Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars #1) by Sara Shepard

I love the idea of Gossip Girl with a murder mystery twist, so I was super thrilled when I finally got my hands on the first book of this series. I’ve read *every* single Gossip Girl novel (in all honesty, the TV show was a huge disappointment in comparison) barring the Psycho Killer mash up, which I have on a wish list and was hoping that reading Pretty Little Liars would whet my appetite for. And while PLL certainly provides us with the dishy goings on of privileged teenagers, albeit set in moneyed rural Pennsylvania instead of moneyed NYC, it is intensely annoying as a mystery novel because no actual mysteries are solved. Everything is setup. Very entertaining setup, granted, but certainly not a complete story on its own.

I had this same issue with Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious, but at least that made an attempt at solving one of the mysteries in the book. Also, I’m willing to cut a little slack to a trilogy, since I know that everything will be wrapped up neatly at the end of 900 or so pages. But PLL stretches out for sixteen books, y’all. I’ve heard that new mysteries crop up in the later books but I really don’t want to invest that much time in novels that have a high probability of giving me cliffhangers in lieu of satisfaction. I can absolutely see why people have enjoyed these books, however, and if I had all the time in the world, I’d read more of them. The characters are fun — I like Emily best, tho IRL, I’m definitely a cross between Aria and Spencer, barring the weird weakness for older men — and the situations for the most part relatable, if not completely believable. If this weren’t a mystery novel, I’d be much more delighted by the storytelling. As it is, it just felt like the first third of a book, one that I’m not interested in seeking out more of atm.

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