Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four perfect-looking girls aren’t nearly as perfect as they seem. Aria can’t resist her forbidden ex. Hanna is on the verge of losing her BFF. Emily is freaking out over a simple kiss. And Spencer can’t keep her hands off her sister’s leftovers. On top of it all, there’s one person who knows them better than they know themselves—a person called “A,” who torments the foursome with their own secrets. Unless the girls do as A says, their dirty laundry will finally see the light of day.
The novel is as good as its title, and it’s hands down the best chapter of the series so far.
Perfect is the third installment in the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. Published on August 21, 2007 by HarperTeen, it’s a unique blend of genres, coupling the classic coming-of-age motif with mystery, thriller and suspense, allowing young adult readers to expand their tastes. The blend builds a story about four estranged friends in their junior year of high school pulled together by eerie events that threaten their lives.
This series grows more mesmerizing with each novel. Sara Shepard is talented in creating suspense and keeping the story intriguing. The subject matter allows the reader to be totally engrossed as it follows the girls being stalked by someone who claims to be their dead friend dangling their darkest secrets before them.
As the girls try to survive, their scandalous secrets hang on the precipice unless they do what A says. It’s a game of Simon Says with disastrous consequences. A does not bluff and, in this book, readers finally see what she’s capable of, inspiring them to root for the foursome as they struggle with their identities and choices.
The reader will gasp often at the unexpected turn of events. Foreshadowing is used subtly to heighten suspense, and the reactions between characters are presented realistically. Readers are sympathetic to the characters and fear for them, hoping that they will survive whatever A throws at them.
It’s because the characters are able to inspire such empathy from the readers that makes them so captivating. Though the realm in which they live is superficial and, as the titles suggest, the characters themselves seem superficial, the narrative that Shepard provides showcases the girls’ depth—not just their pretty faces. They each highlight what’s wrong in the neighborhood, thus highlighting the negative aspects of society.
It is a brilliant novel with amazing detail and characterization. The suspense is killer and will make the reader forget the world outside of the novel. ★★★★☆ (A+)