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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Review #3: “Pretty Little Liars 1-5” by Sara Shepard

Title: The Pretty Little Liars Series (Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect, Unbelievable, and Wicked)
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Edition: First HarperTeen Paperback Edition: 2007
Back Cover Summary: 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 all the dirty secrets they’ve kept. And guess what? I’m telling. -A


Disclaimer #1: The Pretty Little Liars Series has 8 books out so far. I have only read the first 5. So, this book review will only cover the first 5 books. I’ll cover the last 3 when I read them.

Originally, I was attracted to these books because of the “Pretty Little Liars” television series ABC Family aired based off of these books. I honestly haven’t enjoyed many shows on ABC Family…ever. And the one show I adored, the hilarious remake of “10 Things I Hate About You,” was cancelled after its first season. (Bad move ABC Family!) Anyway, I was in no mood to watch another show based around teenage sex and pregnancy where some stupid girl gets knocked up, then falls in love with another guy, who is really in love with her little sister, who ends up impregnated only days after her older sister gives birth, but not by the guy who knocked up the first sister or who loved the younger sister, but the mysterious foreign exchange student for Switzerland who’s really a… I’m getting carried away and that sentence is not grammatically correct, but it doesn’t deserved to be fixed. You get the point.

The point is that I was skeptical of the “Pretty Little Liars” television show, but I was willing to give it a go. What I found was clever, funny, and intriguing. So, I continued with the show, watching every single episode, and when it ended (soon to return on January 3rd) I turned to the books to fill the void.

The first book followed the show to a tee and I was quickly getting bored. However, the second book veered off course entirely! Soon, I found that the book and television show were two different entities with only minor similarities and there were things I enjoyed and disliked in both.

High Notes: One of the best things about the book is the number of different perspectives you are able to read. Each chapter focuses on one of the girl’s point of view, allowing you a deeper look into their inner thoughts and schemes. The girls definitely develop differing personalities that are more unique than the ones in the show. There is also so much more detail in the books than there is in the show. (Obviously! Books always go into so much more detail.)

Disclaimer #2: Nearly all the low notes have to do with elements I enjoyed in the show that were not present in the books.

Low Notes: It is rare, especially in the first four books, to read about all four of the girls hanging out together. A lot of time, each girl is on her own, dealing with her own problems by herself. However, in the show, they are always together, working things out with each other. There is more ground for camaraderie and you feel like these girls truly were the best of friends at one point in their lives, and are now finding their way back to each other.

Also, the love affairs in the book are more scandalous and less believable in the books, especially the relationship between Aria and her teacher. In the books, their relationship just feels like two people’s hormones firing at the same time, but in the show, they meet, find common ground, and then begin to fall in love. It feels less wrong in the show because they knew each other before they knew they were student and teacher.

The final thing that really bugged me was all the brand dropping the book does. I mean, Prada this, Chanel that. It gets old after a while.

Nevertheless, I have enjoyed both avenues, especially since the show and books have begun to differ more and more. It’s as though I am getting two different storylines to imagine instead of duplicates.

Disclaimer #3: I know I have mentioned a lot about the television version of “Pretty Little Liars” but my ratings are strictly based on the books.


Character Development: 5/5
Dialogue: 5/5
Prose: 4/5
Believability: 4/5
Style and Grammar: 4/5
Overall Rating: 88% Entertaining!


  1. Hmm...I never would have considered a typical high school drama to be so well-received. And the series relaunches on the day before my birthd'y.

  2. You didn't think it would so well received by me or just in general?

  3. In general. I suppose it's just a bias because I don't particularly like the genre. Mean Girls was a fun movie, though.

  4. Well, it's not your typical high school drama persay. It's more of a murder mystery.

  5. I've actually looked at this a couple of times in the bookstore, might have to check it out now....oh hell, who am I kidding, I've got eight million books here that are waiting for me!

    I'm putting this on my list though so maybe someday....over the rainbow....when I have two dollars to rub together I can check it out!

  6. djpr...It's definately one of thsoe books that you pick up the afternoon is long and you just want something light and easy to read. It's entertaining and follows one massive plot over the first 4 books with a ton of mini plots. It reads fast.

    Matt...Yes, the 4 girls are haunted by the day their bestfriend disappears. They soon find that she was potentially murdered and spend the summer recieving mysterious notes from a friend they know is dead. They then set out to solve her murder while dealing with their own secrets that may have prevented their friend's disappearance from being solved earlier.

  7. I've been looking forward to read this and "Salem Hills." Thank you so much for the review ! :P

  8. No problem. I have never eard of "Salem Hills" but I will have to look it up now.

  9. I was wondering about the book series behind the show. I think I might enjoy the books more, as I think the show itself seems a bit superficial at time when it comes to character development. However, I think the brand dropping as you mention might really bother me in the book.

    Thank you for participating in the Book Lover’s Blog Hopat Frugality Is Free and Story Time Under the Stars.

  10. That's great. It's been fun comparing the show to the books. You definately can get into the characters heads more in the book, getting a deeper look at them, but at times I find the characters themselves to be more superficial in the books, what with the brand dropping, and being more obsorbed in their own dirty little secrets rather then helping each other. You'll definately have to compare for yourself though.

    Let me know what you think when you get into them!


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