This novel takes place between books 4 and 5, and is perfectly to SAFE to read in that order!!
This year I am determined to slay some long ass book serials that’ve been on Mt. TBR for a very long time. The Pretty Little Liars young adult suspense series is one of them! I have been making my way through them (a bit slower than I had hoped, sadly) and the experience hasn’t been too frustrating or terrible yet. In fact, it’s a guilty pleasure that has been giving me a lot of adolescent-like cheer!
While I’m not going to review each and every single book individually, I have been trying to share my thoughts on the instalments that are more like prequels or side stories to the overall crazy that is Pretty Little Liars. Pretty Little Secrets by Sara Shepard is a short story collection that takes place during the Liars’ Christmas vacation, which occurs after the events of book 4! So, technically this title is book 4.5. Each story revolves around one of the four ladies and some deliciously delinquent activity that they find themselves involved in.
I have to say, I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked this little collection! One of the main aspects that I found to be rather pleasant was the severe lack of A’s presence. It was really neat to get a break from all of the stalkery theatrics and be able to sit back and enjoy some storytelling that concentrated specifically on Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna along with how they spent time with their families. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty o’ hot messes and drama to go around, but it all stemmed from the natural and normal dysfunction that comes with having imperfect parents, siblings, and friends.
Each girl’s perspective offers intimate insight into how they all feel about their current situations, including their emotions towards their immediate families. Every single one of them has issues and problems going on in their personal lives that’s fairly difficult and frustrating to deal with. Divorced parents, terrible step-family, an affair within the household, having to hide your true identity for fear of disappointing your loved ones–these are ordinary obstacles. It truly felt fucking great to read about some basic ass shit. This provides the readers with something outside of the madness to connect with; it gives us a good foundation for empathy. Seeing the Liars’ in their native environments, surrounded by bullshit that any one of us could be facing right now, is a fantastic way to give them more depth as individuals, rather than just a group of irrational girls; sets them apart from one another.
The writing is also much better in this instalment. It may have a lot to do with the fact that it was written later on in the series, so it follows Shepard’s evolutionary improvements as a writer that you’d expect towards the end. Nonetheless, it didn’t come off dumbed-down for the adolescent audiences (which, seriously, authors don’t give our teens enough credit for what they can and cannot handle as far as intelligent writing goes), and the emotions, anxiety, tension, etc. was portrayed in a pragmatic means. The real-world dysfunctional facets that I mentioned earlier are believable and justifiable.
Overall, I highly recommend this short story collection if you are a fan of the novels, or TV series, and are searching for more PLL fun… so long as you don’t mind A not being in the spotlight!
4 snowflakes outta 5!