The Philadelphia Main Line town of Rosewood is like the 1976 Eagles' classic, "Hotel California" because you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave! This is a series that will certainly keep readers of all ages guessing.
Alison DiLaurentis, 13, was a bright leader of a girls' clique. The members of said clique were more like satellites than actual friends as Alison's approval tended to give her peers a social leg up. She has been discovered murdered some 4 years after the summer she completed 7th grade in Rosewood Day, a private school on Philadephia's Main Line. Alison goes missing the summer before she starts 8th grade and is later discovered to have been murdered. Alison and her satellites drop designer names at the drop of a designer hat.
Spencer Hastings, along with the other satellites discovers she has good reason to want to dim the sun around which she revolves. She tends to sputter. In an earlier installment, readers learn that she has had a history of blackouts. Her older sister, Melissa, favored to the point of excess and indulgence treats her like dog droppings. After she comes clean about plagiarizing her older sister's economics paper, she is further ostracized by her own family. To make matters worse, her grandmother does not include her in her will. The old bag stipulated that only "natural born grandchildren" stood to inherit from her vast fortune. The questions about Spencer's parentage comes out in volume 6.
Aria Montgomery had been having an affair with her English teacher, Ezra Fitz. Her theme song is Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher." Their affair ended in the second volume. Back in town after a 3-year stay in Iceland, Aria reluctantly re-enters Rosewood Day School and the consequences of her father's infidelity. Aria's mother re-admits her into the house upon learning Aria knew about the affair even before the family left for Iceland. Her current boyfriend is someone named Xavier whom Aria meets at an art showing. Xavier hits on Aria and, much to her great chagrin is her own mother's online date! Xavier continues hitting on Aria, who moves in with her father and his pregnant fiancee, Meredith. Her brother Mike, some 2 years younger remains with their mother. Aria has a tendency to reach into her yak-fur bag, a security blanket she brought back from Iceland.
Emily Fields, a reknowned swimmer has finally become open about her sexual orientation. She has broken up with her partner, Maya, who is now living in the DeLaurentis house. In the previous installent readers learn along with Emily that she is bisexual. She meets a very kind boy named Isaac at a church social and in time enjoys a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship with Isaac.
Hanna Marin, a former fat girl now femme fatale has to cope with her divorced mother living in Singapore due to a job transfer and living in her own home with her divorced father and same-aged stepsister, Kate. Kate is favored and indulged and Hanna feels ousted from her own family. To make matters worse, her father has her admitted to a hospital where she serves time with some very interesting fellow inmates.
Emily also gets out of town. The mysterious A who has been stalking the girls sends her a message and Amish clothing to get out of town for a few days as she will find clues in an Amish community in Lancaster, Ohio. While there, Emily stays with the delightful Zook family and uncovers some very....unsettling secrets.
With two girls out of town, A steps up the cyber stalking. Each girl uncovers a devastating secret about her own life that leaves her permanently changed and each girl suffers the trauma of coming across yet another casualty. A is arrested and the question remains - is the A that is currently in custody the A who has been stalking the Pretty Little Liars all along or is this a copy cat or is there possibly a third A out there, waiting to strike?
And why are people turning against the girls? Each girl has had someone she thought was a supporter suddenly turn against her. With Hanna, it was a former inmate. Emily's friend Isaac's mother turned against her and Aria was ostracized by her peers once the news grabbed the Pretty Little Liars angle. Spencer continued to ride the unpredictable roller coaster with her unloving family. Was it really that the supporters in question were doing this of their own accord or was it somehow connected to A? And was the girls' arrest warranted?
The overplayed 1983 song "Every Breath You Take" aka The Stalkers' Anthem by the Police could easily be the soundtrack of the Pretty Little Liars Series.
Readers of this series are no doubt looking forward to the next installment.