A Gripping Series of Events | Review of ‘Burned’ (PLL, #12)


By: Cynthia Ayala

Burned has propelled the series to new heights changing the scenery and bringing new mystery to the series as the dangers become more life threatening to the cast of characters that have grown so much in the series.

Nothing says calming like a spring break cruise vacation right? Well, not for these four little liars. While they are trying, and failing, to forget their problems. Someone is watching them and while these girls find love in all the right and wrong places, darker secrets rise from Hanna’s past that threaten the girls and their lives. A has forced these girls out to sea and when darkness falls, so will they.

The final novel in the third arc of the Pretty Little Liars series written by Sara Shepard. Published on December 4, 2014 by HarperTeen, the novel combines the young adult, mystery, thriller and comic of age genres for one heck of a wild ride.

Burned really takes the characters on a trip and pushes them to the brink of survival. It’s bad enough they have this unknown stalker who proved in Stunning that they are capable of killing, but they know the stalker is close by, and on a ship headed for the Caribbean, well, these girls have to keep their wits about them. And that’s the part of the book that is the best. These four girls are trying to move past everything that has happened to them, they are trying to recapture their freedom. That’s a funny concept due to the fact that these girls have all the freedom they could ever have, except for the part where “A” is pulling their strings and deciding their actions for them.

Sara Shepard has such an incredible technique when she puts all the pieces of the puzzle there. By now, readers of the series know that there are pieces here and there that are going to unravel their lives. However, even when the reader gets to the end, when the pieces start to slam together, “bam!” a light is shine and the reader is sucked in all over again.

Burned so far has the most momentum in comparison to the whole series. Considering the plot and the events, it’s obvious that each novel takes place within a two week, maybe three week span, but with this novel, its Spring Break, they are on a cruise and the days go by quickly. Nothing about this novel is slow, even though it splits the days between multiple characters. The pace is fast and keeps the readers glued to the pages.

Additionally, the change in scenery from a town to a continued moving boat was a great choice. There is no escape here, and the fear the characters fear resonates off the pages, pushing the reader to bite at their own nails. The change in scenery offers up a motif to their guilt built imprisonment that keeps them from being free and living their lives.

While on the surface the novel appears to be just another juvenile novel, it’s not. Between the lines there is clear diction about the bonds of friendship, fear, guilt and paranoia, all of which have the capabilities of twisting perception and actions offering up great advantages to build the tension in the novel and allow the characters to grow. By far the best novel in the series. ★★★☆☆ (B+)

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