By Sara Shepard
Published by HarperTeen
on December 2, 2014
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, reporters are lined up outside the historic courthouse, typing furiously at their iPhones with freshly manicured nails. Because the trial of the century is happening right here in Rosewood: the four pretty little liars have been accused of killing Alison DiLaurentis. Only Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily know that they’ve been framed. Ali is still out there, laughing as she watches the girls go down for her murder. But when your nickname includes the word “liar,” no one believes you’re telling the truth. . . .
Aria tries to run away from it all but finds that life on the lam is even harder than life as a liar. Spencer gets in touch with someone who can help her disappear–but when a guy from her past reemerges, Spencer no longer knows what she wants. Hanna decides that she’ll hear wedding bells chime before she serves time. And in the face of prison, Emily does something truly drastic–something that will change her friends’ lives forever.
As the trial goes on and the outcome looks grim, the girls are in their darkest hour yet. But maybe they can finally figure out how to beat Ali at her own game. Because once upon a time, she was just a pretty little liar too.
Well well well. We come at last to the final book in the Pretty Little Liars series. I’ve been reading these books for years and although I’ve been frustrated and annoyed at times, I’ve also really enjoyed the series. It’s been fun to read. And with word that book 16 (!) would finally, truly be the last book in the series, I was both excited to see how it ends, and sad for it all to be over.
So. At the start of the book, the girls – Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily – know for sure that Ali is alive; her accomplice, Nick, has been arrested; and the girls will be on trial for Ali’s murder. Oh dear! Strange things happen: Aria flees the country, and Noel follows her, but then they’re caught and sent back home; Hanna and her boyfriend Mike get married; Spencer’s mother is so overwhelmingly awful to her; and Emily fakes her suicide in order to go track down Ali – which she does, and it’s related very quickly over a couple of brief chapters, over halfway into the book and after Hanna, Spencer, and Aria have been convicted and sent to prison.
Look, after 16 books, I was ready for the implausible twists and turns in this story. I was so happy though to see that much of the story’s focus was on the real friendship between the four girls.
I also liked the reappearance of characters from earlier in the series, even if they were only briefly mentioned by name, like Wren, Ezra, Mona, and Jenna.
I feel fairly…okay about this book. It wrapped everything up pretty definitely (although it seems that they couldn’t resist leaving us with a somewhat ominous ending). I liked that the girls were able to move on with their lives and grow up, but I guess I was hoping for more of a showdown between Ali and the girls. I also liked that of all the girls, Emily was the one to track Ali down and bring her to justice, but it all seemed to happen so quickly.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this series over the years. It wasn’t a perfect ending for me, but was a pretty happy one for Aria, Hanna, Emily, and Spencer.