Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stunning by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 11)
In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four stunningly beautiful girls are haunted by a very ugly past. Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily want nothing more than to forget Alison DiLaurentis, their former best friend who tried to ruin their lives. But someone refuses to let her memory die. A is still out there, lurking in the shadows and digging up the pretty little liars’ newest secrets.
Emily’s reconnecting with an old flame, one baby step at a time. But is she headed toward true love or another bundle of heartache? Spencer’s learning about the highs and lows of campus life on a trip to Princeton. Aria’s seeing a whole new side to Noel’s dad – and it could drive a wedge between her and Noel. And, for better or worse, Hanna’s getting in touch with her inner A.
Secret by secret, lie by lie, the girls get tangled in A’s dangerous web. A knows about everything, from their tiniest transgressions to the awful incident in Jamaica. Soon a will have enough ammunition to pull the trigger and end the pretty little liars, once and for all…

I don’t think I’ve ever felt relieved when I was so close to finishing a book series; usually I’m upset when I realize there is only one more book left to read. Guess how I felt after I finished Stunning? You guessed it; relieved. I guess there is a first for everything. I had such high hopes for this book series, which was brought on by my love of the show, Pretty Little Liars. The first 8 books were pretty good, but it has been a little brutal to finish the last three. I seriously sighed in relief when I hit the last page of Stunning. I don’t like that feeling!

The storylines are just taking an absurd turn. They have always been a little out there, but it almost feels like Sara Shepard is grasping at straws to come up with new issues for the four girls. “A” is still omnipresent and all knowing, and even though they have had quite a few suspects, none of their suspicions seem to pan out. Oh, and then you have Emily who is still convinced it is Ali. Granted, she may be right but it seems to me she just refuses to let Ali go. I will say though, I liked that we finally got to see Emily’s emotion and/or remorse towards the baby she gave away. My eyes got a little misty at the end when Emily sees her daughter with the family she gave her to; she seemed to really care that her daughter was loved, and I never got any of that from her in the previous two books. That being said, the way she gave the family the baby was f*cked up. I guess I can somewhat see why she did it, but really…? Hey Emily, your baby isn’t Harry Potter. You don’t just leave it on a doorstep with a note.

Hanna decides to start stalking her ex-boyfriend Mike, and his new girlfriend, Colleen. I think Hanna should have seen this backfiring on her considering the whole stalking idea was planted in her head by “A.” Either way, I have wanted Hanna and Mike back together for a while now and as nice as Colleen was, I was Team Hanna. I think she went a little overboard by wearing camouflage and using binoculars to spy on them in the mall, but what do I know? One aspect of Hanna’s storyline that I have really enjoyed is the new relationship she has with her step-sister, Kate. I like that they are finally getting along, and Kate seems surprisingly genuine to Hanna. Whether that’s actually here to stay or not, I guess we’ll find out in the final book.

Spencer’s storyline revolves around drugs again, and just how far she’ll go to get into an Eating Club at Princeton. While on a weekend stay, she meets Reefer (guess what his drug of choice is) and refuses to admit to herself that she could ever possibly be interested in someone like him. Well, maybe she should take his advice…”Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It turns out Reefer is more than just a pot-smoking hippie…

Aria’s big issue…is just ridiculous. She finds out Noel’s father is a cross dresser. That’s right; her boyfriend’s dad is a cross dresser. What the shit? Now, I’m not judging…you do what you do. It doesn’t affect me so live your life by doing whatever makes you happy. That being said, I think this storyline is beyond absurd. Of course “A” knows about it and threatens Aria: break up with Noel or everyone finds out his dad is a cross dresser. *facepalm*

I really, really wish I would have been able to enjoy this book, and the two prior, more than I did. I feel like my reviews might be getting repetitive when it comes to books 9-11, but it’s because none of them rock my socks off. Oh, and one final bone to pick: we still don’t know what Aria did in Iceland that is so terrible. It was brought up in Twisted, and after two more books, it’s still a mystery. This annoys me. How can you bring up something like that continually through three books, and not elaborate! I really hate to say this, but I am glad there is only one book left…and I’m glad the twelfth book, Burned, doesn’t come out for another three months. I need a break from Rosewood, Pennsylvania. 

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