Pretty Little Liars: ‘Twisted’ novel review

Darby Festa ('13) / News/Features Editor

    When Sara Shepard released the previous novel in the Pretty Little Liars series, Wanted, we thought that Ali was dead. A was gone. And the four girls: Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily, were safe.
    Little did we know, Shepard planned to continue the series with four more installments, beginning with the novel Twisted. In Twisted, the girls are now seniors at Rosewood Day high school. Two years have gone by with no word from A about Ali, “the Jenna Thing”, or any other dark memories that the girls have tried so hard to leave behind.
    But, a lot can happen in two years. The girls are no longer friends; an incident on their spring break in Jamaica ripped their friendship apart. Shepard, like other novels, keeps the reader intrigued by offering glimpses at the notorious night in Jamaica. From the first chapter, Shepard bombards the reader with mysterious and unanswered events that make it impossible to put the book down.

    Shepard also crafts a tale with creative new sub-plots that keep the story fresh and moving. The four girls deal with love interests, sibling rivalries, sibling attraction, devious transfer students, and more. The story is packed with drama that will keep the audience enthralled.
    However, as Shepard continues to develop the tale of the Pretty Little Liars, one can’t help but notice that this story is lacking an essential element of the previous novels.
    In Twisted, the girls rarely interact with each other. After years of banding together in the face of blackmail, threats, and attempts at murder, the girls suddenly abandon one another in pursuit of a clean slate. For example, at a party, Emily tries to wave at Spencer, but Spencer ignores her, reminding herself that “they were not talking right now. Or ever” (22). Even so, the girls barely compare notes, discuss recent events, or even respond to each other’s S.O.S. calls. The story lacks the teamwork and “picture-perfect, magazine cover” friendship of the four Pretty Little Liars that was so wonderful to read about in the first eight novels (22).
    Shepard, however, redeems herself with the descriptive and witty writing style that readers have known and loved. For example, Aria complains about her mother’s new boyfriend, noting that “he was a raw foodist, which meant Ella had become one, too. Aria liked her pasta cooked, thank you very much” (47). In addition, Shepard describes a character’s tone as the “bloodless, perfunctory voice he probably used when firing employees” (292).
    Not only is Shepard’s writing crafty and humorous, but her writing also allows for the audience to connect to the emotions and thoughts of the four girls. Shepard often makes references to common teen issues, such as Facebook, or trends in clothing and technology. For example, when Hanna asks Emily how Emily knew her whereabouts, Emily “rolled her eyes” and replied, “you posted it all over Facebook” (210).  The audience can connect so well to the stories of the four girls, it’s almost like reality, making the story just that more intriguing.

    Even though it’s her ninth novel in the series, Shepard continues to captivate readers everywhere with fresh stories, clever writing, and the mystery that keeps the Pretty Little Liars series so distinct from other teen novels.
    So, as our beloved friend “A” would say, “stick with me, kids. It’s about to get so good…”