Author: Sara Shepard
Genre: YA Mystery
Released: 1 October 2006
Series: Pretty Little Liars #1
Everyone has something to hide-especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily and Hanna.
Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful. But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.
How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.
Despite the TV series having entered its sixth season, I'm a latecomer to the show, having just watched the first four seasons only last month. I was instantly hooked on the show, and decided to give the book series a try, and I love it just as much!
The first book in the series sees Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer living their lives in Rosewood, Pennsylvania, three years after their friend Ali disappeared. Despite having been best friends, Alison's disappearance made them drift apart. Aria and her family moved to Iceland, Emily dedicated herself to her swimming, Hanna went from drab to fab, and Spencer went into hardcore study mode. But as they enter junior year, they are slowly brought back together. Aria returns, and hooks up with an older guy, Ezra, who turns out to be her English teacher! Spencer grows closer to her sister's boyfriend. Emily begins having feelings for the new girl, who just happened to move into Ali's old house. And Hanna returns to her old ways in order to stay beautiful and keep off the weight. But despite all these secrets, someone out there knows about what happened before Ali vanished, and a mysterious 'A' is sending them messages. Could A be Ali?
I absolutely loved this first book, which is roughly the first episode of the show. It's a sign that book is good if you read the majority of it in one afternoon! It was great how each chapter focused on one of the girl at a time, and showed glimpses of life when Ali was around. Just when you think things are going smoothly, one of the girls receives a message from A and we suddenly get a shift as more mystery and drama descends, and we get more backstories.
As a fan of the show, this book was great, despite the fact that the show does diverge slightly from what Sara has written, but that doesn't affect the storyline whatsoever. I have heard that later down the track, the books do start to differ greatly from what the show has produced, so it will be interesting to see what path Sara has taken the characters down, compared to what the show has done.
I really recommend this book to fans of the show, and even those who haven't seen the show yet, as you will definitely want to watch it after you finish reading it! I absolutely love it and have already made a start on book two - I can see myself finishing the first four books in a very short period of time!