Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Series: Pretty Little Liars, #1

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. -A


"Sure, Alison was Alison. She was the shoulder to cry on, the only one you'd ever want calling up your crush to find out how he felt about you, and the final word on whether your new jeans made your butt look big. But the girls were also afraid of her. 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. And they were. For three years, anyway." -excerpt from Pretty Little Liars

 Alison DiLaurentis, Aria Montgomery, Emily Fields, Spencer Hastings, and Hanna Marin were best friends. They did everything together. They had fun together and they got into trouble together. Alison was always the leader, talking them into doing crazy things that they never would have done otherwise. She's the one who brought them all together. If it wasn't for her, Aria, Emily, Spencer and Hanna would never have been friends. Each of them were very different from the other, and each of them had a secret that only Ali knew. They had many secrets together as well, but the biggest one being what they call The Jenna Thing. They each swore they'd never tell a single soul what happened that night and because of that secret, they would always be best friends. But that was until Ali went missing.

Three years later, Ali still hasn't been found. The four girls that were left behind slowly drifted apart and tried their hardest to forget what happened that fateful night. Aria and her family moved to Iceland for two years. Hanna made a huge transformation from being the chubby, shy, awkward friend into being one of the most popular girls in school, along with Mona Vanderwaal, whom the girls constantly made fun of while Ali was still around. Emily focused on her swimming and kept mostly to herself, and Spencer continued her academic goals and tried to find ways get out from under her sister Melissa's shadow.

Then Aria and her family move back to Rosewood to Aria's dismay, and everything starts turning to chaos. Her perfect family begins to fall apart again after their return, and Aria struggles to fit in. Spencer falls for her sister's boyfriend Wren, and after a certain incident involving him, her family more or less shuns her. Hanna gets a thrill these days from stealing things and after getting caught stealing from Tiffany's and stealing her ex-boyfriend's father's car, driving it drunk and crashing into a tree, the father she hasn't seen in several years suddenly shows up again, sending Hanna into her binge/purge habit that she kicked years ago after getting skinny. Emily struggles with her sexuality when she befriends her new neighbor Maya, who coincidentally moved into Ali's old house and bedroom and seems to return Emily's feelings. Them girls begin receiving creepy texts from someone calling themself "A", mentioning secrets that only Ali knew, things that are happening in the girls lives now, and threatening to tell  it all.

Pretty Little Liars is a fun, suspenseful, quick read that will leave you guessing and wanting more. The characters share secrets, keep secrets, and are constantly finding new ways to be naughty in the rich suburb outside of Philadelphia called Rosewood. I've seen the television show to this series and I really love it so being the book lover that I am, I decided to pick up the books and read them. The first book goes almost word by word, scene by scene to the first episode of the show and I was thrilled when I discovered that the tv show was following so closely to the book. If you're looking for a quick read, full of suspense, I suggest picking up Pretty Little Liars. When you're finished, you'll be dying for the next installment, hoping you'll learn who A is, what this person wants from the girls, why Ali went missing, and what really happened the night she disappeared.

I rate this book: