Author: Sara Shepard
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
Style and Grammar: 4/5
Overall Rating: 88% Entertaining!