I put off reading Pretty Little Liars for a while because I assumed it'd be like the Gossip Girl series. Now, I'm kicking myself for not picking it up...moreI put off reading Pretty Little Liars for a while because I assumed it'd be like the Gossip Girl series. Now, I'm kicking myself for not picking it up sooner, especially since it doesn't seem as trashy, for lack of a better word, as the Gossip Girl books, though I have read and enjoyed those as well. While I could definitely see the similarities, I think Pretty Little Liars has more going for it, plotwise, than that of Gossip Girl.
Pretty Little Liars hooked me right from the beginning. The mood was set almost immediately. I've mentioned this before, but I've always said that the way to hook a reader is to keep them intrigued as to the outcome of the ending. I was intrigued throughout the whole book. I was dying to know what each girl's secret was. Dying to know about the "Jenna thing", what exactly happened to Alison, and who the hell was sending those mysterious text messages. Unfortunately, we don't get much answers in this book (hence why I took away the one star) since I tend to get annoyed at books that keep me reading with the mysteries yet doesn't resolve not one of them (which was my biggest gripe with Michael Grant's Gone, but this one was significantly shorter so not as big of a deal). But I guess the purpose is to make sure you read the Pretty Little Liars sequel.
When it comes to the four main characters directly, I was happy to notice that I liked them all. Aria wasn't annoying with the whole teacher affair and that kind of crap does tend to annoy me (especially since it's so overused), but while I didn't have a problem with her, she really was my least favorite character. I just didn't care about her problems as much as the other girls. I completely bought Emily's struggle with her identity and trying to be herself even though her parents wanted her to be more like them. Hanna was the one that I had assumed I'd dislike the most, but she was the one that displayed the most vulnerability out of all the characters and her whole thing with her feeling replaced by her father was so sad. Now, Spencer was the one I identified most with since she is an overachiever and so am I. Her issues with her parents and her sister had me visibly cringing especially when the shit hit the fan.
Pretty Little Liars was an extremely enjoyable read. There weren't any cardboard cut-out characters and the girls problems seemed very real. The book was also a real page-turner, I literally finished it in one sitting. The fact that this book was set up specifically to have more things solved in the sequel (maybe, maybe not) did grate a little, but it wasn't too bad. I have read the sneak peek of the next book and I'm hoping it really doesn't turn out like Gossip Girl with "A" actually referring to the "audience"/readers. I swear if these notes start to end with "xoxo...Gossip Girl" or something towards that effect, I'm so out.
Wow! Hate List was gritty, raw, and extremely real. More than that it was really complex. More complex than your average school shooting book. How? We...moreWow! Hate List was gritty, raw, and extremely real. More than that it was really complex. More complex than your average school shooting book. How? Well for one thing, Hate List is narrated by the girlfriend of the murderer. So, you're never really sure what to feel in regards to Valerie. Should you pity her because of the way her ex-friends are treating her? Is it deserved because she was the one who had the most insight into her boyfriend's life and yet remained ignorant even when the signs were right there?
These are just some of the issues Valerie has to deal with along with her parents' perceptions of her and their failing marriage. She also has to deal with the love she still has for Boyfriend Nick and the hate she feels for Shooter Nick. Hate List was just amazing in the way it evoked emotions from the reader. You could just feel the pain that not only Valerie was going through, but what everyone else who was there the day of the shooting was feeling.
Hate List was depressing as hell. It was. Books or movies about school shootings just turn me into a sobbing mess. Hate List was no exception. I was bawling through half of this book. Still, I absolutely recommend it. It was honest, real, and just utterly amazing! I think this has to be the best fiction book on school shootings that I've read (Columbine remains my favorite non-fiction book on this subject). I read this book in one sitting, absolutely absorbed. So pick up Hate List. I guarantee you won't be the same afterwards.(less)