Secrets, Secrets Hurt Someone | Cyn’s Book Review of Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1)


By: Cynthia Ayala

Pretty Little Liars is already a hit show on the ABC Family network.  This is the novel that started it out.  What made me pick it up?  I honestly have no clue, but I loved it.  Read on to figure out what made this novel so captivating.

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Author: Sara Shepard

Published: October 1, 2006

Publisher: HarperCollins

Series: Pretty Little Liars

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Drama, Suspense

Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series.

Surprising devious!  The moment readers pick up this novel they will be enraptured by the prologue that has breathed life into a bestselling series.  Setting up the premise, Pretty Little Liars, published October I, 2006 by Harper Collins, opens up with five girls in 7th grade beginning their summer at an annual sleep over.  Then, when the girls get into a bit of an argument, the head girl of this crew, one Alison DiLaurentis, walks off into the night and is never seen again.  Of course the four remaining girls are grief stricken, but secretly each girl is relieved because little Ali knew a deep dark secret about each of them.  Now three years later, after the girls have grown apart, they find themselves receiving cryptic messages from someone named “A” revealing their old, and new dark secrets.

Throughout the novel, the reader shifts between characters as each chapter starts.  Picking up three years after little Ali goes missing, the shift in POV allows the reader to grow to know the insides of the character, what defines then and what makes them real.  Readers are also able to see what deep dark secret each of these characters is hiding as well as the secret that keeps them all tied together, an event that altered ones girls life and kept them all scared for their futures. 

It’s frighteningly thrilling to watch this mystery unravel as these girls are cyber stalked by a mysterious person, calling themselves “A” who knows all their moves, who knows everything that they are doing and threatening their very lives, their popularity, their identity by exposing these dark secrets these characters have.  The mystery behind it, behind who this person is offers the reader a chance to make their own speculations and wonder just who this new threat is.  That thrill and the way the author, Sara Shepard, weaves it all together with these very real and fragile characters, to create amazing and wonderful tension throughout the novel.  With each twist and each turbulent moment the characters experience, the readers curiosity grows and thrill behind the mystery hook the reader is mercilessly.

A suspenseful mystery novel for the young adult that will instantly hook any reader with their own little secret.  It’s no surprise that this novel spawned the hit ABC Family television show with the same title. ★★★★☆ (A)

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