Monday, 17 August 2009

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (Series [so far] review)

I am going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. BUT! If I do include spoilers, they will be in white, and you can highlight to read them.

So - here we go - a book-by-book review of Pretty Little Liars.


This is the first book in the series, Pretty Little Liars, and it has Spencer Hastings on the cover.

The first book in a series is often the most important one - besides the last one. The first book has to grip the reader and pull them into the book's world - and make them want to read more.

This first book does that, and more. My friend recommended it and once I started it, I couldn't stop until I'd devoured every book that is out right now.

The book focuses on four girls: Spencer Hastings, an OCD, hard-working, top-of-the-class, competitive girl. She has a lot of family problems - her sister, Melissa, is their parents' favourite and Spencer often gets treated badly. Spencer and Melissa are always competing, from their grades, to sports, to boys. Spencer's memory is a bit blurry about the night her ex-best friend, Alison DiLaurentis, disappeared, but we see flashes of what happened eventually.

Aria Montgomery (forgive me if I misspell any character's name) she's an outgoing, unique, artsy girl. After Ali went missing, Aria's family packed up and moved to Iceland. Aria hates the Typical Rosewood kind of person. Her family is messed up too, after all, her father hooked up with one of his students, and eventually he leaves Ella, her mother, for Meredith, the student, and breaks the family apart. Worse - Ella can't even bring herself to look at Aria when she learns Aria knew about her father's affair.

Emily Fields - Emily is very sporty, insecure, and kind of a push-over. Her family is super strict, and when Emily suddenly doesn't know whether she likes guys or girls, everything falls apart. Her parents even try sending her to a "gay correction camp" and even go as far as to banish her to her cousins in Iowa to "fix" her. Overall, Emily sort of annoys me. She doesn't make up her mind, and she lets everyone walk all over her.

Hanna Marin - Hanna is constantly obsessed with popularity and her weight. She's a loser turned most-popular-girl at Rosewood, and would do anything to make sure she doesn't free-fall back to who she used to be. She's very insecure - especially since her dad moved away to find a brand new family, including a stick thin, beautiful, Ali-like new daughter.

The book mentions another girl - one that is presumed to have been murdered. Ali. Ali knew all their secrets, and she once was the most popular girl ever - everyone wanted to be or be with Ali. She kept quite a few secrets herself, and even though she's supposedly dead, she's definitely not forgotten.

Anyway, so Ali went missing. Then, three years later, Aria moves back to Rosewood, and suddenly all four girls are getting texts, emails, and notes from a mysterious anonymous person called "A." A knows all their secrets, and knows everything they do, spies/stalks them, and even uses them as pawns in her/his chess game to ruin all four of them for good.

At first, they think "A" is Alison, but then her body is found in the hole in her old backyard.

The main plots of the novel are figuring out who "A" is, and who killed Ali. However, the novel has romance, suspense, drama, mystery...It's like everything in one.

In the first book, we learn quite a few of these girls' secrets - and we see them go above and beyond to ensure their secrets stay hidden. They aren't good girls - they get up to some particularly nasty stuff.

At the end of each book, there is a letter from "A." These are super fun to read. "A" is clever, funny, and deliciously diabolical.



The second book, Flawless, has Hanna Marin on the cover.

The second book has all the mystery and drama of the first one. As we start it, Aria's mom hates her, Emily's parents shun her, Hanna is losing her place at the top, and Spencer is just plain confused.

In the second book we learn more about The Jenna Thing something that had happened before Ali went missing. We also get a closer look at Toby Cavanaugh, Jenna Cavanaugh's brother. Toby always knew what happened the night of The Jenna Thing, but Ali had scared him into secrecy by threatening to tell everyone his secret. And it's one Toby definitely didn't want to get out.

Slowly, Aria's life turns upside down. Mike hates her, soon, too, because he finds out what she knew. She ends up having to move in the next book out of her own home to please her mom - who still can't look at her.

Hanna is trying to secure her relationship with Sean by having sex with him - but Sean doesn't seem interested in her. In fact, he's more interested in Aria.Hanna basically throws herself at him, and then he dumps her. She proceeds to get wasted and crash his dad's car.Hanna already had trouble with the law - starting from when the footage of her stealing was turned into the police, and she doesn't know how her mom can get her out of this one...

Spencer is getting more and more confused. "A" is also hinting at who Ali's killer is.

Emily gets closer and closer to Toby - and Aria, Hanna, and Spencer are starting to get convinced that Toby was the one who killed Ali AND that he's "A." Emily ends up in a car alone with him, and she figures it out as well. Unfortunately, they were all wrong, and their mistake cost Toby his life...



The third book, Perfect, has Aria Montgomery on the cover.

At the beginning of each book - we get glimpses of what the girls' lives were like when Ali was still around. In this glimpse, we get the sense that Ali was hiding something.

Aria has to move out of her house, Hanna is losing Mona because her old friends keep showing up, Spencer realizes she has memories that she completely forgot out of trauma - and they come back, and "A" outs Emily's big secret.

Emily's parent's actually send her to Tree Tops - a camp where they "correct" people who are "like that." Once Emily realizes the program doesn't work, she goes after Maya, the girl she'd fallen for. Her mom finds her, and then Emily is going to get shipped off to Iowa.

Spencer is getting swamped with school, and A tempts her to steal one of Melissa's econ essays and turning it in as her own. Spencer figures it won't change anything - but that changes when her teacher nominates her for a Golden Orchid, an esteemed award. A then holds it over Spencer's head, threatening to tell if Spencer says anything.

Mona, Hanna's best friend, suddenly drops Hanna when she thinks that Hanna is dropping her. A then tricks Hanna into going to Mona's birthday party - the one she was uninvited to, and Mona humiliates her. On her way home, Hanna gets a text from A...except the number isn't blocked this time. And it's a number she knows.

The puzzle pieces start to fit together, and we learn that one of these girls might've been responsible for what happened to Ali.



The fourth book, Unbelievable, has Emily Fields on the cover.

Emily is shipped off to Iowa to her super-Puritan-strict cousins to get her "fixed." But Iowa isn't so innocent. And besides, look on the bright side! A couldn't possibly get to her here, right? Wrong.

Spencer's a fraud - but her parents don't seem to care, as long as she keeps pretending the essay is hers. Melissa starts acting strangely, especially where the night Ali was murdered is concerned...

In the last book, Hanna got hit by a car after she figured out who A was - completely losing her memory of that night. Awh, damn. Now how will we figure everything out?! But Mona starts getting notes, and getting closer to Spencer. She conveniently forgets to tell Hanna about what really happened at her party...But memories seem to always come back here in Rosewood, and you'll never believe what happens at the end of this book.

Aria lost her boyfriend, and the man of her dreams. She is forced to live with her dad and his mistress, Meredith. And we find something out about Jenna and Ali - they might have been friends?

This book's ending is so delicious and shocking - I almost want to tell you all about it. But I won't. ;P




Wicked has Spencer Hastings on the cover.

Mona is dead. A should be gone. Everything should be fine, right? Wrong!

Finally, someone is in jail for Ali's murder. But what if he didn't do it? What if he's innocent? In Rosewood, you just never know.

Emily's family has finally accepted her for who she is - but now she isn't so sure about Maya.

Since Spencer spilled the beans about the stolen essay her family hates her.

Hanna's suffering, obviously. And now she has to live with her dad AND his perfect new daughter Kate. Who can she trust?

So Aria's father is getting married to Meredith and her mom asks her to move back in. She meets Xavier - an artist that she immediately likes. It turns out Xavier is her mother's new boyfriend - and he's totally creepy.

Emily meets Isaac, and she is surprised to feel those fluttery I-like-you-a-lot feelings for him. But his mom is a nut and he won't believe her.

Hanna will do anything to stay at the top - even blurt out Kate's secret. But when she does, her dad just hates her more...

Spencer's grandmother dies, and she expects to get some sort of inheritance. But she isn't in the will. Slowly, she digs up her family secrets, and discovers she might not be a Hastings after all...

This is a bit of a spoiler, but I'm including it because well, if everything was happy and A was gone, would this series continue? Of course not! Even after the end of the last book, there's a new A, and up to her old tricks.



Killer has Hanna Marin on the cover.

Killer is the most recent addition to the series, and my favorite. We figure out more about Alison's old past, surprising friends, and why her brother, Jason, and Officer Wilden, are acting so strange lately.

One thing that bothers me in the book is that there's a text that completely gives away who the new A is, and yet no one notices.

Anyway, this one just makes me very anxious for the next book.

Oh, and in Killer...someone comes back. You'll never guess who.

The thing I love about the series is that it's written really well, and the characters are so...real. I mean, a few of them might annoy me, but I always sort of cringe when something terrible happens to them. It makes me feel, and it also makes me glad my life isn't that bad.

I think these books are fabulous. And I think you guys should give them a try.

-Mari.

7 comments:

  1. I didn't read past the 1st review for a chance of reading spoilers, but I am so excited to start this series! :)

    -Briana

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  2. actually, if you read on, all the spoilers are in white so you can't read them - if you wanted to, you'd have to highlight them. I didn't include any major spoilers in black text because I didn't want to ruin the books for anyone. But I'm sure you'll love the series just the same. (:

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  3. omg omg omfg!!!!! i luv these books SO F-ING MUCH!!! plz plz PLEASE post more reviews! these books r so good! 2 bad i only read 1 so far1!!! btw, in pretty little liars, i hate spencer's family. they make such a case out of wren doing what he did with her. i mean, ya she should've said no, but he asked her. she didn't ask him.

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  4. Very... Nicee... Blog.. I really appreciate it... Thanks..:-)

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  5. I love love love love love these books! I'm on book 7 now, and my friends and I are making a play based on the books. I'm Hanna! :)

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  6. IM OBSESSED WITH PRETTY LITTLE LIARS !! MY LIFE CONSISTS ON KNOWING WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! ITS PART OF MY LIFESTYLE AND MY MINDSET NOW. I CAN NOT GET RID OF THE MYSTERY AND THE FEELING OF NOT KNOWING WHATS COMING UP!

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  7. This is really cool! Is it ok though if I read book 2 then book 4? Because my town public libiary only has those ones (small town=small libiary :() an I already checked them out and now I REALLY want to read Book 4. But will I miss any REALLY important details that are mentioned in book 4? I already couldnt read book 1. I also have seen those episodes in the show. Please answer quickly!! Thank you so much!

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