Read: April 04 – 19, 2017
After hearing my friend talking enthusiastically about the Netflix series Pretty little liars,I decided to give it a try. Now I’m someone who prefers manga over anime and books over movies. After watching two episodes I had enough of the series. It couldn’t keep me watching and my attention was continually drifting away from the screen. Nevertheless, my friend continued talking about how well the storyline is, about this A-person (which was only then revealed during our talks) and I said to her that I would give the books a try.
Now many months later I finally picked up the first book of the series.
“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
– Benjamin Franklin
When Alison disappeared in seventh grade, the group of five friends start to fall apart. Each of them shared a secret with Alison, a secret they don’t want out in the open.
Three years later the story starts again. Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer have grown apart and are all back in Rosewood again. Then when a new family moves in Alison’s old house the girls start getting weird texts, threatening and hinting to expose their secrets. Secrets the girls only had shared with Alison.
Since I’ve already seen the first episode it took me a while to get into the story. Most of the things I read were pretty much the same storyline, with some differences along the way. What I did notice were two things:
- The girls in the book were very superficial and one-dimensional. This wasn’t very noticeable in the series, but now reading their thoughts and not just seeing what happens around them gave me a new insight in their personas. They act so immature and unrealistic sometimes. I mean, with the whole Jenna thing I would think that at least one of them would break down and spoil everything.
- The amount of brands mentioned. The Trek mountain bike, Gucci this , Marlboro cigarettes, TiVo remote, and Tiffany that. It started to get on my nerves and many fashion brands and styles mentioned didn’t give me the slightest idea what the girls looked like, except that the stuff is expensive.
What would have been unsuspected, if I hadn’t seen the tv-series, are the themes that are used. This book may be for young adults/teenagers, but there is a whole spectrum of bad things happening and mentioned like an eating disorder, stealing, adultery, self-mutilation, et cetera. It’s a bit over the top – especially with four main characters – how come none of them is pretty normal and has a pretty normal life? Why are their parents so stiff, strict, racist even if the girl is pretty normal? Why is there so much drama?
Another thing that had me thinking twice is this: if the girls are in seventh grade when the disappearance happened and we are now three years later, that means the girls are 15/16 years old, right? How is that secret with Spencer a normal thing that happened? She was freaking 12 years old when her secret happened! And the whole thing with Aria when she gets back to Rosewood and meets Ezra. I know we Europeans have a reputation to be more sexually active/free or whatever, but how she’s acting for a 15/16-year-old is ridiculous with an older guy at a bar. It’s all pretty much messed up.
It does a very well job with setting up the suspense for figuring out who is sending the text messages and setting up the background and secrets for each girl. If the branding was less, the reactions of the girls a bit more realistic, and perhaps if there was just a little bit less drama overall; I would have enjoyed the first book more.
I will be reading book two, Flawless, because I do want to find out who the anonymous person is and because my friend recommended the series.