Why “Pretty Little Liars” Has This Adult Mystery Lover Hooked…


A Review of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” by Tiffany A. White

The insurgence of YA mysteries on TV these days receives a DVR priority in this Young Adult mystery writer’s house. Thankfully, ABC Family provides young mystery lovers (and some of us “old”) with a few great soap-opera style whodunits… with Pretty Little Liars topping the list.

The series begins when Alison DiLaurentis’ remains are found a year after her mysterious disappearance in the fictional town of Rosewood. This event brings together her four former best friends (Aria Montgomery, played by Lucy Hale; Hanna Marin, played by Ashley Bensen; Spencer Hastings, played by Troian Bellisario; and Emily Fields, played by Shay Mitchell), who had drifted apart following that fateful night. Alison was the glue that held the girls together, the leader of the high school clique.

After attending Alison’s funeral, the four friends reunite outside the chapel when each of their cell phones sound—they’ve received their first threatening text message from “A”—and the mystery begins.

The ongoing questions have me hooked: Who killed Alison? Who is leading the “A” team? How do they have so much dirt on Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily? Why do they continue to torture these girls—what could they have possibly done to deserve this?

Over the course of four seasons, and with one spinoff under its belt (Ravenswood), Pretty Little Liars has taken the art of a whodunit and masterfully played its viewers. At one point or another, every single character has raised my suspicions as to whether or not he or she was actually “A” – including Alison herself. And although I’ve never believed any of the four best friends to be “A,” with the exception of Spencer at one time, I have suspected many close to the girls.

At one point, I figured one could only assume that the “A” team was composed of primarily teens (including characters like Hanna’s other friend, Mona, or Spencer’s boyfriend, Toby for example) and young adults (like Spencer’s sister, Melissa, or Aria’s on-again-off-again teacher/boyfriend, Ezra Fitz), so how is it that they (The “A” team) know the deep-dark secrets of the girls’ families too? No one is safe on this show; not the teens, not the parents, and I love it!

And that is the beauty of Pretty Little Liars. But what’s even better about the show? They don’t make us wait long before every single suspicion is answered. It’s just maybe not without additional twists and turns…

As many of us know, a TV show isn’t much of a success without conflict—especially not mysteries. And each of the girls has oodles and oodles of conflict surrounding them individually, even without “A’s” threatening their every move. Throw in the suspicions the police and their parents have regarding their involvement in Alison’s murder, and the lies they continuously try to hide despite “A’s” best efforts, and Pretty Little Liars doesn’t bore its viewers.

Despite the fact that I’m in my thirties, I tune in every single week to watch these little teenagers scurry around, playing detective, trying their best to solve their BFF’s disappearance, and hoping to discover the true identity of the creepy texter known only as “A.” Pretty Little Liars is one of my favorite programs on TV today… and seriously… there is so much more that I didn’t even mention!


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2014 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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