Author: Sara Shepard
Published: April 1st, 2007 (HarperCollins Publishers) (First published March 26th, 2006)
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Murder
Rating: Three Stars
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 much more than a friend. And 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.
At first they thought A was Alison, their friend who vanished three years ago . . . but then Alison turned up dead. So could A be Melissa, Spencer’s ultracompetitive sister? Or Maya, who wants Emily all to herself? What about Toby, the mysterious guy who left town right after Alison went missing?
One thing’s for certain: 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.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I like how the series matches each of it’s covers with a doll and a different background color.
First Line: You know that boy who lives a few doors down from you who’s just the creepiest person alive?
I love books that talk directly to me, it gives me a movie feel. I love flashbacks.
In the second book in the Pretty Little Liars series, we meet the girls again after they have received messages from the anonymous texter known as A. As a watcher of the television series, it was really interesting to see how certain plots changed or remained the same in Flawless. For the majority of the part, I loved Flawless a bit more than the tv series which had changed things I think could have been better on the show.
One of the few things that bothered me in Flawless were the secrets that the girls were keeping from each other and how they wouldn’t just come clean about A. I just wanted to shake them and tell them that they should tell each other what was going on. I liked and disliked how the girls really had their own lives from each other. In Flawless, we barely even see them interact with each other after the first meeting. I loved this because it showed the girls differing personalities and life situations. I thought it was interesting to see how they did apart from each other.
Each of the girls had their own problems going in their lives which I thought was really good and realistically done. Aria struggles with the effects of her father’s cheating and her secret relationship with her english teacher, Ezra Fitz. Spencer deals with the repercussions of having a crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Hanna is now single, has been caught stealing and has a DUI. If that’s not enough, she tries to obtain a better relationship with her father. The girls also have one giant problem that all four of them are dealing with that none of them can come clean about.
This is where A comes into the picture. In the midst of the girl’s “regular” lives, they’re all receiving messages from A and dealing with their best friend’s death. A blackmails each of the girls to tell their secrets or offers to do it themselves. The girls wonder who A is, why they are doing this and how they’ll make A stop.
I just want to say, “wow”. I’m amazed these girls can sleep tonight, I’m amazed they’ll actually go places by themselves, and I’m amazed they don’t just hide away in their house 24/7. If I had someone like A watching my every move, ready to spill all my secrets, who may have played a part in my best friend’s death and harassed me, I’m not sure I would ever go anywhere. I don’t think I would even sleep for fear A would come into my house and kill me.
Okay, maybe I’m getting a little extreme. . . Wait, no I’m not. I would totally lock myself in my house, get the best security system I can buy and cry. So the fact that these girls continue to live their lives with A around, I am very impressed and give them kudos.
It was interesting to see the girls interact with Allison in flashbacks. One can definitely see the hold Allison had on the girls and with A on their trail, maybe she still does. Rosewood police questions the girls about what they know about the night Allison disappeared. Allison is not a nice person, I can’t say I’m upset she’s dead. She treated the girls badly, she was mean to Mona, she was some little princess who could talk anyone out of anything and it just drives me insane. I can see why the girls would want to be her friend, she’s pretty, popular and makes them feel special, I can definitely see why, but still…
Flawless is definitely easy reading but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable for me. I was wrapped up into each of the girl’s life feeling sorry about their best friend’s death, even if she wasn’t the greatest girl in the world (an understatement) and for their own problems they dealt with. Spencer by far is my favorite with Hanna coming in second followed by Aria, then Emily. I loved Spencer’s intelligence, crumbling relationship with her parents and her newfound relationship with Wren. My heart completely broke for Spencer as she dealt with her parents ostracizing her. Of course, she has Wren, her sister’s boyfriend to make things a little better. This is one aspect I wish the show had expanded on. On one hand, I felt what Spencer was doing was really wrong, on the other hand, Spencer and Wren definitely had chemistry that I enjoyed reading.
I loved reading about Hanna’s plots in Flawless. My favorite plot of hers was seeing her relationship with her father who’s engaged. I felt bad for Hanna because since her father left years ago, she never really felt “right” and it was sad to see. Hanna is best friends with Mona, a girl Allison and the girls used to make fun on. I liked Hanna’s relationship with Mona and wish there had been a bit more of it.
Aria’s forbidden relationship with Ezra Fitz was definitely one the “iffy” parts of Flawless for me. I couldn’t get over the age difference, the fact that Ezra’s her teacher or the fact that Aria’s his student. I’m pretty strict by the book when it comes to Teacher/Student relationships with the very small exception of Paige/Mr. O from Degrassi: The Next Generation. Other than that…eh. I wasn’t really feeling it. Still though, I loved seeing Aria deal with her parents marriage falling apart, her brother’s struggle with coming to terms of it and A’s role in all of it. While I was extremely sad for her, I found it one of the most relatable parts of Flawless.
Emily’s sexuality plot is one I loved reading about in Flawless. I liked seeing her deal with the peer pressure to act like she’s straight and coming to terms with being gay. Her feelings and actions were realistic. As a star swimmer, I could really understand why she didn’t want to be “out” as gay. People may make fun of her and unlike other characters, she’s never had to deal with that before.
Besides the main girls, there are other characters such as Mona, Jenna and Toby. Mona was an interesting character and it was nice to see her and Hanna’s friendship. Jenna and Toby are in Flawless a fair bit of it. Toby really surprised me in Flawless with his behavior towards the girls and Jenna. I felt sorry for Jenna given her circumstances.
Despite the mystery of Flawless, it’s a very light, easy read. While the writing was simple, I felt engaged throughout the entire book. I also loved the titles each chapter had since I don’t really see that in any novels. I like Flawless a bit more than it’s predecessor as I learn more about the characters. The mystery is still a highlight despite knowing who A is already, due to spoilers. I am still excited to see how everything plays out exactly. I rate Flawless three out of five stars, mostly because I hated the girls not interacting with one another, the secrets, and the simple writing style.
Wow. Even though I knew this was going to happen I’m just so surprised! I can’t wait to read the next one.
Fans of mystery