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.

Rating: 2/5

9 comments:

  1. this makes me sad, i love this series but I think it was definitely the fact that you had seen the series before... cause like you said the plot is basically the same, but the background story is different. I suggest you read the at least the next 3 books before you make your mind up completely, they do pick up a little.

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    1. Thanks Kelsey! Sorry to make you sad. I promise I'll give at least one more book in the series a try :)

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  2. I enjoyed parts of these books but I highly recommend you that you stop after book 4, because they get really repetitive after that!

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    1. Wowza. OK. Do you ever find out who A is?! That's legit all I want to know at this point haha.

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  3. I don't know if I'll ever read these books, mostly because I really don't like the tv show. Most characters are absolutely unlikeable and sometimes they can be so stupid I start shouting at the tv (like the moment where they met A in that greenhouse or something and they all had flashlights and no one thought to point that flashlight in A's face, but just stood there staring).

    One thing I know about the books is that Book!A is different from TV!A so you'll be surprised there. :)

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    1. If you don't like the show then you definitely won't like the books. The characters are even worse.

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  4. I would honest-to-god read this just because there's a character called Hanna. NOBODY has my name, fictional or otherwise! :D

    I'm not a fan of the TV show either and I was only vaguely away it was a book series. Silly and vain main characters irritate me beyond belief, so I think I'll avoid this one!

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    1. Haha I do that with my name too.

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  5. Good cover, nice review and blog as well.

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