I read ‘Pretty Little Liars’ in order to prepare myself for ‘The Perfectionists’ and get a little taste for Sara Shepard’s writing. For me, this was another hit, a book I enjoyed more than PLL…but that’s probably because I loved a good murder mystery. Bring out the body, girls, let’s see what you’ve got.
In one sentence: did the girls murder Nolan Hotchkiss, or not? Answer: ???(!)?
Sara Shepard knows how to keep her readers on their toes. When I thought the girls were going to be in serious trouble, new evidence came to light. Just when they were safe, something came up to keep them sweating in the limelight.
I completely and honestly didn’t see the plot twist coming. I was as baffled as the girls and, sometimes, the police. There was always just enough evidence to incriminate, but not enough to charge. I absolutely ripped through this book, I’m surprised the pages didn’t burn at the ages with the heat of my page turning.
Unfortunately for me, it was the character arcs that let me down. I found too many similarities between the girls from ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and the trouble that went down in that book. Teacher-student romance, kissing someone you’re not supposed to be kissing, kissing someone when you’re dating someone else…it felt a little cliche.
How all the characters were linked to Nolan, and all the motives they had for plotting to kill him were well written and explained, but I felt I was expecting some of the character reveals and plot points.
I can say happily that ’twas good. Shepard seems to be an expert in this genre, I just wish that the characters had been a little less stock and a little more separate from what I’d read before. If you haven’t read ‘PLL’, you won’t have the same problem. Ava, Julie, Parker, Caitlin and Mackenzie will be good characters in their own right. There’s a lot of variation between them individually, but not in comparison to the liars.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series after the reveal at the end. This mystery just keeps getting bigger and bigger. If you’re new to the teen murder mystery genre, I’d highly recommend it, or if you’re a veteran of these kind of books, the mystery will still make you sweat, and your heart race.