Pretty Little Liars
by Sara Shepard
I am shamefully addicted to the TV show adaption of Pretty Little Liars. It definitely has it's annoying qualities and elements of absolute ridiculousness, but it's entertaining. Before the TV show, I had no desire to read the books even though I'd heard of them. Hell, even after watching the show I wasn't particularly interested in reading the books. But, I own the first four, so figured why not. *shrugs*Summary: Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back?
...The TV show is better. Normally, I find the book better but ones like this are the exception.
Things that I can tolerate in TV shows (like crappy "best friends" and obsessions with things like money, clothes, popularity and a whole bunch of material nonsense) irritate me so much more in books. I don't know if it's because we're not stuck in the characters head in shows or if it's just that those things seem less mind numbingly shallow when they're shown visually instead of written, but for whatever reason, it bugs me in books. And while this book isn't the worst I've read for those things, it is definitely an element in them that I didn't like much.
There also wasn't much going on in the book (or, at least, it felt that way). The entire book is basically the first episode of the TV show. I didn't mind knowing what was going to happen, but it did leave me with a, "That's it?" kind of feeling when I was done. Perhaps if I'd read the book first, the plot would've been more gripping than it turned out to be, who knows.
The characters were a lot more likeable to me in the show than they were in the book and relationships in the show worked better too. Like the Aria/Ezra storyline - it plays out in a similar fashion to the show, but book Ezra seemed so much more immature and kind of creepy and the fact that Aria seemed more her age in the book didn't help with that at all. And that's just one example, I had issues with the other relationships too (another: Hanna pressuring her boyfriend into sex even though he wants to wait until he's married...if the roles were reversed, that subject would've been treated a lot more seriously).
I know this is supposed to be a review of the book, not a comparison to the show, but I don't have much to say about the book - it was bland most of the time, with annoying moments, there were only one or two scenes in the whole book that actually had me hooked. (Plus, lets not forget my general aversion to books with multiple narrators - this has four, so that probably lowered my enjoyment of the book.)
It felt like a book that was written to be a TV show (which it might've been, actually - I'm not sure how the whole Alloy Entertainment thing works but pretty much every book series of theirs has been made into a TV show and with the ones I've seen, it's been the same: mediocre books, decent/good TV shows and I think they pay authors to write ideas, it's not always just authors writing their own books from scratch).
You might enjoy the books more than I did, so don't be put off by this review, I have seen other bloggers who loved the books. For me, the fact that I like the show was the only thing that stopped this book from being a Did Not Finish. It wasn't terrible but I'd still only rate it about 2.5 stars out of 5 and I think it would've been lower had I not seen the show first.
I think I'll read the other three books in the series that I own and then stop there, unless it takes a turn for the amazing (doubtful). Plus, those book series that just won't freaking die bug me so much - more than 4 books in a series is really not necessary, with few exceptions.
This review has been a bit rambling, sorry. I'll shut up now.