In the exclusive Philadelphia suburb of Rosewood, Alison is the Queen Bee of her elite seventh grade hive. BFs Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily vie for her attention, even as each of them hides a hideous secret only Alison knows. So when Alison goes missing after a slumber party, never to be seen again, each girl is heartbroken, but also a little relieved. Now it is three years later, and though the four girls have grown apart, they are each still hiding something. Artsy Aria is carrying on an affair with one of her teachers, fashionista Hanna shoplifts to accessorize her trendy outfits, blue-blood Spencer is sleeping with her older sister’s boyfriend, while straight-A Emily is trying to ignore her attraction to a new female classmate. When the girls begin receiving threatening text messages and emails that from someone known only as "A," they must confront the fact that against all odds, it appears Alison is back. Could Alison still be alive? And if so, why is she so determined to uncover all their dirty little secrets?
I bought this after seeing two episodes of the brilliant TV show, and even though I had TONS of books that I needed to read, I started this one straight away. But I am SO glad I did! It was A-MAZING! The first 1/3 was a bit slow, but the pace picked up in the last 2/3 and there was twists and turns on every page, guaranteed to shock the reader!
I liked that there was one main plot (What happened to Ali? Who is A? Why is 'A' sending them these messages?) and then each of the girls had their own little secrets which made for excellent supporting story lines, and meant that their was never a dull moment!
It's difficult to pick my favourite of the four girls. They were all unique in their own way, and my opinion of each of them kept on changing throughout the book. Lets say..Aria, would be my favourite character, but then she would do something to make me not like her as much, or one of the others would something to make me like them the most. It was really cleverly done by the author.
But if I had to pick a favourite character, it would be either Spencer or Emily. Spencer was awesome : ) I could really relate to her, I'm super-competitive as well! And Emily. Ahhhh, Emily. Always trying to please everyone. She hated conflict and just wanted everyone to get on. A feat that I could never quite accomplish. We're very different!
I didn't like the way the story was told from the alternating third person points of view of the four girls. I found that really annoying, because you would only find out what happened to the girl-from-the-previous-chapter three chapters later! ( Sorry, that was probably a terrible explanation, but it's hard to explain!)
Another thing I find slightly annoying (but this has nothing to do with the book!) was that I already knew the endings to a few of the minor story lines, because I've seen the programme. The TV show and the book are quite different, different things happen at different times and in different ways. Which was kind of annoying, because a good bit of the plot focused on 'The Jenna Thing' which I already knew about! And the major thing that happens at the end of the book I also knew about. But it was still good, because, like I said, there were plenty of great supporting story lines.
One thing I had to mention was the writing. Man, it was GOOD! In a lot of my reviews I comment on the writing saying it's 'beautiful'. I wouldn't call the writing in this book beautiful. It was just...brilliant! The descriptions were perfect, not too short and not too long, and there weren't that many, so the story moved along without needing three pages descriptions about what some one's living rooms look like. Unlike some books, which just ramble on and on and on... Kind of like what I'm doing now... Well anyway, my point here is Shepard is a genius!
I would definitely rate this book 5/5. I've never read anything like it before! It's unusual, gripping and highly entertaining! I would definitely recommend it! I can't wait to read the sequel, Flawless. It's actually a really long series! It already had nine books, and according to Wikipedia Shepard is writing another four! That's...*counts* 13 books! I might just get them from the library, because I can't afford that many books!!!
Age Group: 13+
Official Publication Date: 4 November 2010
Author Website: www.sarashepardbooks.com