Vanessa's Reviews > Twisted

Twisted by Sara Shepard
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's review
Jun 28, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: teen-mystery, young-adult

The series should have ended with the eighth book. There is no suspense in this novel. There are so many flashbacks, which reveal so much information, it is almost impossible for the reader to be surprised about the revelation at the end. It feels like the earlier books, only really really bad. The girls spend most of the time denying that A's back, even though they are receiving texts, letters, and pictures. This A is much less active than the last one, because A doesn't really do a whole lot. In this book, it is entirely the girls making bad decisions that drive the plot. A pretty much just sits back and points out the ways that they are making messes of their own lives.

The plot is bad. If you've read any of the later Gossip Girl books, you'll remember how it seemed like the author was just pulling dramatic plots out of a hat to assign them to characters. That's what this book is. Aria's chapters center on a bizarre foreign exchange student. Hanna's dead is suddenly a politician. Spencer's mom is super serious with some guy she didn't bother to introduce her kids to. Emily makes a friend and is being molested by her friend's dad. There's more randomness involved in Emily's plot, but technically that would be a "spoiler."

Characterization was never one of the stronger parts of this series. All of the supporting characters changed personalities and motivations constantly. Of course, Spencer's mother and Hanna's father got new personalities in time for this book. That isn't too surprising, as they were two of the more random characters. Again, the author introduces tons of new characters just to keep the narrative going. Once major characters are reduced to just one or two mentions, and they have lost most of what made them interesting when the books were better. Noah is pretty much the only character from earlier that makes much of an appearance. Emily's story, again, revolves around entirely new characters. Mike disappears after the first half. Melissa and Darrin are barely in it. Maya, Isaac, Ezra, Jason, Mr. Hastings, Hanna's mom, Seth, Riley, Naomi, Aria's parents, Meredith, Olivia, Emily's parents, and Carolyn are practically forgotten.

But this is the first time that this has happened to the main girls. Seemingly, nothing of interest has happened to Aria and Hanna between books. They still managed to become completely different people. While we don't hear much about Hanna's popularity at school, she still regressed from the previous book. She ditches Mike early in the book, because, despite being realistically immature, he's too good at keeping the girls from acting stupid. Aria's still dating Noel. Despite spending lots of time with his friends, she has become so judgmental that it is her main character trait. All of the stuff about her being in love with Noel for forever and being jealous of other girls, which came pretty much out of nowhere for Book #8, is also cranked up to 11.

The only two that are acknowledged to have changed between books are Spencer and Emily, and it is not for the better. Spencer, despite already having a gay BFF, is on the market for a stereotypical pet gay. I am not sure if this is supposed to be her being offensive. Andrew turned into a jerk between books, so he's gone. She apparently has turned into a complete crazy person between books, so he might just have made his escape. It's implied that she has done all kind of backstabbing to get back to the top of Rosewood Day's class rankings. She's become more shallow than before.

Emily's transformation makes even less sense. While Emily was always kind of lonely, she is now entirely friendless. She also gets one of the "shocking" twists for this book, and it makes no sense in terms of timeline.
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