boy friend stealing, parties, shop lifting, lots of kissing, an unknown threat, lots of lies, secrets and betrayal, and you have a very exciting start to a series.
The one thing that did disappoint was the fact there was minimal interaction between the four core characters up until the end, apart from a few sparse lines where the girls exchanged little words it was really only the last few pages they actually interacted. A thing that i hope changes throughout the series as i love the friendship the girls have in the show, it really is what makes it, the way they work together and move on with and with out the help of Alison. Trying to work out the mystery of who A is.
Pretty Little Liars is a light fun read, no it's not the height of literature but a perfect holiday read nice and light for by the pool or on the beach. It really is just a guilty pleasure, the writing style is fun and easy and is an enjoyable read.
There's 15 installments and 2 shorter stories that are included in the series so far which, i do intend to gradually make my way through the lot of them and very much look forward to it! A perfect little fix whilst waiting inbetween the shows. I do think that the show and books series are going to go down two totally different paths, so i look forward for the two different adventures through Rosewood.
Oh one major positive i found in the books was Ezra, sorry to say but Ian Harding does nothing for me in the show (as hot as he is.) The Ezra in the books how ever... he defiantly did it for me, and a little bit more! Positively swoon-worthy!!
In tandem, the girls read their text out loud. Each said the exact same thing:
I'm still here, bitches. And i know everything.-A
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