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Wanted: A Pretty Little Liars Novel by Sara Shepard

Back during the days when seventh grade was ending and summer break was beginning for Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Emily, and... Ali, a third DiLaurentis child came to Rosewood – Courtney, Ali's twin sister. Her parents wanted to see if all of Courtney's time in mental hospitals had helped her readjust. If so, she would come home and live with her family for good... only things didn't go as planned. Instead, Ali was murdered, and the DiLaurentises shipped Courtney back to the institution, and no one, especially not the Pretty Little Liars, were any the wiser.

Or is this really what happened?

Rather, maybe Courtney had come home briefly between hospitals during the same week when the girls had tried to steal Ali's time capsule flag. When confronted about their plotting, it had really been Courtney who talked to them, while, at the same time, Ali was mistaken for her twin and taken away to the institution. For two years, Courtney pretended to be her sister, dramatically dropping Ali's friends and taking up Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily has her new BFF's. When it was actually Ali who came home to see if she had adjusted to the real world in order to live with her family, she killed her sister, went away as Courtney, and then eventually came back as Courtney again... only to reveal to the Liars that she – as Ali – was back; it had been Courtney who died in that gazebo hole.

Confused yet?

Either way, there are two glaring facts: one, the girls were duped – big time, and, two, no one should ever trust a DiLaurentis... except Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily again made the same mistakes in
Wanted that they made as middle school students, playing directly into Ali... and, seeing as how they were the same person, A's hands. Apparently, the girls haven't heard of a very important maxim: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Aria was the only one who didn't immediately rush blindly forward to be Ali's friend for a second time, but even she, too, caved once Ali set her up to believe that Aria's boyfriend had cheated on her... with and unwilling Ali. And Ali played similar tricks with the other girls as well, alienating them from everyone else but her and making sure that they were firmly under her control. She convinced Spencer that Melissa had killed Courtney; she made Hanna a laughing stock again with Kate, Riley, and Naomi; and she seduced Emily so that Emily believed Ali wanted to be with her romantically, too. All the while, she was planning her ultimate revenge.

Of all the books so far, of all the mistakes that Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily have made since the body was first discovered beneath the DiLaurentises' gazebo foundation, the mistakes they stumbled through in
Wanted were probably their worst, their most glaring. While forgiveness is an admirable thing, it isn't if it is offered blindly, foolishly, and that's exactly what the Liars offered Ali. Somehow, they seemed to immediately forget all those horrible, nasty things she had done to them when they were friends. They forgot what an expert liar, manipulator, and devious plotter she was. In fact, even before she had befriended them and used their secrets against them, she had essentially acted as though they were nonexistent. No matter which version of her story Alison fed them, the girls never should have fallen for her lies for a second time... yet they did, and, evidently, they're not done acting so gullibly. With no body yet to be found in the remains of the DiLaurentises' cabin, the Liars should not be settling so comfortably into their lives; they should never stop looking over their shoulders. Because of their naivete, it took a little joy out of reading Wanted. Perhaps the only good thing that has come out of Ali and A's mess in this book is the fact that the girls have finally really and truly become friends, and they are also getting their family lives back in order. But how long will the peace, quiet, and contentment last; how soon before A – whether Ali or someone new – strikes again?

Three out of Five Stars

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