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Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars Series #1)

By: Sara Shepard

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Paperback : 304 pages
Publisher : HarperCollins Publishers (August 2007)
ISBN - 10 : 006088732X
ISBN - 13 : 9780060887322
Product Dimensions : 5.44 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.71 (d)
Subjects : Teen Fiction

About the author :

Sara Shepard graduated from NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. She currently lives in Tucson, Arizona. Sara's Pretty Little Liars novels were inspired by her upbringing in Philadelphia's Main Line.


Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors spencer, aria, emily, and hanna.

Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful.

But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.

How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.

Pretty Little Liars #1


By Sara Shepard

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Sara Shepard
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060887303

Chapter One

How it all started

Imagine it's a couple of years ago, the summer between seventh and eighth grade. You're tan from lying out next to your rock-lined pool, you've got on your new Juicy sweats (remember when everybody wore those?), and your mind's on your crush, the boy who goes to that other prep school whose name we won't mention and who folds jeans at Abercrombie in the mall. You're eating your Cocoa Krispies just how you like 'em--doused in skim milk--and you see this girl's face on the side of the milk carton. missing. She's cute--probably cuter than you--and has a feisty look in her eyes. You think, Hmm, maybe she likes soggy Cocoa Krispies too. And you bet she'd think Abercrombie boy was a hottie as well. You wonder how someone so . . . well, so much like you went missing. You thought only girls who entered beauty pageants ended up on the sides of milk cartons. Well, think again.

Aria Montgomery burrowed her face in her best friend Alison DiLaurentis's lawn. "Delicious," she murmured.

"Are you smelling the grass?" Emily Fields called from behind her, pushing the door of her mom's Volvo wagon closed with her long, freckly arm.

"It smells good." Aria brushed away her pink-striped hair and breathed in the warm early-evening air. "Like summer."

Emily waved 'bye to her mom and pulled up the blah jeansthat were hanging on her skinny hips. Emily had been a competitive swimmer since Tadpole League, and even though she looked great in a Speedo, she never wore anything tight or remotely cute like the rest of the girls in her seventh-grade class. That was because Emily's parents insisted that one built character from the inside out. (Although Emily was pretty certain that being forced to hide her Irish Girls Do it Better baby tee at the back of her underwear drawer wasn't exactly character enhancing.)

"You guys!" Alison pirouetted through the front yard. Her hair was bunched up in a messy ponytail, and she was still wearing her rolled-up field hockey kilt from the team's end-of-the-year party that afternoon. Alison was the only seventh grader to make the JV team and got rides home with the older Rosewood Day School girls, who blasted Jay-Z from their Cherokees and sprayed Alison with perfume before dropping her off so that she wouldn't smell like the cigarettes they'd all been smoking.

"What am I missing?" called Spencer Hastings, sliding through a gap in Ali's hedges to join the others. Spencer lived next door. She flipped her long, sleek dark-blond ponytail over her shoulder and took a swig from her purple Nalgene bottle. Spencer hadn't made the JV cut with Ali in the fall, and had to play on the seventh-grade team. She'd been on a year-long field hockey binge to perfect her game, and the girls knew she'd been practicing dribbling in the backyard before they arrived. Spencer hated when anyone was better at anything than she was. Especially Alison.

"Wait for me!"

They turned to see Hanna Marin climbing out of her mom's Mercedes. She stumbled over her tote bag and waved her chubby arms wildly. Ever since Hanna's parents had gotten a divorce last year, she'd been steadily putting on weight and outgrowing her old clothes. Even though Ali rolled her eyes, the rest of the girls pretended not to notice. That's just what best friends do.

Alison, Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna bonded last year when their parents volunteered them to work Saturday afternoons at Rosewood Day School's charity drive--well, all except for Spencer, who volunteered herself. Whether or not Alison knew about the other four, the four knew about Alison. She was perfect. Beautiful, witty, smart. Popular. Boys wanted to kiss Alison, and girls--even older ones--wanted to be her. So the first time Ali laughed at one of Aria's jokes, asked Emily a question about swimming, told Hanna her shirt was adorable, or commented that Spencer's penmanship was way neater than her own, they couldn't help but be, well . . . dazzled. Before Ali, the girls had felt like pleated, high-waisted mom jeans--awkward and noticeable for all the wrong reasons--but then Ali made them feel like the most perfect-fitting Stella McCartneys that no one could afford.

Now, more than a year later, on the last day of seventh grade, they weren't just best friends, they were the girls of Rosewood Day. A lot had happened to make it that way. Every sleepover they had, every field trip, had been a new adventure. Even homeroom had been memorable when they were together. (Reading a steamy note from the varsity crew captain to his math tutor over the PA system was now a Rosewood Day legend.) But there were other things they all wanted to forget. And there was one secret they couldn't even bear to talk about. Ali said that secrets were what bonded their five-way best-friendship together for eternity. If that was true, they were going to be friends for life.

"I'm so glad this day is over." Alison moaned before gently pushing Spencer back through the gap in the hedges. "Your barn."

"I'm so glad seventh grade is over," Aria said as she, Emily, and Hanna followed Alison and Spencer toward the renovated barn-turned-guesthouse where Spencer's older sister, Melissa, had lived for her junior and senior years of high school. Fortunately, she'd just graduated and was headed to Prague this summer, so it was all theirs for the night.

Suddenly they heard a very squeaky voice. "Alison! Hey, Alison! Hey, Spencer!"

Alison turned to the street. "Not it," she whispered.

"Not it," Spencer, Emily, and Aria quickly followed.

Hanna frowned. "Shit."

It was this game Ali had stolen from her brother, Jason, who was a senior at Rosewood Day. Jason and his friends played it at inter-prep school field parties when scoping out girls. Being the last to call out "not it" meant you had to entertain . . .



Continues...

Excerpted from Pretty Little Liars #1 by Sara Shepard Copyright © 2006 by Sara Shepard. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

From Barnes & Noble

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? A strong launch for a suspenseful series.

Publishers Weekly

After the queen bee of their clique mysteriously disappears during a slumber party on the last day of seventh grade, the remaining four girls drift apart. Now, three years later, the Rosewood, Pa., former pals are practically strangers, but still plagued by the secrets that they shared with Alison and new scandals they are trying to keep under wraps. Then they each start receiving cryptic messages from someone named "A" who seems to know everything, and makes them wonder, "Was she back?" The four girls are fairly standard types: there is free-spirited Aria, overachiever Spencer, good-girl Emily, a star swimmer, and glamorous Hanna. Their scandals, too, echo the over-the-top fare typical of guilty pleasure books: Aria is having an affair with her new AP English teacher, for example, while Emily finds that kissing a girl "felt a zillion times different than kissing" her boyfriend. Readers will certainly find enough drama to keep the pages turning (one girl battles bulimia, another steals her sister's boyfriend and then there's what's buried in Alison's old backyard), and they will no doubt have fun piecing together who and what could be behind those bizarre messages. This is clique lit with a mystery twist: the author has spun a plethora of possibilities sure to make readers reach for the next installment in this planned four-book series and beyond. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

VOYA

Secrets bond the friendships of four girls with Ali, the queen bee of the clique. After Ali mysteriously disappears at the end of seventh grade, Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily believe that their secrets are safe. As they begin eleventh grade in a privileged community, the girls have gone their separate ways. Each finds herself in a compromising situation when she starts receiving messages that are signed "A" about current life events and old seventh-grade secrets. The girls separately wonder if Ali is back. After Ali's body is found, the girls begin to reconnect and commiserate while the source of the threatening messages remains a mystery. Shepard creates a story that centers on wealthy teens dealing with a wide range of issues, including family expectations, love relationships, and self-esteem. The narrative is heavily peppered with designer labels. The characters would not dare to be caught without Gucci sunglasses or the latest Kate Spade bag, making this work trendy today but possibly dating it soon. Readers are kept guessing-perhaps too much-about seemingly important aspects of the story. "The Jenna Thing" is frequently mentioned, although almost no information about the incident is ever offered despite the fact that it is alluded to as the big, terrible secret that changed everything between the girls. This first series volume will attract its share of chick-lit readers, and a planned television series may heighten demand. The unresolved mystery will leave readers clamoring for the next installment in the series.

Children's Literature

Given popular culture's proclivity for Desperate Housewives-type prime time shows, it is probably not surprising that this self-styled "sexy" novel for the PG group is launching a series and soon to be television show; how sad that as tasteless and uninspired as Pretty Little Liars is, it might succeed. The story concerns four poor little rich teens who may be haunted by a classmate who disappeared when the five were the in-crowd of a Mainline Philadelphia suburb. Or maybe someone who knows more is just playing text message tricks—the ending leaves the question open, ready for book number two next spring. There is plenty of brand-name dropping, sibling rivalry, teenage angst, and talk of sex for those who like such things. Nevertheless, the plot sounds suspiciously like a teened-down version of Donna Tartt's Secret History; the author is Tartt's generation but without any of her talent for development of character, managing multiple points of view, or effective language.

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Rosewood, PA, is filled with mansions, Mercedes, and fortunate girls like Alison, Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Hanna. These five friends are bound together by a horrible secret-never fully revealed in the book-until the summer after seventh grade, when Alison goes missing. Now high school juniors, each of the remaining girls is going through a trying time and has a new secret. Spencer is falling for her sister's boyfriend, Aria is involved in a relationship with her teacher, Emily has issues with her sexual identity, and Hanna has an eating disorder. They think that no one knows about these things, until all four of them begin to get mysterious notes, e-mails, and text messages from someone by the name of "A." They are afraid that Alison is back, and the mocking tone of the messages makes them worry that she could be ready to divulge their hidden past. In the end, her body is found, but they still receive the messages, leaving readers to wonder what happens next. Shepard writes a suspenseful page-turner that will have teens thirsting for more. The plot is quick-moving and encapsulates the feelings of many teens.-Kristen M. Todd, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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