(A Pretty Little Liars Novel)
In a town where gossip thrives like the ivy that clings to its mansions, where mysteries lie behind manicured hedges and skeletons hide in every walk-in closet, four perfect-looking girls aren't nearly as perfect as they seem.
Three years ago, Spencer, Aria, Emily, Hanna, and their best friend Alison were the girls at Rosewood Day School. They clicked through the halls in their Miu Miu flats, tanned in their matching Pucci bikinis, and laughed behind their freshly manicured fingernails. They were the girls everyone loved but secretly hated—especially Alison.
So when Alison mysteriously vanished one night, Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna's grief was tinged with . . . relief. And when Alison's body was later discovered in her own backyard, the girls were forced to unearth some ugly memories of their old friend, too. Could there be more to Alison's death than anyone realizes?Now someone named A, someone who seems to know everything, is pointing the finger at one of them for Ali's murder. As their secrets get darker and their scandals turn deadly, A is poised to ruin their perfect little lives forever. (from bn.com)
Perfect, the third Pretty Little Liars novel, picks up roughly a month after Toby's suicide at the end of the previous book, Flawless. The cryptic messages from "A" have stopped and the girl's are moving on with their lives.
Aria is trying to find a sense of normalcy by dating Sean, Spencer has thrown herself back into school despite her mom putting her into therapy, Hanna and Mona are back on normal bff terms and Emily has been dating Maya in secret. However "A" isn't done with them and starts outing the girls deep, dark secrets.
I finished this book several days ago but have been sitting on this review because for, the longest time, I wasn't sure how I was going to rate it. From my previous two reviews of the series, it's obvious that I am a huge fan of the Pretty Little Liars novels. That said, this book was...lacking in several ways.
Which is understandable because, in the notes at the end of the novel, Shepard comments that this was the hardest of the original arc (contained in the first four novels) to write due to so many clues and events having to fit together perfectly in it.
And it does show in the book, certain parts of it feel ridiculously rushed. On top of that, I found Aria (a character I have been more or less neutral about) annoying and hypocritical in this book. I ended up rushing through most of her chapters, which unfortunately make up a good percentage of the book.
However, whatever faults the novel has it made up for in the other three girls. Not much happens with Hanna except her friendship with Mona falling apart and a drastic loss of popularity. Despite this, it's a humanizing effect and I ended up having fond feelings for her at the end of the book. Her character development has been a nice surprise.
The story also starts exploring Spencer's blackouts and the recovery of a memory that occurred the night of Alison's murder. The way the memory was slowly revealed, piece by piece, was well done and created a nice twist. And, as always, Emily's storyline remained my favorite as we see her relationship with Maya being outed to the entire school and her family. The fall out of it and Emily's feelings over it is a part of the book that ends up a bit rushed, unfortunately. I would have liked to see a bit more time used on this storyline opposed to Aria's. But then again, I do have a bias when it comes to Emily.
We also learn more about the girl's relationship with Alison prior to her death. Continuing in it's normal fashion, the glamor and rose tinted glasses surrounding it are removed a bit more.
As always the rotating point of view works well. The twist and turns of the novel also get back on track. While not up to par with the first book, the foreshadowing is well down and not as obvious as it was in Flawless. I had a gut feeling about one of the major twists but wasn't positive about it till right before the secret was outed.
I ended up giving this book four stars, although it's on the lower end of the spectrum. Fans of the series will obviously enjoy this book and I still highly recommend it. It's just not the strongest in the series.
I sadly don't have the fourth book in my possession yet, but I really need to get on that.
My Reviews for the Other Books in the Series:
Pretty Little Liars