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perf Perfect (PLL #3) by Sara Shepard | Rating: ★★★★★

She knew too much. -A

Sara Shepard’s completely addictive bestselling series Pretty Little Liars continues down its dark and delicious path of Rosewood through its third installment, Perfect, and picks up right where Flawless left off.

Everyone’s favorite liars and readers alike have hardly had a chance to breath, and things are only looking more dramatic from here on out. Trouble is certainly brewing in the beautiful, exclusive town of Rosewood -- what could possibly happen next?

Pretty Little Liars is wildly entertaining in the vein of Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl book series, for its exploits of rich, mysterious and beautiful teenagers, with dashes of a good old vintage young adult thriller reminiscent of Lois Duncan. With every clue, with every description and development, with every answer comes about a dozen more questions.

And that, my friends, is what makes the suspense of A and who killed Alison DiLaurentis so fun.

Although I do enjoy the show, and the closeness of the girls in it, I do think that the books capture a level of realness in it that the show just does not get. Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer have all been estranged due to the death of their best friend and have been leading separate lives since.

They have a connection to each other and while the drama that A brings into their lives ties them together, they are not instantly reconnected. This makes much more sense to me and makes their plots all the more… dark.

They, more importantly, actually act and think like the teenagers they are. I've seen people say this about the book series in comparison to the television series: the girls are immature. Yes, my friend. Yes, of course they are. Honestly don't be foolish. They are teenagers.

I REPEAT: THEY. ARE. TEENAGERS. Honestly people get your head in the game.

What makes the series so delicious is how light and soapy it is one minute: filled with fashion and typical teenage behavior, only to turn dark and spine tingly. As A grows more mysterious and powerful, we also see just how dangerous this anonymous bully can really be.

We’re left with the following question: who is A? And what happens next?

Let’s rewind and recap on what’s going on in the lives of Rosewood’s prettiest liars. Emily’s struggle grows all the more real as she has to determine what to do about her feelings for Maya and wonders if she should tell the police about A; but then she is forced out of the closet way too earlier as a threat. How can she be herself when her family is so strict and wants her to be anything but?

Will all her self acceptance progress collapse? It’s not looking bright; this we know – Emily’s parents are now keen on the idea of sending her off to be “fixed”. Nothing says love, acceptance and family like a good old de-gaying program.


Hanna’s life seems to be falling apart in ways that are entirely different to Emily’s struggles– number one being the idea that she could lose her best friend Mona Vanderwaal, who she has never felt so distant from. Hanna is now without her boyfriend, without her family, without her best friend – what could possibly go next?

She does have a bright spot in it all. Lucas. Hanna and Lucas are only beginning in this one but we know this: Lucas liked Hanna before her makeover. They’re sweet and Lucas is so very caring that Hanna is exceptionally lucky to have him in her life. But Lucas? Lucas is the luckiest of them all.

What happens, though, when she gets a little too close to A’s identity for comfort? After a very public embarrassment at Mona’s party, everything seems to be going downhill – little does she know, something else entirely will hit her by the books end.

For Aria, we see her being forced out of her mothers (what an exceptionally immature move, Ella) house upon the reveal of Byron’s affair and how Aria had known about it for years–of course because A spilled the beans. Enter Aria’s supposed white knight and new boyfriend, Sean Ackard. Thankfully for Aria, she won’t be homeless: he has invited her to stay with his family.

But when her flame ignites once more from a forbidden romance with Ezra Fitz, her teacher, everything–and I mean everything–is put in danger. And their lives could just be ruined when A reveals the affair to Sean, who promptly calls the police and gives her the boot from his house.

Where can Aria turn now?

And then there’s Spencer Hastings: the girl who seemingly has it all. Money, brains, athletic ability, beauty. Her secret this time around is that she stole a paper from Melissa (of course she did) and turned it in for a class assignment. And the next thing she knows is that she is being applauded for the essay and wins a prestigious Golden Orchid Award.

This will lead A to play with her in all new ways. What can she possibly do?

Let’s just say that the cliffhanger ending is soap-opera dramatic and makes the series spark all the more. It’s heart pounding dramatic, it’s a delicious and frightening, it’s undeniably a work of Sara Shepard’s incredibly dark but oddly fun mind.

Perfect is Pretty Little Liars at its finest. But what will happen next? After one of our little liars is struck by A, another is sent away…

Can they figure out who A is before it’s too late? We’re just one step closer to discovering A’s identity.

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