Sunday, 8 April 2012
Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
I've been putting off writing this review for so long because, goddamn, I hated this book. I don't have many nice things to say about it. And you know what they say...
I was really surprised at just how intensely I disliked Pretty Little Liars. I'm completely obsessed with the TV show, and I was expecting the book to have a similar appeal: four pretty friends are tormented by the mysterious 'A', who somehow knows all their secrets and manipulates events to create juicy twists at every turn. But while the basic plot is the same, the book just fell totally flat for me.
Perhaps I would've liked it better if I hadn't seen the TV show first and had nothing to compare it to. But somehow I don't think so. There were so many problems. The pacing felt unbearably slow, and while a lot of stuff happened, it actually felt like not much did. The threats from 'A' were few and way too far between, and the four main characters barely spoke to each other for the majority of the book, creating a sense of disconnection that extended to me as a reader.
This was reinforced by the fact that the girls are all so freaking unlikable. In the show, they're nice girls who sometimes do questionable things, but you root for them because, hey, they're pretty cool. But in the book I just wanted to punch them all in the face. And I'm not generally a violent person.
The access to each of their inner selves through the third person narration does them zero favours. They all come across as superficial, selfish and downright mean. Hanna and Aria were particularly infuriating. If you played a drinking game and took a sip for every time they admired their own looks, you'd get drunk pretty damn fast. This was not only annoying, it was also extremely unrealistic - especially in Hanna's case, since she's supposedly recovering from an eating disorder.
I also didn't like any of the girls' parents. They were shallow, nasty and/or bigotted. There pretty much wasn't a likable character in the whole book. This might have been OK had the plot been more interesting. It's only a short book, but it took me forever to get through because I just wasn't interested.
I'll give the next book a go, as I've been told it gets better. And I still really, really want to know who A is. But I don't know that I can sit through 10 more books of this.