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Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (Guest Review)

After reading Twilight only halfway, I promised myself to steer clear of books for teens. The words "junk" and "immature" always come to mind. However, after watching the TV series "Pretty Little Liars" on a whim, I was hooked and I decided to read the book to see if it was any good. The book of the same name is the first of the series written by Sara Shepard. The series follows the lives of four girls- Spencer, Hanna, Aria and Emily. They all live in the same area and go to the same school but they've all drifted apart after the disappearance of the leader of their clique, Alison DiLaurentis. These friends reconnect with each other years later when they received text messages from a mysterious person called "A". "A" knows the girls secrets as if she or he was watching them and threatens to expose everyone's deep secrets. The girls begin to think that "A" is Alison, their friend who went missing years ago because Alison was the only person who knew their secrets. Alison was eventually found dead and had been dead for years. After her funeral, "A" continues to terrorize the four girls through notes and text messages, hinting that he or she wouldn't go away. So who is "A"?

After reading the book, you'd understand why the series has been described as "Desperate Housewives for teens". It follows the same premise that everything looks normal on the surface but each girl is hiding a dark secret. There are your typical teen problems like shoplifting and divorce but some are more mature stuff you won't read in teen novels such as affairs and sexual orientation. The girls also seem to know more about the circumstances involving Ali's disappearance, hence the word "liars" in the title.

Since this book was written for teens, don't expect too much. Yet it is better than any teen books that I've read as it is quite gripping. Read it if you are a fan of the series, if you like Desperate Housewives or if you're sick of the current obsession with vampires. The only snag is that buying the book locally is pretty expensive - about a week's worth of petrol for me but then again, that's the norm around here.

- Reviewed by Hjh Haryati Hj Abd Gafur

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