A sent Hanna to a mental institution and Emily to Amish country. She... or he... led Spencer to believe that her mother killed Ali and Aria into holding a séance where its supposedly revealed that Ali committed suicide. Only, like always when A is involved, the clues are given with one twisted hand and then taken away with the other. However, despite this – despite the fact that A is terrorizing the girls to the point where Aria has declared A to be their worst enemy, A is also the only person, apparently, who is willing to tell the girls the truth... or at least some of it through cryptic texts and manipulations.
By sending Hanna to the institution, A revealed that maybe Ali had once been a patient there. Meanwhile, Emily learned that Wilden had once been Amish and that his Amish girlfriend had disappeared around the same time as Ali while she was visiting Lancaster. Similarly, through A's games, Spencer learned of her father's affair with Alison's mother and discovered that Alison was her half sister, and Aria received clues that perhaps all was not what it seemed concerning the DiLaurentis family, especially Ali and her brother Jason. While these revelations clear former suspects' names – including the Liars', they also make the Rosewood Police Department's latest arrest of Billy Ford questionable. If nothing else, though, one thing is certain: there are still plenty of secrets being kept by and kept from Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily.
Maybe readers don't know yet who A is, and perhaps Billy Ford really isn't even Ali's killer, but Heartless was probably the most intense, most revealing book of the series thus far. And the best part is that, once the secrets are exposed, it seems like they should have been obvious all along. While you might be shocked by a truth, you're not necessarily surprised. Everything fits so precisely together that, once all the intricate pieces are out in the open, they click seamlessly into place. One has to wonder and marvel at Shepard's meticulous plotting of the series. This is just another reason – perhaps the biggest – why these books are so addicting.
Note: I think Noel – and Aria's – reference to Poe's “The Fall of the House of Usher” is an important once. Perhaps it's a clue from Shepard to her readers rather than what is usually provided – those from A to the Liars.
Four out of Five Stars
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