Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In the exclusive town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, where the sweetest smiles hide the darkest secrets, four pretty little liars—Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna—have been very bad girls…
Spencer stole her sister’s boyfriend. Aria is brokenhearted over her English teacher. Emily likes her new friend Maya as more than just a friend. Hanna’s obsession with looking flawless is literally making her sick. But the most horrible secret of all is something so scandalous it could destroy their perfect little lives, and someone named “A” is threatening to do just that. A’s got the dirt to bury them all alive, and with every crumpled note, wicked IM, and vindictive text message A sends, the girls get a little closer to losing it all. This installment will push readers to the edge of their seats.
Flawless, the second novel in the Pretty Little Liars series, picks up where the last book left off. After attending the funeral service for their lost friend Ali, the four estranged friends discover that A is both stalking them and claiming to be their old and dead friend. As they try to ignore the haunting messages, their lives begin to fall apart due to A’s tests. The messages start breeding fear and paranoia, the consequences of which prove deadly.
Shepard introduces mystery and suspense to the young adult realm and creates an unsuspecting and thrilling coming-of-age novel. Published on March 27, 2007 by HarperTeen, the novel picks up where the last ended, while keeping the tension high. Shepard sucks the readers into the mindsets of her characters, allowing the audience sympathy. A is sly and manipulative, and inflicts so much psychological damage on the girls that they’re quickly torn apart, making them more susceptible to the power os suggestion. The psychological warfare present is what makes this chapter so captivating.
Shepard also shifts between characters, giving them each their own background without disrupting the pacing of the overall story. There’s nothing jarring about this novel apart from the plot twists, which have the tendency to distract the reader from the overarching plot of A’s stalking.
The character development and narrative are flawless because readers really get to understand the characters. Each scene progresses the novel in such unexpected ways, making it enthralling.
By the end, readers are left with their jaws dropped and a strong urge to run to their nearest library or bookstore for the next novel in the series. ★★★★☆ (A)