Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard - by Little Willow

Once upon a time, there were five little girls. These little girls were very different, but they still became friends. Best friends forever . . . or so they thought. One night in middle school, after a slumber party, one little girl - Alison, the most manipulative and controlling of the group - disappeared, and the four girls who were left behind - Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer - became Pretty Little Liars.

By the time they reach high school, the girls are no longer close. Everyone still knows everyone else's business, of course, that's how their suburb operates, but they don't socialize. Each girl excels at something, be it art, athletics, or fashion. Each girl looks to be leading a happy, healthy life, but each girl is also hiding something from her friends and family - something she thinks no one else knows.

Then messages start appearing on cell phones or computer screens, short notes threatening to spill their precious little secrets. All of the messages are signed by "A." But who is it? Is it one of them, or is Alison back? How does whoever it is know all that's going on behind closed doors?

These books are addictive. Really addictive. Other than the first book, every book in the series has had a one-word title, but they could also be titled "I Know What You Did Last Summer, Gossip Girl." Seriously. Lying, cheating, murder, shoplifting, eating disorders, bad choices, deadly consequences - these books have it all.

Each of the girls has a distinct look and personality (and it should be noted the depictions on the covers of the books fit them perfectly) but they are not cookie-cutter rich girls. Author Sara Shepard has taken what could be yet another story about superficial girls and twisted it, making it into a dark mystery saturated with guilty pleasures that will intrigue older teens and adult readers.

The books should be read in order:
Pretty Little Liars

These books inspired the television show Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family.

Read the interview with Sara Shepard here.

(this review was originally posted at

In real life, Little Willow is an actress, singer, dancer, and writer, but online, she is known primarily as a freelance journalist and webdesigner. For book reviews, booklists, author interviews, and more, please visit her book blog, Bildungsroman:
If you are interested in hiring her to design your website, please email littlewillow(at)