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Celebrating the Life

Pretty Little Liars

[Longhorn Review] Pretty Little Liars

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: chick lit, Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepard — Posted on May 4, 2011, 3:41 pm

By: Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars is a series of young adult novel written by an American
writer, Sara Shepard. After receiving an undergraduate degree at New York University
and an MFA at Brooklyn College, she published Pretty Little Liars series as her
first publication in 2006.

The novel has its background set in suburb of
Philadelphia. The novel develops around lives of five teenage girls bonded together
in an exclusive clique led by one of the girls, Ali D. Ali is the queen bee who
manipulates the other girls who feel inferior to Ali. The group falls apart
following Ali’s mysterious disappearance after the girls’ sleepover in the sixth
grade. The novel takes place three years after Ali’s disappearance and her dead body
is found. The girls start to get mysterious text messages from an anonymous person
with an initial A. She sends text messages threatening to reveal the girls’ darkest
secrets.

Hanna used to be a fat girl, but after Ali had gone, she lost weight and
recreated herself as a diva at Rosewood. She has a shoplifting habit and a fear of
losing newly gained popularity. Spencer is the smart one who excels in school,
sports, and everything else. Her sister Melisa is the only one she could never
overcome. Her family turns their back on her after she gets caught kissing her
sister’s boyfriend. Aria moves to Iceland and comes back after three years have
passed. The Rosewood considers her as a weirdo. She tries to keep her dad’s secret
of having an affair with his former student. Emily is a swimmer who had secret
feelings for Alison and after Alison is gone, she begins to have the same feelings
for a new girl named Maya. She struggles with her feelings and how the society will
view her.

Overall, the book is excellent for the way it is written. It is divided
into several small chapters. Each chapter covers a story of one of the four girls.
When a novel has so many main characters, it often gets confusing to follow and keep
track of the story and match characters to the story. However, Shepard does a good
job of keeping them in order by dedicating each chapter to one girl’s story. It
makes you want to keep reading to find out what is happening in the other girls’
life while one girl is going through one issue. Its target audience being teenage
girls, the language is easy to read. The author uses slangs and contractions yet it
is completely acceptable because that is part of teenagers’ vocabulary. Shepard
throws in popular culture so target readers can relate to the characters more
easily.

As far as the content of the book, I was slightly disappointed. The novel
pictures the girls engaged in inappropriate behaviors as teenagers, such as stealing
boyfriend’s dad’s car and wrecking it, shoplifting, desperately trying to have sex,
and finding a mom having sex with a police officer to drop charges. Just as how the
public criticizes TV and film for being gruesome, violent, and sexual and how they
promote such behaviors to especially young viewers, this novel is having the same
dilemma. The novel focuses on each girl’s problems that are very likely to occur in
every normal girl’s life in reality, such as breaking up with boyfriend, dealing
with parents’ divorce, being popular at school, trying to lose weight and stay
skinny. However, Shepard goes too far in her effort to create a tie between her
characters and teenage girls in reality. I advise the reader to be aware.

Reviewer: Yoomi Kim

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