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Pretty Little Liars | Sara Shepard | Reviewed by Erin

I love a good mystery tale and having recently ‘Netflix marathoned’ every episode of the TV adaptation to date, I was keen to pick up the first in Sara Shepard’s famous Pretty Little Liars series which currently consists of no less than sixteen novels!

Last year I read four of the books from another of Shepard’s popular YA series; The Lying Game. Having found the writing style very easy to fall into and becoming swept up in the mystery I was looking forward to another quick read that would keep me guessing.

Pretty Little Liars follows teens Aria, Spencer, Emily and Hanna who’s friend Alison mysteriously went missing three years ago. When the now ex-best friends each start to receive threatening messages from the anonymous ‘A’ who seems to know all of their darkest secrets they are brought back together and start to suspect that Alison may be behind them.

Book one introduces the characters and how their lives are intertwined by Ali’s disappearance, although having seen the TV series I felt like I knew the ‘Liars’ already despite the changes from the novel. The main characters described all differ visually from the actors cast in the show and I struggled to picture them how Shepard originally had, particularly since I was reading the TV tie-in edition with the actors on the cover! Mystery-wise I really love the premise of this series and found this quick read pretty entertaining.

Overall I did enjoy both the drama and mystery of the story and although I tried to put the TV show aside whilst reading I found it very difficult to detach the novel from the adaptation. Perhaps if I had picked up the book first, with the story being completely new to me, I would have liked it more. Having said that I do plan to find time to read at least the next few in the series, as like many TV adaptations this short novel makes up just the pilot episode so there's so much more of the story to come. I'm hoping to see the characters develop as I felt they were much less likable than their TV counterparts and am also intrigued to see how the overall plot differs from the direction the TV series has taken.

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