In Rosewood, majestic estates sprawl for acres, and Tiffany toggle bracelets dangle from every girl's wrist. But not all that glitters is gold, and the town harbors secrets darker than anyone could imagine-like the truth about what really happened the night Alison DiLaurentis went missing. . . .
Back in middle school, Ali plucked Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer from obscurity and turned them into the beautiful, popular girls everyone wanted to be. Ali was the best friend they ever had. But she also made them do terrible things and taunted them with their worst secrets. Now, three years later, all their questions about Ali have finally been answered and they can put this awful chapter of their lives behind them. Or so they think. Not every story has a happy ending, especially when four pretty little liars have done so many wicked things. Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer could get everything they've ever wanted-unless A has one more horrifying twist in store.
Ok everyone, this is it! This is the book where we get the answers that we have been looking for-and a lot more besides! Why did Alison suddenly dump her friends and raise these four girls up to instant popularity? (I had felt that this was somehow important in the story but I just could not work it out!)Why did Alison bond with Jenna over sibling problems? Who did the girls see at the fire that night? Who is the new 'A'? Where is Ian? Who killed Alison? Who killed Jenna? So the spoilers are all through this review, be warned!
The girls are shocked to discover that Alison has a living twin sister called Courtney, who suffers from mental illness and spent most of her life in the institution, other than a few home visits. This is why Iris knew so much about the family and Alison's friends. 'Courtney' reaches out to the four girls to tell them that SHE is really Alison and that the killer got Courtney, who was home that weekend. Alison says she was sent to the institution, assumed to be Courtney while the killer murdered Courtney and hid the body, assuming her to be Alison. The question for our liars is: are they looking at Alison or Courtney?
Emily is sure that this is Alison as her crush on her friend jumps back to life. Aria is less sure and is only concerned with staying away from her and the fact that her boyfriend Noel seems smitten by whichever sister it is. Alison/Courtney does step in to teach Kate a lesson for picking on Hanna and telling everyone about Hanna being locked up. She also proves to Aria that Noel is a potential cheat and the girls are united in their belief that this is their Alison. Spencer is the one playing detective, worried that is was Melissa who was the killer all along.
The truth of course is more complicated than the girls could possibly imagine. Here we go! The weekend that Courtney came home, she tricked her parents into believing that SHE was Alison so that her popular sister was sent to the institute. This gave Courtney the chance to have a normal life and be the favoured sister. Courtney could not hang out with Alison's best friends for fear of them realising something was wrong so Courtney picked four new friends-the four hanging around Alison's house to steal the flag, who Alison never gave the time of day to. It was Courtney who kept the diary, Courtney who had sympathy for Jenna as they both had sibling issues, Courtney who seduced Ian. The night of the hypnosis, the killer found Courtney leaving the sleepover. So the liars were never really friends with Alison at all. The girl they knew as Alison was her sister. This explains how their friend was so good to them yet had that nasty streak that led them into trouble.
The killer of course was the REAL Alison, full of rage at her family for sending her to the institute, determined to get Courtney back for the trick. Alison is the blonde who spied on the sleepover, who saw Courtney leave and challenged her-seen by Ian as we already know, and Alison who killed and buried Courtney. However it didn't go all to plan as she ended up back in the institute until now. And she has been on quite the killing spree since she came home with poor Jenna being one of her victims.
If I saw the evil twin plot in a film I'd roll my eyes and scream but in the book it does work in a way. Rich people are less likely to admit to having the less than perfect daughter and would be happy to lock her up out of sight. It was an interesting twist but I did have issues with it. Firstly, the parents not recognising their daughters. OK if they hardly see Courtney, surely they would know the difference between her and Alison without relying on a ring? We are told that Courtney was forever pretending to be Alison so surely they would have checked before just sending one back! What kind of parents are they???
I'm pretty sure that Alison would look a lot happier and healthier having the pampered rich lifestyle compared to Courtney in a grim institute!A few simple questions about school and things could have sorted that out. And they didn't notice anything odd about Courtney as she impersonates Alison all that time???
However, we do get some positive stuff. Hanna's mother comes back and throws out the evil step-things who made Hanna's life miserable. Yea! Take that Kate you bitch! Spencer and Melissa finally decide to be friends as well as sisters-at least until Spencer tries to steal Melissa's next boyfriend. Harmony arrives at Spencer's home! Aria finally gets her mother's creepy boyfriend out of her life. Emily has lost her first love all over again so who knows which way she will go with her next crush.
What next? This is my concern. The story was explained and tied up yet there are more books in the series. Hmmm, I'm not sure about this. I think they have pretty much done all they can with the story and should perhaps have stopped at the end of this book. Surely Ali isn't still alive?