Easy to read
Kept with show almost perfectly
Name-brand name dropping
While the girls of Rosewood, on the show, don’t look exactly like the ones Sara Shepard had created in her novel, it’s a detail I can actually let slide. However, I think I like the girls in the book better. They seem fuller, more realized as characters and have way more personality. So far, Aria and Ali are the only ones that I would say were cast pretty accurately. Brunettes are blonds, blonds are brunettes but everything else is basically the same.
Spencer is your All-American girl who studies her ass off, plays field hockey, and whose relationship with her family isn’t exactly picture perfect; Hanna is the used-to-be-chubby-girl turned popular and gorgeous, she’s mean to the world, self-conscious beyond belief, but deep down still that old chubby girl; Aria is the quirky one who knits all the time, falls for the “wrong” guy, and finally was able to find herself in Iceland; Emily is the quiet swimmer with more inner turmoil than appears on the surface; and of course there’s Ali–the one who brought them all together, made them feel special, and kept all their deepest secrets. Or did she?
Each chapter directly correlates to an episode of the show, keeping in tact all the main events that make the story so addictive. But what’s different is the amount of detail you get about each of the girls. The relationship between Spencer and her sister, Melissa, is a larger part of what makes Spencer who she is. Hanna has more than ‘Daddy issues’ and struggles a lot more than she does in the show. Emily feels out of place in her own life and once she begins to make crucial decisions for her future she constantly questions herself then tries to convince herself otherwise. Aria still feels a little like an outcast after returning from her time abroad, but at least has more confidence than before, but she’s way more quirky, nervous, and anxious seeming than the show lets on.
Much is the same, but toward the end of the book, chapters started just ending. I would be reading along, the scene would get intense in some way and when I turned the page, BAM! new chapter. Then I’d flip back, press the pages together and try to separate them, sure that I had missed one by accident only to find that that’s precisely how it ended and we were moving on to the next thing. Not only was that a little unsatisfying, but it was jolting to just end at such a crucial moment. Yet, I guess that’s exactly what the show does at the end of every episode.
Because the books are set in a prep school, the fancy clothes and cars make a little more sense in the books–versus the public school version of the show, which is probably more accessible to more viewers. But I really hope that Shepard got some sort of commission or some of the residuals from all the companies/brands she’s dropping all over the place. Sometimes it helps paint the picture, but every miniskirt or pair of jeans doesn’t need a label attached to it for readers to get the idea of the setting. Eventually it becomes annoying and I just skip over it, unless it seems important for the point being made.
As texts from A start rolling in all the girls question where they may be coming from. But until Ali’s body is discovered and a memorial service is held, the four don’t turn to one another for help. Even in the moment when they all receive the same message, it’s uncertain whether they’ll come together or continue to go their separate ways. A lot has changed in the 3 years Ali has been gone, more than they probably realize.