Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard.

Pretty_Little_Liars_by_volleyballkitten

 

 Title: Pretty Little Liars.

 Author: Sara Shepard: website, blog, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

 Series: Pretty Little Liars #1.

 Publisher: Harper Teen in the US.

 Date of publication: October 6th, 2009 in the US.

 Source: Bought.

 Format: E-book.

 Date read: August 30th, 2012.

 Rating: 3.5/5 stars (will be shown as 4 stars on review websites.) – favorite.

 Get the e-book/book from: Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository or Kobo.

Everyone has something to hide-especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily and Hanna.
Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful. But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.
How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling. -A

From: Goodreads.

The cover:

I like this cover. It suits the story better than the new cover featuring the TV Show’s actresses as the characters because they simply don’t fit the descriptions of the girls in the story. Also, I think the best covers are the Australian ones, their covers for the series are simply beautiful *_* (except they don’t have a cover for this particular book –the first one in the series-!).

 

The storyline:

Okay. I had the most fortunate and unfortunate luck to start watching the TV Show based on this series before starting the books. It was both good and bad. Good because I knew what to expect from the book and was thrilled to find more details and twists that are not available in the show. Bad because I was spoiled most of the book, I kind of knew what was going to happen. And also because the characters in the book aren’t like the ones in the TV show.

However, I’m reviewing the book objectively as if I haven’t watched the show. So this is my honest review of the book separately.

Summary:

For those of you who have never watched the show or heard of it (like me less than 2 weeks ago…), here’s a short spoiler free summary for you :).

This book is about five best friends Alison, Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer. They’ve been best friends for sometime now and it’s the end of seventh grade. They’re now having a sleepover at the night to celebrate the beginning of summer vacation, however, Ali disappears that night.

The book starts by explaining what happened the day Ali disappears, but then picks up three years later with the girls getting ready for Junior year. They’re no longer talking to each other and are living separate lives although they are still in the same small-town of Rosewood. It gives us a glimpse to what happened to each girl separately and how they’ve been dealing with Ali’s disappearance. And throughout the story, we get to know more about each character’s relationship with Ali and what secrets she had on them. How they’ve been living and what’s up with them now.

Then suddenly, Spencer, Emily, Hanna and Aria start receiving anonymous text messages about past secrets that only Ali knew about and new ones that no one knows about.

At the end of the book, the girls try to bond back together.

What I liked:

- The storyline itself is very unique and compelling.

- It is full of mystery, sadness, twists, scary moments, thriller, loss and heartbreak.

- The girls’ friendship is very unique. They had each other and all of a sudden it was taken away from them. We all could relate to that.

- I loved the fact that each chapter is told about a different characters. It is mostly in this order: Emily, Spencer, Hanna then Aria. But it changes a bit at the end.

- There’s no specific narrator. The author tells you the story as she sees it.

- It deals with real high school problems.

- “A”! I love “A” as crazy as it sounds!! <3.

- It was a fast read.

- The ending :’).

What I disliked:

- I didn’t like the writing style that much. It was somewhat fast paced and everything was happening so quickly. But it might be just me because I’m not used to it.

- There is a lot of swearing words. I don’t think such sophisticated, young and somewhat wealthy and well raised girls should swear this much if not at all!

- Not to mention, the girls smoke! It’s just not right… I’m not against women smoking, but I think 16year olds shouldn’t. (Again, a personal opinion.).

 

The characters:

Alison DiLaurentis (a.k.a Ali): She’s somewhat the main character in this book. A very malicious, deadly and unfriendly girl who becomes friends with Aria, Spencer, Emily and Hanna. Only she’s mostly toying with them, taken their secrets and then threating to expose them if they don’t do what she says. She disappears in the summer of their seventh grade and doesn’t show up. The girls thought they’re safe because their secrets are gone. Guess what? They were wrong.

Aria Montgomery: The hippy friend. She’s been been always made fun of by Ali for her weird style of dressing. After Ali’s disappearance, she stayed a year and a half in Iceland and came back later for her junior year of High School. She meets a very attractive guy and they fall in love instantly. Later on, turns out that this guy is her AP English teacher, Mr. Ezra Fitz. Throughout the book, Aria goes into a lot of trouble keeping an old secret and a new one, but unfortunately, A gets to her and start warning her. Aria is very nice, friendly and cute in her own way. She’s one of my favorite characters in this book :).

Emily Fields (a.k.a Em or Emy): The jock girl. A very nice, shy and good swimmer. She’s the shiest in the group and tries to keep to herself. She tries so hard to hide the fact that she’s gay from everyone thinking that they’ll judge her and hate her. However, when she meets Maya, the new girl living in Ali’s house, she starts to have very serious second thoughts about herself and her feelings. “A” obviously doesn’t miss a chance to torture her and ruin her life.

Hanna Marin (a.k.a Han): Han has serious problems and very bad morals (part of why I don’t like her this much in these books so far – reading Flawless-). She used to be treated very badly by Alison, who used to call her Hefty Hanna, because she was fat and had grease everywhere in her body. When Ali disappeared, Hanna continued her commitment to try harder and be the next It Girl, which she achieved, using every thing she could do or get. Now the most popular girl in Rosewood Day, she faces other issues, including “A”. She’s now dating her longtime crush Sean Ackard who happens to be a member of the Virginity Club. Her father also comes back in her life and things are complicated again. “A”, as always, being the “nice” person, intervenes only to make things even worse.

Spencer Hastings (a.k.a Spence): The smartest in the group. Her family is very strict, serious and always the first in everything. She has a very nice and unique personality (she’s my 2nd favorite character in this book :).) with loopholes as usual. She’s always the one who stood up to Ali and was the last one who saw her before she went missing. Now, three years later, she’s as determined and serious as ever, wanting to beat her older sister’s, Melissa’s, records. But, there’s one thing she always wants despite her having everything; her sister’s boyfriends. And so, she meets her sister’s soon to be fiancé Wren who’s British, an intern to become a doctor, funny and cute. And the problems begin and get more complicated as “A” threatens to share her secrets, including those only her and Ali knew about.

Other characters worth mentioning: Mona, Hanna’s best friend since Ali’s disappearance. She used to be harassed by Ali and her group (although Aria, Em, Han and Spence never said anything to help or stop Ali) for being a nerd and she tried so hard to be Ali’s friend, but never succeeded, until Ali wen missing. Mike, Aria’s younger brother. Darren Wilden, a cop who almost arrests Hanna. Ashley, Hanna’s mother. Byron and Ella, Aria’s parents.

 

Favorite quotes:

You wonder how someone so…well, so much like you went missing. You thought only girls who entered beauty pageants ended up on the sides of milk cartons.       

Well, think again. --- How it All Started.

Aria headed into the classroom and fell into the first desk she saw. She put her head down and took heaving, emotional breaths.       

“Hell is other people,” she chanted. It was her favorite quote by the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and a perfect mantra for Rosewood. --- Chapter 5: Starts and Fitz.

Life’s so much fun when you know everything.       

Just how do I know so much? You’re probably dying to know, aren’t you? Well, relax. All in due time.       

Believe me, I’d love to tell you. But what’s the fun in that?       

I’ll be watching. —A --- What Happens Next…

Conclusion:

Ouf. Finally!

Well, I do favorite this book. It has been good, the series still has some potential, it could’ve been so much better.

What do I have to say? Okay. If you’ve never watched the TV show, start this one first. You’ll have an idea about the TV show and also you’ll enjoy it much more since you won’t be spoiled ;).

If you’ve watched/you’re watching the show, don’t have high expectations! You might be really disappointed… First, you’ll be spoiled, second, you’ll feel like that there are unnecessarily details and most importantly, you’ll probably dislike the characters (the best example for the last one is Hanna, in the TV show she’s nice and thoughtful despite her being the It Girl, in the book, she’s a complete bitch).

 

From an objective point of view (regardless of my opinion on the TV Show): Give this book a chance. I didn’t dislike it. I just think it could’ve been better :). If you’re a fan of: mystery, thriller, murder, suspense, twists and at the same time a quick read then pick it up. You won’t regret it :), because whether you like it or not, you’ll have an opinion and an experience of your own :).

 

Now time for me to finish Flawless ^_^.

3.5favoriteRanda