This Review contains spoilers.
“I’m still here, bitches. And I know everything. – A”
Series: Pretty Little Liars
Published: 2010, by Atom Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery.
Contains: Strong Language, Murder/Death, Racism, Mentions of Eating Disorders and Self-Injury.
‘Pretty Little Liars’ follows a former group of teens three years after their friend, Alison, went missing. After a series of events they begin to get messages from an unknown source, ‘A’, who seems to know everything of their past, most of which only Alison should know.
After the television show’s finale, there’s been an ‘A’ shaped hole in my heart, leading me to pick this up and start on the books instead. Although, there’s a few things that I believe the show handled better and seemed to work more, the book itself was surprisingly enjoyable. However, one of the main things that hindered my reading slightly was due to how attached and recognisable the TV show’s actresses had become for me, making Spencer’s sudden blonde hair and Hanna’s brunette challenging. However, it didn’t take long to move on from and understand the character’s actions a lot more with the further detail. For those familiar with the television series, book 1 covers a lot of ground from episodes 1-3 including; Spencer and Wren’s kiss, Emily and Maya’s kiss, Noel Kahn’s party, and Ali’s funeral. However, ‘The Jenna Thing’ is not yet explained.
The character’s themselves have a lot more depth to them, and the books concentrate on their flaws in much more detail than the show. The chapters revolving around Hanna’s eating disorder and desperation to feel included within High School is something that hit home for me, as they included flashbacks to times when her parents would comment on the amount of food she’d eat, and the impact of Alison’s tormenting. However, surprisingly I found chapters from Emily’s side of the story the most interesting, as her struggling to accept her sexuality until the end of the first in the series lures me to find the next instalment and read more about her forming relationships with both Ben and Maya, the latter hopefully being more positive than the other. In the show, I found Emily’s character fairly bland.
The writing itself is very easy to read, meaning it doesn’t take long to finish the book and fully understand all the characters, regardless of how fast paced the narrative is. However, the only criticism I have is the amount of detail throughout, most of it being unnecessary to the plot. Sara Shepard constantly name-drops various brands, which although might be a technique due to the piece being about high school girls with stereotypical interests in fashion and technology, I didn’t care for what brand of trainers the guy beside them at a party was wearing. Some things might be necessary or importance later in the series, however, I doubt every single object is.