The Pretty Little Liars series, written by Sara Shepard, consists of sixteen books: Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect, Unbelievable, Wicked, Killer, Heartless, Wanted, Twisted, Ruthless, Stunning, Burned, Crushed, Deadly, Toxic, and Vicious. The series as a whole is listed as a New York Times best seller and they have been adapted by ABC Family as an original series, becoming a national television hit. The story has taken over countless living rooms and computer screens.
Pretty Little Liars unravels the story of the malicious “A” who is after Hanna Marin, Spencer Hastings, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields—the protagonists of the novels. After the mysterious disappearance of their best friend Alison DiLaurentis, better known as Ali, the girls are taunted by someone only known as “A.” This person taunts the girls by revealing secrets only Ali knew in order to get them to do what he or she wants. The identity of “A” is a mystery that the girls must solve before it destroys them.
The girls were all best friends and liked to do everything together. At the end of their seventh grade year, they had a sleepover where Ali ends up missing. Her disappearance became the talk of their town (Rosewood), especially since Ali was the “queen bee” of the group and the most popular girl at school. She was considered beautiful with her luscious blonde hair, deep blue eyes, porcelain skin, and heart-shaped face. All of the guys wanted to date her and the girls wanted to be her. Ali was seen as the perfect child by her parents and she always got what she wanted. Hanna, Spencer, Aria, and Emily felt as if a dream came true the day Ali chose them to be her new best friends. They worshipped the ground Ali walked on and she knew that all too well. Ali had a way to get everyone around her to do as she said. The girls had all revealed secrets to Ali that were unknown to anyone else. She held those secrets over their heads and promised her secrecy, which she ultimately took to the grave.
Throughout the series, we learn about the lives of the girls before, through, and after Ali’s friendship. We indulge in the hardships they must endure as young women trying to face life as it comes. They want to get on with their lives after years of trying to learn what really happened to Ali the day she disappeared. The police determine that Ali was murdered but her murderer has not been found. The four girls face near death experiences, family problems, heartbreaks, and accomplishments while trying to solve the mystery of Ali’s killer, as well as the mysterious identity of “A.”
Pretty Little Liars employs various captivating writing techniques like vivid imagery, a variety of detail, and flashbacks to connect with previous books. These prove to be important techniques, especially considering this is a sixteen book series. Each chapter focuses on one of the four main characters and gives precise detail to get a feel of who each of them really are. This allows for the reader to have a more intimate relationship with the protagonists by motivating our imagination to visualize the characters and scenes.
These books will have you at the edge of your seat wanting to read more because of the various twists in the plot. Do not let the sixteen stories discourage you from indulging in such a great series. They are a fast read, which is a plus for those with busy schedules. The books have a lot more detail than the television show, so read these first for more insight.
The series is targeted to teens, yet I feel it is a good read for anyone, regardless of age. I witnessed the six and seventh grade students I work with reading the books and it delighted me to see them comparing what they read to the show. You’ll be captivated by the mystery of “A” unfolding and once you pick the first book up, you will not want the series to end.
Sara Shepard graduated from New York University and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College. She has written multiple books, sixteen of which belong to the Pretty Little Liars series. The series was inspired by her upbringing in Philadelphia’s Main Line, where she currently lives today.