Sure, Alison was Alison. She was the shoulder to cry on, the only one you'r ever want calling up your crush to find out how he felt about you, and the final words on whether your new jeans make your butt look big. But the girls were also afraid of her. Ali knew more about them than anyone else did, including the bad stuff they wanted to bury - just like a body. It was horrible to think Ali might be dead, but ... if she was, at least their secrets were safe.
And they were. For three years, anyway.
I read Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard online - you can read the whole book here - and found it a pleasant read. A page-turner. Too bad this is the first book in the series, so it introduces the characters while concluding nothing. **EDIT: apparently the "browse inside" feature of the whole book was for a limited time only. The whole book is not available at that link any longer, unfortunately.**
In the rich suburbia of Philadelphia called Rosewood, Alison is the Queen Bee of a group of friends formed by Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily. The girls vie for her attention, but they're also a bit scared of her, because she knows secrets about them that no one else knows. So when Alison goes missing during a slumber party, her friends are shocked, but also a bit relieved.
Three years later, the girls are no longer friends, but they still have secrets. Artsy Aria is having a relationship with her English teacher. No-longer-chubby Hanna shoplifts to get accessories on her cute outfits. Straight-A Emily tries to hide her not-so-platonic feelings for a new female friend. And blue-blood Spencer is kissing her sister's boyfriend.
So when the girls start receiving strange text messages and emails from a certain "A" who seems to know everything about them, it seems Alison is back. But is she really? And why does she want to divulge all the girls' secrets?
The concept behind this series of books is similar to the Gossip Girl series - minus Manhattan, plus Philadelphia surburb. Watch these rich, glamourous teenagers hiding their secrets and scandals and seeing their life overturned by someone who seems to know it all. These kind of books are a sort of guilt pleasure to me: they aren't literary masterpieces, but they're fun to read, almost like watching a soap-opera. This book is well-written and full of suspense. I'd recommend to lovers of the YA genre.