Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard

Reviewed by Emma, age 15, Ohio

Have you ever had a dirty little secret? One so bad that it could change your entire life and reputation? These girls do. Meet Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields, the four main characters in Pretty Little Liars, the series' first book by Sara Shepard. Aria likes her teacher, Emily might like chicks, Hanna did some nasty things for image, and Spencer wants her sister's boyfriend. They used to be best friends, along with Alison DiLaurentis. But that all changed the night Alison disappeared. She, and only she, knew their secrets. But she has been gone for 3 years, and wouldn't be coming back, right? That's what the girls think. Until an anonymous person code-named "A" contacts them...

"A" knows everything. Every dirty little secret these girls have, including "The Jenna Thing", when something so big happened, they could all be severely, incredibly punished. Who is "A", they wonder, and how does (s)he know everything? With every text, email, and message, "A" gets closer to telling. And the girls are breaking. The girls have their assumptions. They even assume Alison. But then something happens that affects them all. And "A" will be there, watching their every move.

This book will keep readers turning pages. There are surprising twists at every turn, and I could not wait to get the following books in the series. I liked how the author used teenage problems, mixed with secrets and danger. It raised the issues of friendship and love and modern life, and twisted them with a sense of shock. I couldn't believe some of the issues in the book. It made me want to keep reading and reading. There are definitely cliffhangers in this book, and the future ones are even more shocking, twisted, and surprising.

I suggest not starting in the middle of the series. The first book gives rise to issues in the second, and so on. You will be missing some major events that will clear up some things and add on to others. Sara Shepard really understands the reader's desire for mystery, and exaggerates the issues and problems the girls have with it. I give the book 5 stars, although readers should really be 14 and up, considering there are some things in the books that younger girls might be influenced by, even though it is strictly fiction. (For example, the series contains drinking, smoking, bulimia, sexual references, and other teen issues.)

I enjoyed the first book, and I am going to read the entire series. You will not be disappointed in this read. It's fresh and hott, nothing like anything I've ever read.

Rating: 5 stars (of a possible 5).

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

Sweet Designs Magazine
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