6:16 PM

wicked Wicked (PLL #5) by Sara Shepard | Rating: ★★★★★

I suppose I could let bygones be bygones, forgive and forget, yadda yadda. But where's the fun in that? These pretty little bitches got everything I ever wanted, and now I'm going to make sure they get exactly what they deserve.

In the small and luxurious town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania four little liars think they are safe at last. Alison’s killer is in jail and the anonymous stalker that spent the last weeks harassing them is gone. But the thing about comfort is that it never lasts for long in Rosewood and these four liars are about to get another rude awakening.

After the death of their best friend, Alison DiLaurentis, the girls went from as close as sisters to strangers. Friendships fell apart and years after their friend goes missing, life came back around to bite their asses in their designer jeans.

Spending years apart proved to be too good for each girl as they grew and then their junior year changed everything: the girls were begrudgingly brought back together with the news of Alison’s body and the appearance of a mysterious stalker named A, who seemed to know all of their dirty little secrets.

A certainly wasn’t afraid to use them against each girl. Every little step that Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer made, A was a few dozen ahead of them. When the taunting turned dangerous and they were constantly on the line. But you just can’t keep a bad girl down–and these four girls certainly are bad in a delectable light.

Wicked marks the return of A, although this time it is someone new. And because these bad girls just can’t keep their lives clean, the lies start flowing and blackmail begins. This time A seems to be truly out for blood. Although the threats seem to be more prominent this time around, Wicked drags on a bit more than its previous installments–which kind of sucks.

Our structure and reintroduction to the liars and their world is very reminiscent to the first book in the series. Which is probably what makes it slow and sorta “been there, done that”–but it’s still a thoroughly entertaining, engaging and stylish read. As for the common ground for the girls, we have two things that bring them together: Ian’s trial and new A.

And as always, each question we have answered leads us to more questions. Wicked focuses on all four of the girls, of course, and the tension is still pretty thick between them. Hanna is the primary focus this round, but we do see what each girl is up to and what they are being blackmailed about.

Weave in the past with the present, we see a glimpse of the TIME CAPSULE plot that takes place right before Alison befriends the girls and seeing it tie in to the present day plots is sorta chilling. I have a feeling we’re only just getting started. And readers, beware: this flashback is VERY important.

Let’s catch up quickly: in the fourth book of the series we learned and earth shattering betrayal for one Hanna Marin.

Her very best friend, Mona Vanderwaal was the first A and worked tirelessly to bring her down in the process. Hanna’s Queen Bee status has been a long and treacherous path and keeping it will prove to be more difficult than anything.

What’s that old saying? The only thing harder than becoming popular is staying popular.

With complications back at home–her father’s reappearance is a surefire way to make things more stressful for Hanna. I’m not found of Mr. Marin… like, at all. But I do think it’s interesting seeing the interactions between Hanna and her father and of course Kate, who is a bit of a nightmare but who I also think has more to her than we’re shown.

There’s a lot of changes going on in her family, friendships, romances and more and it’s interesting to keep up with. Hanna Marin is the most fun to read about, I think, and truly one of the more complex girls. Each of her chapters is mysterious, dishy and oddly sweet.

This doesn’t mean the other girls aren’t interesting.

I’ll begin with Aria.

Aria is perhaps my least favorite of the girls but in Wicked she seems to grow and mature a lot compared to the previous books. Which is wonderful. Character development was sorely lacking for her and I enjoyed all the changes made to her character. She’s edgy and I think she just loves to create and have a good time. Which is why it was so tingling for her to meet a seemingly awesome artist and easy to see why she developed something of an attraction towards him at first.

But guess what? He's dating her mom.

The plots with her mothers boyfriend made my skin crawl a bit for obvious reasons–but I loved that she shut him down and values the relationship she is mending with her mother more than anything. Still, she is putting herself and her family first and I really, really dig and respect that.

I do wish there had been more sibling scenes with Mike and Aria. But what can you do, right?

Emily is up next and Sara Shepard is realistically exploring her sexuality. I think that a lot of people forget that while Emily seems to prefer the company of women in her romantic life, she is attracted to men from time to time. I’ve always considered her to be bisexual in the novels and in this one we see that explored as she starts up a relationship with a cute and sweet boy.

See, I feel personally offended when people don’t like Emily. I see a lot of myself in her and sure, she has her flaws, but she is certainly not the worst character in Pretty Little Liars. I admire her growing strength and her ability to question things and sometimes go with the flow.

Really, I love Emily Fields and I want to protect her.

Lastly there’s Spencer Hastings, another favorite of mine. I think she is still struggling a lot due to the fact that her family is giving her the cold shoulder (because they are assholes) and she is still a little surprised that Mona had wanted her to join her as A.

And in an even stranger turn of events, during a reading of her grandmothers will, Spencer learns that she might not be a Hastings after all. With the help of Andrew, she sets off on a path of discovering her own roots but as always nothing is as it seems and the answers she finds may be surprising.

But is Spencer really adopted? And why is Melissa suddenly so concerned over the fact–and sorta helping her?

All in all, Wicked is a blast.

It’s fast paced and dark and mysterious and like all good Sara Shepard novels it is a great way to pass the time. Although it’s one of the weakest links in the series, it’s still a delight to read and will keep its audience guessing as they eagerly flip the pages.

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