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).