Friday, July 22, 2011

Queen of the fake-out

“Nothing in Rosewood is ever really over,” reads the first page of Twisted (Harper Teen, July), the ninth book in Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series. No kidding. Back in 2006, the Horn Book Guide’s review of the kick-off volume refers to Pretty Little Liars as the “first book in a planned series of four” (wrong). After that, not once, not twice, but three times have we described the book-just-before-a-new-one as the concluding volume. Most recently we say (in reference to 2010’s Heartless and Wanted): “Readers say goodbye to the PLLs in these final books of the series… Wanted introduces the final, crucial plot twist.”

In our own defense, that plot twist was a doozy; it really did seem like a wrap-up. However, I can’t deny that this whole thing is our own fault; after each story, a concluding missive by “A” tantalizingly warns readers that more mayhem could be on the horizon. From now on we’re taking that to heart, especially since the end of Twisted is so definitive: “Did you really think it was over?...Stick with me, kids. It’s about to get so good…”

Sara Shepard, can you pretty please whisper in the Guide’s ear how many books in this series you plan to write? I’d like to believe, as The Who song goes, “We won’t get fooled again.” However, I’m sure you—and “A”—have some tricks up your sleeve.

While waiting for the inevitable book 10 (titled Gullible, perhaps?), series fans can keep their memories sharp by rereading Wicked through Wanted, newly available in a paperback box set. They can also feel smug about spoilers by watching the TV show, an Entertainment Weekly guilty-pleasure darling.

—Elissa Gershowitz

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