I received this book for free from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Sara Shepard
Published October, 2006 by HarperTeen
Provided by: Hachette Australia
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
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Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna. Spencer covets her sister’s boyfriend. Aria’s fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily’s crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful.
But they’ve all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.
How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they’ve kept. And guess what? I’m telling.
This one surprised me by arriving in the mail! It was released back in 2002 but here in Australia they’ve just re-released the first book with the tv show tie-in cover. Having seen only one episode of the show, I was hesitant to read at first, but once I did, I was very pleased with what I found inside!
As I mentioned above, I’ve seen an episode of the television show and it didn’t really grab my interest. The ‘drama’ of high school teenagers portrayed these days in tv just grates on my nerves and I find the characters to be so superficial and unlikable. However, I was interested in finding out some of the mysteries in the show so I decided to give this book a go.
Yes, some of the stuff in here I simply shake my head at, BUT, it’s also really fun! Who knew?
The book is told from four different perspectives; Spencer, Hanna, Aria and Emily. I usually dislike when the narrative switches so much and I find that I prefer reading one persons POV more than someone elses. This was the case here; I especially liked the stories of Spencer and Aria. Emily was alright and I’d have to say I liked Hanna the least. I even stopped reading for the night when I saw that the next chapter I had to get through was Hanna’s.
However, I quickly picked it up the next day again and finished the second half.
It’s a blend of Gossip Girl and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. The girls aren’t exactly likable – they all do awful things, except, perhaps for Emily – but somehow you keep reading. I really adore how it’s tied up with a mystery as well, it definitely strings you along until you’re dying to find out what it is they’re hiding.
After reading the first book, I went and watched the first episode of the tv show. Although the characters are changed a little and very different from how they appear in the books, the basis of the plot is still there and I was surprised to see how much of the first novel they fit into the very first episode! I will definitely be picking up Flawless, the next book in the series, when I can!
Recommended to: Fans of the Gossip Girl series.