Thursday, December 1, 2011

Need Some Holiday De-Stress Reading? Pretty Little Liars Novels Wicked, Killer, and Heartless Are Up to the Task

PLL author, Sara Shepard
Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series is like the whipped cream on top of a steaming mug of hot cocoa: light, unnecessary, but delicious all the same. I can read books from this series in a day or two, usually sandwiched between heavier books or during times when I'm super-busy and need a distraction. I don't usually feel as though each separate entry in the series deserves a review all to itself; if you have read them, then you are well-aware that they are serial stories, much like a soap opera. One sort of bleeds into the next, and so on.

I read book five, Wicked, in the summer and number six, Killer, back in October. Last month I read Shepard's seventh PLL book, Heartless, in less than 24 hours. My guy had surgery, and I had several days spent in waiting rooms and then caring for him afterwards. Shepard's books are welcome distractions at times like those. The PLL world pulls you in and makes you forget about real life for a little while. Then you get so involved in their particular brand of crazy that you can't pull yourself away until you've read every last page.

Wicked starts, as each book does, exactly where the last book left off. In this case, Shepard has her work cut out for her. In the fourth book she wrapped up several of the mysteries that had been dangling for the first few books in the series. As a result, a whole new set of problems is introduced. (This is the point you might want to stop reading if you're unfamiliar with the series. SPOILERS ahead.)

"A," the long-time tormenter of Aria, Emily, Hannah, and Spencer, is dead. Or is she...? In Wicked, Shepard introduces a new "A," one with a vendetta against the girls that seems just as strong as Mona's. Basically, the girls continue living their fabulously wealthy teenage lives, full of new love interests and even new friends, in Hannah's case. At the end of the novel, the girls discover a body in the woods, which rockets them back into the media spotlight.

Book six, Killer, is titled after Emily's nickname from middle school -- so-called because of her inclination to jump to Ali's defense back then, like a loyal pet. The killer -- Ali's -- is the focus of this novel, as the girls begin to doubt their certainty that Ian murdered Ali. Other possibilities pop up from their past, including Ali's somewhat creepy (but extraordinarily good-looking) brother Jason. They also suspect policeman Darren Wilder after he seems less than enthusiastic about listening to their stories. When the woods are aflame at the novel's end, all of the girls believe they see a girl running away who looks disturbing like their dead friend.

Shepard turns everyone against the infamous foursome in the seventh novel, Heartless. Each girl spirals downward as the media slays them and even their friends and family turn away from them. The Ali-sighting seems a bit too much for everyone, and as a result the girls find themselves alone. Well, all alone -- except for "A." She -- or he -- is back and more in control than ever. "A" sends each girl on a private mission, with disastrous results.

If you haven't yet read any of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars books, December is the perfect month to give them a try. Who has time for heavy reading when the holidays are coming up and everyone is stressed to the max? Trust me when I say that they'll capture your attention for a while and distract you from that ever-growing list of gifts to buy and cookies to bake.

Need to refresh your memory on the first four books before you dive into five, six, and seven? Read about Pretty Little Liars (#1) and Flawless (#2) here, Perfect (#3) here, and Unbelievable (#4) here. And if you enjoy the series, you're in luck. Shepard has written ten books so far, with an eleventh one set to release in summer 2012. The tenth book in the series, Ruthless, comes out this Tuesday.


  1. Loved this series! I read them this summer. Can't wait for Ruthless; I didn't realize it would be out sooo soon :)

  2. I now have to read #8 & 9 really, really fast, so that I can read Ruthless asap!



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