Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wicked: A Pretty Little Liars novel by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars could have ended with the fourth book Unbelievable, but that would be too easy. Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer return in this fifth book, trying to start over and learning that their problems have only just begun. Maybe this book is a little bit more of the same, but it's still an intriguing novel that has me waiting for the next novel.

Wicked begins with Ali's killer in jail, A dead (I'm not going to give away their identities for those readers who have not caught up) and the girls trying to restart their lives. Emily is even more sexually confused when she finds herself attracted to a boy. Hanna's soon to be step-sister Kate is working to becoming her BFF. Aria's mother is trying to date again and Aria finds herself attracted to this new man. And lastly, Spencer's family seems to have disinherited her after what happened with the Golden Orchid. As the girls try to sort out their lives, Ali's killer is released into house arrest due to his/her dying mother and the minute that person steps out, A reappears. Could they be one in the same? Will the four girls ever be able to live their dramatic lives in peace? How can one person honestly know everyone's secrets? The questions remain and more pop up as the pretty little liars continue to deal with their inner demons, coming in and out of friendships, all the while learning more and more about who they truly are.

The book starts out a little rocky. The first page threw me off with the repeated mention of high end merchandise brands. That, however, faded as the novel progressed. Just like the other four novels, it started with a flashback to a scenario when Ali was alive. This memory reappeared throughout the novel. After that, is still dragged because we needed to set up where all of the characters were now that their mysteries have been solved. Once each story picked up, the story really started to get interesting, especially when A reappeared. Come the end, just like all the others, the characters' lives are in complete disarray and what we all thought isn't so. Once again you're sucked into the story wondering what will happen to Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily. I really love the fact that the author gets the reader invested in every character.

While this novel at times feels like the same concept as all the others - Oh no, who's A? Why won't this person just leave me alone? - it still turned out to be an enjoyable novel. So much of it rides on the intriguing lives of these characters. A aside, I want to know where these characters are going and that bond between character and reader really keeps these novels alive. I look forward to number six and encourage teens to pick up this series. It is important, though, to read them in order. I don't think there's enough backtracking to pick up any novel and start. Plus, it's all worth the ride.

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