I admit that I love chick lit and I also love a wickedly riveting series, such as the Pretty Little Liars Series. It is a pleasant departure from the usual mean girl cliches like the "Cliques," "Sweet Valley High" and other series portraying girls at their cattiest.
Alison "Ali" DeLaurentis: a bright, popular girl who led a clique of other rich, indulged girls. The others are more like satellites than actual friends as they know Ali is a powerful ally to have. They drop designer names every chance they get. They live in Rosewood, a suburb of Philadelphia on the Main Line. Ali, known for insidious cruelty has plenty of secrets. So do the other girls, all of whom have good reason to want Ali to do a permanent disappearing act.
Aria, an attractive, athletic brunette who was glad to escape Rosewood for Iceland. She has a yak-fur bag to which she is inordinately attached. In every installment in the series, you can count on her to reach into that damn yak-fur bag for something. I admit I did get rather sick of that damn yak-fur bag. Aria's father accepts a teaching position there and for 3 years, Aria and her younger brother by 2 years Mike, learn Icelandic and absorb Icelandic culture. Unlike Mike, Aria wants to remain in Iceland. She has a painful non-Ali related secret - she caught her father cheating with another woman. Early in the series, Aria had an affair as well and her mother was involved with a man who tried to seduce Aria. She moves in with her father, new stepmother and sibling-to-be.
Spencer, the grind who sputters at the drop of a designer hat. She earns As and other academic plaudits for real. She has long been eclipsed by her favored older sister, Melissa and has a history of bird dogging Melissa's boyfriends. The second time she does this, her cold-hearted family ostracizes her. To make a bad thing even worse, they even canceled her credit cards without telling her and stopped inviting her to meals. Melissa, a pompous Drama Queen has long reveled in her Favored Daughter status and you just want to kick her in the shins.
Hanna, the former fat girl now turned femme fatale is the weakest link in the chain. Bulimic and insecure, she has now linked forces with another social outcast. Together, they drop designer names and flaunt fashion like it's going out of style. Hanna's relationship with her divorced mother is more like business associates than family. (Hanna's mother works for a company called McManus & Tate, which sounds like a spoof of the advertising firm of McMann & Tate in "Bewitched" [1964-72]). Her father's fiancee Isabel has a daughter Kate who is Hanna's age and Hanna feels that she has been replaced by Kate. In this installment, Hanna receives tickets to a high end fashion show that she believes her mother sent. She invites Kate and Kate's two satellites to join her, only to discover the tickets were a hoax. A is back in town, messing with the girls' minds again. Kate and the Satellites drop Hanna, which turns out to be a good thing in the long run because Hanna is then able to reconnect with the mother she thought had jumped her ship.
Emily is still discovering that love comes in the most unexpected places. A bisexual, she finally accepts that part of her life and it is possible that Alison might have shared her feelings? As the mysterious A continues to tamper with the girls' minds, Emily is all the more convinced that A is telling her that it is past time to come out. Perhaps Alison has something to do with whoever A is?
More mysteries abound. The DiLaurentis family trots out yet another family secret, one who has devastating repercussions on the lives of all of the girls, casualties from the previous installments and the man who was arrested as being A, the Advanced Stalker.
But was he? In the penultimate book, a man was arrested for stalking the girls as A, but the question of his guilt remains. The DiLaurentis' family secret leads to clues and even more questions about to do with the A incidents. Over time, readers will ride the A train to find out who A really is and what this secret means to the Pretty Little Liars, as the Rosewood 4 are called.
The Eagles' 1976 classic "Hotel California" is the town of Rosewood's Anthem as Rosewood and this series is a place where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. I loved the series and the conclusions (yes, conclusions) are very cataclysmic!