Pretty Little Liars Series (Books #1 and #2) by Sara Shepard

I’ve had students begging me to read this series for the past few years.  For some reason, I never got around to it.  (Not sure how I feel about 6th graders reading it, but their parents bought them!)  When I saw that ABC Family was making the series into a TV show, I decided to read them this summer.  So far I have read the first two in the series, Pretty Little Liars and Pretty Little Liars #2: Flawless.  I have to admit- they are addicting!  No one would ever accuse them of being high-brow literature, but they are certainly fun.  Like a cross between Desperate Housewives, Mean Girls, Law & Order, The Real Housewives, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, they are pure fluff and brain candy.  Even a little trashy.  But I found myself furiously turning the pages!

In the quiet suburb of Rosewood, Pennsylvania there are 5 best friends.  Ali, the ringleader, brought them all together in middle school.  Inseparable, they rule the school until suddenly Ali disappears.  One minute she is there, the next the police are mking pleas for her return on TV.  Hanna, Spencer, Aria, and Emily are in the midst of it all. Right before 7th grade begins, the girls are thrust into a manhunt.  But now the years have passed, Ali has never been found, and the girls have all drifted apart.

Then, each girl starts receiving IMs, notes, and text messages from someone named “A”. This person knows secrets, things about each girl that no one else knows.  No one except Ali.  Ali, who they have each realized was manipulative and powerful, knew the deepest and darkest secret of every girl. So who could be sending these messages? And why are they threatening to spill the secrets?

Drawn together again, the girls slowly begin to rebuild a very fragile friendship. While the story is fluff and a little over-the-top, I think a lot of teens (and adult women!) will recognize themselves and their own friends in story.  We all grow up and grow apart, while wishing it wasn’t happening.  Shepard’s characters are realistic and the more you read the more you begin to understand why they are the way they are. Each girl looks like she lives the perfect life, when the reality is very different.

Like I said, these are very quick reads.  I flew through the first two books and look forward to finishing the series.  I can see why ABC Family picked this up a series- it makes for great TV.  (Appropriate for teens)

*my own copy used for review

One Response

  1. I’ve read the first of these books and agree that the story line has such a mystery element that it’s hard to put down (what was The Jenna Thing? Who is “A”?) .

    At the same time, I’m reading this only because my 13-year-old daughter is reading the series. I want to be informed about what she’s reading.

    And I have to say that I’m dismayed that she is. This book is full of characters who seem to have no redeeming characteristics — with the exception, maybe, of Emily, the budding lesbian.

    The book is so full of underage drinking, pot smoking, sex, criminal acts, over-the-top shopping and people generally being completely self-centered and nasty that I feel the author and publishers are doing a disservice to teenage girls (and their parents) by writing such trash.

    The book also establishes that the girls were starting to engage in some of this behavior as early as the summer before 8th grade–at about age thirteen.

    Thanks to this series, my daughter informed me yesterday that she wants jewelry from Tiffany’s and a Coach purse for Christmas.

    Of course, all this stuff SELLS, and that’s what the author and publisher care about…right?

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