Janelle Dazzlepants's Reviews > Unbelievable

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard
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Jan 14, 11

bookshelves: chick-lit, mystery, young-adult, murder-mystery, whodunnit
Read on January 13, 2011

** spoiler alert ** If you thought you'd figured Perfect out with Spencer being Ali's killer, you're wrong. And if you think that Mona being A is the end of it, you're wrong. And if you're just wondering where this book sits in terms of the TV show, it includes Mona's party and Hanna being hit by the car. :)

If anything can be frustrating in a good way, these books are a perfect example of that. After Perfect I knew the author was going to do a 180 with Spencer, somehow explaining away that she didn't really kill Ali.

That's the thing about these books, Sara Shepard doesn't drop subtle hints. She makes you believe with every fibre of your being that Spencer or Melissa is the killer, then in the next book she completely drops it and makes you feel silly for thinking you had it all worked out. I had the feeling she was going to do the same thing with Mona being A in this book, and lo and behold, A's epilogue talks about a new A in town. But of course, the mystery couldn't end 4 books in, could it?

These books are an absolute rollercoaster. Spencer is the killer, then she isn't. I stop suspecting Mona as A, then she turns out to be A. I suspect Ian having a part in Ali's murder, and then he's probably innocent. I find out Mona and Jenna are friends, and not just after meeting in the burns clinic. I find out Jenna and Ali set up the fireworks prank together, and that Jenna is definitely blind.

Unbelievable and Perfect completely shook up my suspicions and now I don't know what to think! The author has hinted strongly as Melissa being the killer, but I never know whether to trust her hints or not, since they're often discarded in the next book. I guess all I can do is go back to suspecting Lucas, Ezra, Jenna and maybe Maya.

On a somewhat lighter note, I'm so happy that Emily's parents stopped being assholes in this book, though only after they feared she was missing or dead. And their appalling behaviour was simply transferred to the relatives in Iowa, who treated Emily like heathen scum and then kicked her out for corrupting their children with her ~partying ways.

I'm really curious as to how the parents found out about their kids sneaking out, because it would totally be A/Mona's style to dob them in, if she weren't on the other side of the country. I also wondered if Maya had called and the parents then figured out their children were missing. Trista also gives me the creeps, but I don't suspect her of anything thus far.

I don't really have much more to say about Unbelievable. I could obsess over Mona being A for 3 paragraphs, but I won't. I think that Mona discovering Ali's discarded diary during Maya's move was great on the part of the author, because it didn't even occur to me that A could have Ali's diary. Actually, despite the author mentioning the diary pretty heavily, it didn't even occur to me that that's what A was using to mine the secrets. I just assumed A was close with Ali and she'd told them everything, and I barely wondered why they waited so long to start blackmailing the girls.

Overall: Unbelievable sheds light on the identity of A, but puts forth even more questions. I'm beginning to feel like I should just stop speculating on A and the killer, because the author clearly doesn't want me to figure it out just yet. If I suspect someone 100%, Shepard completely eliminates that possibility in the next book. Spencer is supposedly the killer in Perfect, then in Unbelievable she's not the killer. Mona confesses to being A in Unbelievable, then in the end we have another A on our hands. It's so so so frustrating, but enjoyable nonetheless.
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