Pros:Some amusing aspects, fun keeping track of who's doing what
Cons:Unconvincing elements, losing patience with characters
The Bottom Line: The trials and tribulations of four wealthy and increasingly dense high school girls
*May contain spoilers if you have not read the earlier books in the series, but no spoilers for the book reviewed here*
What Has Gone Before
This is the seventh of twelve proposed novels in the Pretty Little Liars series following the trials and tribulations of four juniors at the exclusive Rosewood Day private school in a fictional suburb 20 miles outside of Philadelphia. Emily Fields, Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin and Spencer Hastings became popular during sixth grade when brought together by the ultra-popular and ultra-manipulative Alison DiLaurentis who disappeared at the end of seventh grade. Her body was found at the beginning of present school year, buried under a concrete slab in her old backyard after the new owners began construction on a tennis court.
Just before the discovery, the four girls began receiving messages signed “A,” taunting them and threatening them. Mona Vanderwaal was “A” for a while, but she was killed accidentally. Nevertheless, messages from “A” are still coming. And now, the girls have nearly been killed in a fire in the woods behind Spencer’s remodeled barn. There was someone else, there, too, someone who looked just like Ali…
The book opens just after a fire in the woods behind Spencer’s remodeled barn. Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily were nearly killed. They heard a match being struck. There was a strange girl, who looked just like the deceased Ali, only older. No one can find her now. Why won’t anyone believe them? After the fiasco with the disappearing body of Ian Thomas, they’ve been dubbed “the pretty little liars” by the media, and unfortunately, the term has stuck.
They’re still getting messages from “A,” and for some reason, they think that “A” might have their best interest at heart. Aria wants to contact the spirit of Ali and joins a group where they conduct a séance. The medium tells her that “Ali killed Ali.”
Emily wanders even farther afield, following a clue from “A” to Amish county, where she finds, much to her chagrin, that Amish people don’t always speak English. She pretends to be Amish, though the chances of getting away with such a ruse in the real world wouldn’t last three minutes, let alone the three days it does in the book. This I found very poorly conceived and executed. (“What? Haven’t you ever milked a cow before?”)
Hanna’s father decides to have her put away in a “home” where she can get help for her eating disorder. As one might suspect, nothing of the sort happens.
In the meantime, Spencer has been doing some snooping on her father’s hard drive, only to discover an old infidelity on his part that has some wide ranging effects on her. But does it mean all that she thinks it means?
When they are finally forced together they match clues and realize they haven’t got the foggiest idea what’s going on. This is mildly amusing. Whatever conclusion they might have stumbled to is swept away when Officer Darren Wilden tells them they’ve arrested someone for Ali’s murder as well as for another murder that’s newly taken place.
This is probably my least favorite book so far. While each of the girls is being made a fool of by “A” and by herself in her own special way, like puppets on strings, they make the completely wrong decision each and every time. Not only have they learned nothing, they race headlong to their own humiliation. In the meantime, a peripheral character, one who has done no harm, is brutally murdered. Could they have done anything to prevent it? Unlikely. Plus, each is saddled with distant or self-absorbed parents who can or will do nothing to help them. It may be hard to blame the girls at times for being so clueless, but there is also a growing desire to give them a good swift kick in their collective rear end.
I will recommend this for people who have been following the series and want to keep up with the adventures, but otherwise, no.
Pretty Little Liars
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