Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard - Book Review

I'm a YA fanatic.  I'll never outgrow my love for that larger-than-life romance between a boy and a girl, the first everything, when it feels like your first love will be your only.  I'll never outgrow the angsty wit and sarcasm laden in most of my favorite YA novels, or the seemingly endless wait for the next in a series.  And I'll always enjoy the nice, light reading and quick pace of most in the genre.

But I'm not typically a fan of spoiled-rich-kid dramas.  Vampire Diaries, Blue Bloods, Vampire Kisses, these were all huge MISSES for me.  Not because of the vampires, but because of those annoyingly snobby little girls whose biggest problems include not having every guy drooling over them.  If it wasn't for a friend's suggestion and the fact that it's a popular television series, I probably would have never had any interest in Pretty Little Liars, thinking it would fit right in with that group of superficial YA novels.

Somewhat to my surprise, I was wrong.

Don't get me wrong, the girls in Pretty Little Liars are pretty rich and spoiled.  But this feels more like a drama enhancer than author's fantasies.  Imagine, four girls who seemingly have everything, haunted by this huge secret that could rip their Gucci-Chanel-Prep -School lives into shreds.  They have everything to lose, and when mysterious text messages and emails pop up from someone known only as -A, they realize how real that possibility is.

Now, A.  Who is she?  The only one who knows all four of these girls' juicy secrets went missing three years ago, right before the group of friends drifted apart.  Alison.  Maybe she's not missing anymore.  Maybe she's back.

The most compelling thing about Pretty Little Liars is its juicy scandal.  It's like the really good gossip everyone likes to hear.  But hey, this is America.  Gossip is our real number one pasttime, right?  Especially when it comes to the pretty people, the wealthy, the popular.  Well, Shepard tapped into this almost perfectly.  It's a quick read, chock full of scandal and mysteries, that begs you to turn the pages.  It comes as no surprise whatsoever that this became a hit television series; it practically seems made for it.

Some of the very things that made this book so juicy, however, are the main problems I have with it.  The two "romantic interets" seem like kind of douche-y guys, preying on younger girls.  One would definitely find himself jobless and probably sitting in a jail cell if things got out, and the other...well, I'll keep it spoiler-free, but Jerry Springer would love to have him on his show.  Hanna - the former chubby girl turned sex goddess - seemed fake to me at some parts.  I know all to well what it's like to take comfort in food, but come on.  I don't know anyone, not even my 400+ pound friend, who would suddenly crave candy and pastries in a police station, suspected of theft.  After the fact, maybe.  But not while they're there.

All in all, though, this is a compulsively readable and addictive first novel to a series.  It's not literature, there is nothing profound in this book, but it'  Like satisfying a sweet tooth with your favorite candy bar.  Chock full of empty calories, but damn satisfying all the same.

Pretty Little Liars - 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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