An ‘Unbelievable’ Novel | Cyn’s Book Review ‘Unbelievable’ (Pretty Little Liars, #4)

By: Cynthia Ayala

Unbelievable brings the first story arc of the Pretty Little Liars series to an unbelievable turn with amazing suspense and thrill to reveal just who is stalking these four girls.  A solid premise that has evolved to an extraordinary series. Read on for the full review.


Author: Sara Shepard

Published: May 27, 2008

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Pretty Little Liars

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Coming-of-Age

Behind Rosewood’s grand façades, nothing is as it seems. It was here, back in seventh grade, that five best friends shared everything. For Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily, it was a dream come true . . . until Alison, the most beautiful of them all, suddenly vanished.  Now someone named A has turned their charmed lives into a living nightmare. Emily has been shipped off to her hyper-conservative cousins in Iowa. Aria is stuck living with her dad and his home-wrecker girlfriend. And Spencer fears she had something to do with Alison’s murder. But Hanna’s fate is far worse than all of that: she’s clinging to life in the hospital, because she knew too much. As they unravel Rosewood’s mysteries and secrets, will it end the horror . . . or is this just the beginning?

Sara Shepard has delivered an impeccable ending to the first story arc in the Pretty Little Liars series.  Unbelievable, the fourth book in the series by Sara Shepard, was published on May 27 in 2008 by HarperTeen, explores and twists the coming-of-age genre, by combining it with mystery and thriller for the young adult readers.  This novel reveals just who “A” was and why she did what she did, leaving the state of the girls in a mess.

An overall captivating book that follow these seemingly perfect girls around just as their world begins to fall apart.  Everything that could go wrong for these girls does go wrong as their lives are turned upside and inside out after the events of Perfect, where Hanna was hit by car due to the fact that she figured out who “A” was.  Now that the knowledge has sent these girls from just being scared that someone was watching them, to fearing for their very lives as they struggle to figure out who “A” is and what her plans are for these four girls.

This was an incredible novel that really did a stand up job of revealing the events of the novel and presenting them to the reader.  There is a lot going on in this novel, but Shepard makes it easy for the readers to see and understand just what exactly is going on with the girls.  And throughout the series thus far, the mystery of how “A” does what she does, and the mystery of why, it’s all revealed clearly for these girls and the reader.  The plot line and the devious aspects of the novel are delivered in smooth ways, showing just what the girls are going through and getting into the fear each of them feels and why.

The driving point of this novel is the suspense and shock after the events of the last book.  Before, “A” was thought to have purely superficial ways of hurting the girls, but now, the girls have seen just to what lengths she’s willing to go through, sparking more fear through girls and really attaching the reader to each of them as their lives fall apart around them.  The reader is pushed to the edge of their seat as they follow the girls around, letting the fear the character feel wash over them and really connect the reader to the character. 

Shepard has a talent not only with creating suspense, but also at giving each character their own unique voice and substance that allows the character to stand out, an important aspect since the novel switches character point of views with each chapter.  In the past four books, the past has been revealed and what makes these characters different and captivating, is what ground the book because these are not purely superficial girls, despite the fact that they live in the superficial world of Rosewood.  And that is the reason readers will not be able to put down the book.

Well, that and the revelation at the end.  ★★★★☆ (A)

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