As someone who watches the TV series Pretty Little Liars, I was somewhat hopeful for this book. Sure, the actresses are not very good and everything is over-dramatic, but there is something about this show that pulls you in and makes you want to keep watching. The number of people I know who have said this is their guilty pleasure show is ridiculous. But the book itself does not come off nearly as suspenseful as its small screen counterpart.
The show follows Aria, Spencer, Hannah, and Emily, four girls who would be losers at school if not for the fact that Allison, the most popular girl in school, has decided to be friends with them. Allison is the girl that everyone wants to be friends with but she is also the girl who knows all of their secrets. But when Allison disappears, the girls grow apart, only to be brought back together by mysterious text messages by someone named “A.” Because “A” knows all their secrets, just like Allison did and will stop at nothing to torment them with it.
Whereas a single episode of Pretty Little Liars feels jam-packed with excitement, the book felt like it didn’t cover enough ground. Maybe it is just that watching the show I know everyone’s secrets and so nothing is a surprise, but it felt like I was learning very little about each girl. And where the show makes the girls likable despite their secrets, the book makes them feel mostly shallow and dull. Aria is a teen looking for her identity and having an affair with her teacher, Hannah is thin and popular but at the expense of shoplifting and her health, Emily has a boyfriend and a crush on the new girl, and Spencer, ever-competing with her sister, starts sleeping with her older sister’s boyfriend.
I don’t often recommend this, but I would say skip the book version in favor of the TV show. It’s not that is it so terrible, it is just that with so many great young adult books out there, there are others worth reading first.