In the exclusive Philadelphia suburb of Rosewood, Alison is the Queen Bee of her elite seventh grade hive. BFs Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily vie for her attention, even as each of them hides a hideous secret only Alison knows. So when Alison goes missing after a slumber party, never to be seen again, each girl is heartbroken, but also a little relieved. Now it is three years later, and though the four girls have grown apart, they are each still hiding something. Artsy Aria is carrying on an affair with one of her teachers, fashionista Hanna shoplifts to accessorize her trendy outfits, blue-blood Spencer is sleeping with her older sisters boyfriend, while straight-A Emily is trying to ignore her attraction to a new female classmate. When the girls begin receiving threatening text messages and emails that from someone known only as "A," they must confront the fact that against all odds, it appears Alison is back. Could Alison still be alive? And if so, why is she so determined to uncover all their dirty little secrets?
Debut author Sara Shepard's shamelessly addictive blend of Desperate Housewives and I Know What You Did Last Summer is absolutely delicious. Her infusion of mystery and murder breathes new life into the tired genre of high society chick lit, and will give fans of Gossip Girl and The A-List something new to dig their French-manicured nails into. A cliff-hanging ending will leave readers craving the second title in the planned four-part series. --Jennifer Hubert
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Rosewood, PA, is filled with mansions, Mercedes, and fortunate girls like Alison, Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Hanna. These five friends are bound together by a horrible secret–never fully revealed in the book–until the summer after seventh grade, when Alison goes missing. Now high school juniors, each of the remaining girls is going through a trying time and has a new secret. Spencer is falling for her sister's boyfriend, Aria is involved in a relationship with her teacher, Emily has issues with her sexual identity, and Hanna has an eating disorder. They think that no one knows about these things, until all four of them begin to get mysterious notes, e-mails, and text messages from someone by the name of A. They are afraid that Alison is back, and the mocking tone of the messages makes them worry that she could be ready to divulge their hidden past. In the end, her body is found, but they still receive the messages, leaving readers to wonder what happens next. Shepard writes a suspenseful page-turner that will have teens thirsting for more. The plot is quick-moving and encapsulates the feelings of many teens.–Kristen M. Todd, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY
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