Cover Girl: Aria Montgomery (portrayed by Olga Alexandrovskaia)
Tag Line: It’s not bragging if it’s true.
Previous Book: Flawless (#2)
Back Blurb: In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four perfect-looking girls aren’t nearly as perfect as they seem.
Aria can’t resist her forbidden ex. Hanna is on the verge of losing her BFF. Emily is freaking out over a simple kiss. And Spencer can’t keep her hands off anything that belongs to her sister.
Lucky me. I know these pretty little liars better than they know themselves. But it’s hard keeping all of their secrets to myself. They better do as I say…or else! -A
Keep Your Friends Close….
Rosewood, PA, three years ago. The Liars are at Spencer’s for a sleepover. Artsy Aria has been on a filmmaking kick and decides that the girls should film a talk show. Ali will be a celebrity and Spencer will be the host. Ali starts texting but won’t tell the girls who it is. When she leaves to use the restroom, Spencer says, “Don’t you just want to kill her sometimes?” The others are surprised, because nobody badmouths Ali. The girls understand her frustration though; Ali has been keeping a lot of secrets from them lately. She’s also been ditching them for her older field hockey friends, and they’re afraid if they lose Ali, they’ll lose their friendship and popularity. Aria turns the camera on when Spencer suggests they read Ali’s texts. They try to break the code on her phone, but can’t get in. Ali reappears and is angry when she catches the girls with her phone.
Melissa and her boyfriend Ian walk in. All the girls, especially Spencer, start flirting with Ian. He asks if he can be in their film. Spencer says she’ll interview him with Ali. Ali cuts in and asks if Ian wants to hook up with any of his teachers in a parking lot, making a reference to catching Aria’s father in an affair. The others don’t know about that, so they don’t understand. Melissa calls for Ian to come help her, so Spencer tries to keep him busy by asking more questions. Ian goes on about base-jumping while Ali sits by his side, looking bored.
Less than a week later, Ali goes missing. The girls are all questioned by the police separately about what happened that night, when they had the sleepover in Spencer’s barn. It was a strange night. Ali tried hypnotizing the other girls, she and Spencer got into an argument about the blinds over the windows, and then she left and never came back. The police ask if anybody wanted to hurt Ali. Hanna, Aria, and Emily all thought the same thing but never said it: Spencer might have. She even said she wanted to kill her sometimes. But would she? Sure, Spencer was angry at Ali, but weren’t they all? After all, Ali had everything. They were all envious of her. But she was ditching them for her other friends. Maybe they did hate her for that, but that doesn’t mean any of them would really want her gone, right?
1. Spencer’s Hard Work Pays Off
Present day. It’s been a month since Ali’s body was found and three weeks since Toby Cavanaugh committed suicide. None of the girls have received any more notes from A. Mrs. Hastings has insisted that Spencer see Melissa’s old therapist because of the trauma she’s been through with Ali and Toby, and because of what happened with Wren. Spencer is surprised because she actually enjoys her therapy session with Dr. Evans. The two talk about the rocky relationship that Spencer has with Melissa. After her appointment, Mrs. H has some exciting news: Spencer has been nominated for a Golden Orchid, which is a prestigious essay contest, equivalent to a high school Oscar. Mrs. H has arranged for the Philadelphia Sentinal to do an interview and photo shoot with her. Melissa is obviously jealous but tries to play it cool; she is the perfect sister, but has never accomplished anything this huge. Spencer, however, is horrified: she stole an old essay from Melissa and passed it off as her own. A had tricked her into doing it. Does Melissa know?
2. Just Another Sexually Charged Day in AP English
Ezra has assigned The Scarlet Letter and is having a literary discussion. Hanna makes a comment about Aria stealing her boyfriend, and the two start squabbling. After class, Ezra asks Aria if she’s ok. She trips over her bag and he catches her, and for a moment she thinks he may be into her again.
3. There’s No Such Thing as Bad Press
Hanna and Mona are at Steam, the local coffee bar, planning their Frenniversary and Mona’s upcoming birthday party at the Hollis Planetarium. The party will be extravagant and Mona wants to have a court, similar to a homecoming court, but Hanna will be the only girl on it. Naomi and Riley come in and make comments about Hanna bingeing, so the two loudly fire back with cruel insults.
4. No Wonder Emily’s Mom is So Strict
Emily has a few hours to sneak away with Maya before her mom gets home. They meet at their usual spot, the creek in the woods. Maya says everyone’s been talking about a stalker running through Rosewood, peeping into windows. She proposes that she and Emily take their relationship to the next level and make it public. Emily doesn’t have to come out, but they should hang out together at school and each other’s houses instead of just meeting at the creek. Mrs. Fields forbids her from hanging out with Maya because she’s black, but Emily doesn’t want to tell Maya that because it will hurt her. She also isn’t ready for people to know that she’s gay.
5. Aria’s All For Literary Reenactments
Byron sends Aria a text, asking if they can meet at Hollis at 4:30. Aria is upset and doesn’t respond. She’s still angry at what her dad did, and the fact that her parents are now split up. She decides that Meredith is a homewrecker and needs to be punished like Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter. She has Sean drive her to Hollis and instead of going to meet Byron, she goes into Meredith’s art classroom. She grabs a brush, dips it in red paint, and runs over to Meredith. Before Meredith can react, Aria paints a large A on Meredith’s shirt and runs off.
6. Sibling Rivalry’s a Hard Habit to Break
Spencer is at field hockey practice when Melissa shows up to visit Ian, who’s the coach. Melissa mentions the Golden Orchid, and Ian is impressed. He makes a comment about the Hastings sisters being smart, beautiful, and athletic, and compliments Spencer on her playing. Melissa doesn’t appreciate this. Melissa defends that she is a better player than Spencer. Spencer says she agrees, and Melissa seems confused because Spencer said something nice to her. Melissa takes off and Ian tells Spencer that Spencer is a much better player than Melissa, and he meant everything else he said. Spencer suspects that Melissa knows about the essay, but is flattered because Ian is flirting with her.
7. Nothing Like an Old-Fashioned Interrogation
Hanna heads home to change before the Frenniversary dinner. She has some unexpected guests: Detective Wilden, and the three other Liars. Wilden says the talk show video they shot three years ago has been leaked to the press. When Ali went missing, Aria had turned in all her videos so they could search for clues, but they weren’t supposed to be made public. Wilden says the police are reviewing the videos again because they have reason to believe Ali’s killer is from Rosewood, so they want to restart the investigation by talking to those that knew her best: the Liars. Mona calls Hanna and says she is already at the restaurant, and Hanna tries to explain that she’ll be late. She says she’s with the other girls and Mona gets angry. Before Hanna can explain, Mona tells her to forget about Frenniversary, and Wilden grabs Hanna’s phone and hangs up on Mona.
Hanna is livid, but her mom is dating Wilden to keep Hanna out of trouble for shoplifting, so she has to do what he says. He says that Toby wrote a suicide note and mentioned Ali keeping a secret for him because he kept a secret for her. Wilden wants to know what Ali’s secret was. The secret was The Jenna Thing, but the Liars insist that they don’t know. Wilden reminds Hanna that she thought Toby killed Ali. Spencer clarifies that Toby liked Ali, but she didn’t like him. He used to spy on her, so maybe that has something to do with the secrets.
Wilden then asks Spencer about the night Ali went missing, alluding to the fact that Spencer and Ali got into a fight after Ali tried hypnotizing them. Hanna recalls that night: Ali had succeeded in hypnotizing her; she had woken up feeling very disoriented and saw Spencer standing in the doorway of the barn, and Ali was gone.
The Liars offer a few names of kids Ali had been hanging out with and confirm that she had been acting strange. Hanna remembers a time when she and Ali were at a Phillies game and Ali was angry because she was waiting for a text or email and never got it. Wilden gets a call so steps away, and Emily insists that they have to tell him about The Jenna Thing. The others disagree and Emily says she’ll leave everyone out of it, but she’s going to tell Wilden because it’s the right thing to do. Just then, all four Liars receive the same text: You really thought I was gone? Puh-lease. I’ve been watching you this whole time. In fact, I might be watching you right now. And girls–-if you tell ANYONE about me, you’ll be sorry. -A
8. It’s Always Good to Read the Book Before Stealing From It
Aria gets home and leaves Emily a voicemail, begging her not to tell Wilden. A outed Aria’s secret, and now her parents are split up. She doesn’t know what Emily’s secret is, but she knows that A will hurt Emily. Mike is watching TV and the video the Liars made with Ali appears on the news. Mike hears the part where Ali asks if Ian wants to hook up with any of his teachers, and Mike automatically knows it was directed towards Aria. He gets angry, realizing that Aria knew about the affair years ago and that Ali knew too. He leaves the room when Ella comes in. Aria tells her about painting the A on Meredith’s chest to punish her, and that she did it for Ella. Ella is appalled at Aria’s stunt, and tells her she should probably leave and get out of the house for a while, essentially kicking her out. Aria doesn’t want to upset her mother anymore, so she agrees to leave.
9. Everyone, a Big Round of Applause for Spencer Hastings!
Spencer is in the yearbook room when she starts thinking about Wilden’s questions. Wilden wasn’t the first cop to question her about Ali’s disappearance, but he was the first one who seemed suspicious of Spencer. She tries to recall that night, but it’s unclear: she remembers feeling a lot of different emotions and being upset at Ali for threatening to tell Melissa about Spencer kissing Ian. She remembers when Ali tried to hypnotize them, then she and Ali got into a fight, Spencer running after her…and then nothing. The memory seems to stop there. It’s like there was a black hole in the middle of the night and she didn’t know what happened. She has never admitted it to anyone. Suddenly, she sees a vision in her mind of Ali laughing nastily and turning away. Could it be a missing memory of that night?
Later, Spencer is in Econ class when her teacher announces that she has made it to the finals for the Golden Orchid. Andrew Campbell, who she had dumped at Foxy, congratulates her and asks what extra sources she used for her essay. Spencer becomes suspicious. Does Andrew know? Then she gets a text from A: Spence: I know what you did. But I won’t tell if you do EXACTLY what I say. Wanna know what happens if you don’t? Go to Emily’s swim meet…and you’ll see. -A
10. Someone Didn’t Listen
Emily finishes her relay in the big swim meet against Drury Academy. She had made an appointment with Wilden for after the meet to tell him about The Jenna Thing. She heads into the locker room and Coach Lauren tells her a recruiter from the University of Arizona is there and wants to meet with her. Excited, she tries to tell Carolyn, but Carolyn ignores her and walks away. Emily then notices that people are giving her strange looks. Mona catches her on her way back to the natatorium and gives her an invitation to her birthday party. Emily is surprised because she and Mona aren’t friends. She then notices that there’s a piece of paper taped to the wall across the pool that hadn’t been there during her race. She goes to look at it and realizes in horror that it’s one of the photos of her kissing Maya from the photo booth. Underneath is a note, undoubtedly from A: LOOK WHAT EMILY FIELDS HAS BEEN PRACTICING WHEN SHE’S NOT IN THE POOL!
Aria comes over and asks Emily if that’s her. Emily looks around and sees that almost everyone in the natatorium is holding the same flyer. They’re everywhere, in everyone’s hands and strewn all over the floor. She spots her ex-boyfriend Ben across the room smirking at her. Then she gets a text: Emily, sweetie, I know you’re all about tit for tat, so when you made plans to out me, I decided to out you too. Kisses! -A
Emily looks up and spots her parents in the stands. Both of them are holding a flyer and look like they’re about to cry. Aria tells Emily that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and this also means that A is there. Emily is too upset to think about finding A, so she runs back into the locker room.
11. Even High-Tech Security Doesn’t Protect You From Everything
Aria goes outside and meets with Spencer and Hanna. They’ve heard the news. Aria insists on looking for A, but Spencer says they shouldn’t because A might do something worse. She says she has to go and takes off. Aria jokes to Hanna that Spencer ran off like she was A. Then she thinks that Spencer is right–-A might do something worse if they search the stands. Suddenly Mike butts in and asks Aria if she’s moving to Sean’s, which she had arranged the night before. Hanna is enraged at the news and takes off. Aria yells at Mike, but he’s still mad about the fact that Aria knew about the affair and didn’t say anything, and now it’s on the news because of Aria’s video. He takes off and she doesn’t go after him.
Later that night, Aria goes to Sean’s house. His family is completely different from hers, but they are very welcoming. She heads to the guest room, flips on the news, and checks her email. She’s got a new message: Aria: Don’t you think Sean should know about the extra-credit work you did with a certain English teacher? Real relationships are built on truth, after all. -A.
Aria hears a noise outside just as the story of the Rosewood Stalker comes on the news. Is the stalker outside? Or is it A? She gets another email: P.S. I may be a bitch, but I’m not a murderer. Here’s a clue for the clueless: someone wanted something of Ali’s. The killer is closer than you think. -A
12. Ah, Court Life
Hanna tracks down Mona at the mall, hoping they’re still on for their dress fitting for her birthday court. Mona hadn’t responded to her texts, but Hanna is hoping that she can explain why she was with her old friends and smooth things over with Mona. To her dismay, Mona is at Rive Gauche, where they were supposed to have their Frenniversary, with Naomi and Riley. Hanna demands to know why those girls are there, and Mona says she’s surprised that Hanna still wants to be on her court, considering she’s so busy with her old friends. Hanna says of course she does and wonders why Naomi and Riley were there. She and Mona hated them. Then she realizes that Mona is probably just fake-friending them; she’s got to have something in store for them. Naomi and Riley announce that they have a fitting for the new Zac Posen dress Mona picked out and the three take off. Hanna tries to go after them but drops her purse and everything in it falls out.
As she’s picking everything up, their server appears. It’s Lucas Beattie. In seventh grade, he’d been popular and had a crush on Hanna. Then a rumor that he was a hermaphrodite began circulating and he became an instant dork. He sent Hanna some Valentine’s candy, but she never thanked him. Now, he tells her that Mona and the girls took off without paying the bill. Hanna pays the bill to cover for Mona, then rushes to meet her, who had just texted to ask if she’s coming to the fitting. Then Hanna gets another text: Dear Hanna, We may not be friends, but we have the same enemies. So here are two tips: One of your old friends is hiding something from you. Something big. And Mona? She’s not your friend, either. So watch your back. -A
13. Hello, My Name is Emily. And I’m Gay.
Emily walks into her house, where her parents are waiting for her. They have company: A woman named Edith from an organization called Tree Tops. It’s a program that “rehabilitates” kids who think they’re gay. She says that being gay is a sickness, it’s not permanent, but they can cure her. Emily is shocked. Her parents insist that she make a meeting to talk to one of the counselors. They are embarrassed and say what Emily does is a reflection on them. If Emily doesn’t complete the Tree Tops program successfully and not be gay, they’re going to send her to live with her extremely religious Aunt Helene who lives on a farm in Iowa.
14. Spencer’s Big Close-Up
Today is Spencer’s big interview and photo shoot for the Golden Orchid story. Spencer is getting ready at her vanity mirror, looking at a picture of the Liars and Ali taken on a yacht, when she gets a text: Need another warning, Spence? Ali’s murderer is right in front of you. -A. What could this mean? Could Ali’s murderer be one of her friends?
Melissa comes into her room, letting her the know that the reporter is there. Spencer suddenly has a vision: Ali is accusing Spencer of reading her diary. Spencer is telling her that she would never read her diary because she doesn’t care. The vision dissipates quickly.
The interviewer, Jordana, shows up. Melissa tries desperately to get some of the attention focused on her, but fails. The article is going to be featured on the front page of the paper. Spencer goes to change clothes, and finds a note stuck to one of the garment bags: Dear Ms. Finalist, How’d you like it if I told your secret RIGHT NOW? I can, you know. And if you don’t watch it, maybe I will. -A
15. Never, Ever Trust Something as Obsolete as a Fax Machine
To get back in Mona’s good graces, Hanna plans an elaborate birthday gift for her. She’s sitting outside by the soccer field during lunchtime, waiting for Mona to arrive. She starts scrolling through her old texts from Ali that she saved, and sees one that disturbs her. Ali had written: You don’t tell Spencer no. She’ll, like, hurt you. She recalls the only time she ever saw Ali cry. It was when all the girls went to see a play and Ali got into an argument with Spencer. Hanna starts wondering if Spencer could be hiding something.
Mona arrives just in time to see Hanna’s gift: Hanna had arranged for a biplane to skywrite the words Get ready to party with Mona! above the soccer field. Hanna is horrified when the plane actually writes Get ready to FART with Mona! instead. Mona is mortified. She thinks Hanna did it deliberately and uninvites her to the party. Mona takes off and Hanna looks back up at the message. All the letters have disappeared except for an A.
16. Someone’s Been Kissing in the Kiln….
Emily is on her way to meet the counselor from Tree Tops when Maya pulls her into the art studio. She tells Maya about Tree Tops and her parents’ threat to send her to Iowa. Maya argues that she should just tell her parents the truth about who she really is, but Emily can’t because her parents aren’t like Maya’s. Emily knows she has no choice but to do what her parents say, so she tells Maya she can’t see her anymore.
Emily meets the counselor, Becka, in the church by the school. Emily asks her questions about what it’s like being gay, and starts thinking that if she really is, her entire life is going to be more difficult. People won’t accept her. She decides she has to give the program a try, because she is terrified of how people will treat her if she’s really gay. She and Becka agree that Emily needs to hang out with some people who have gone through the same thing, so they make plans to go ice-skating on Saturday with one of Becka’s friends.
17. Because All Cheesy Relationship Moments Happen in Cemeteries
Aria and Sean are taking a bike ride through Rosewood when they pass the St. Basil’s cemetery. Aria used to love going in there, so they walk in to take a look. Aria is horrified when she sees an open plot and a headstone for Alison DiLaurentis. Ali hadn’t been buried yet because the coroner was still investigating her remains. Sean tries to make her feel better by suggesting a couple’s game for them, but that makes Aria feel worse because she doesn’t want to be half of a cutesy, lovey-dovey couple.
18. A Good Smack Upside the Head Never Hurt Anyone
Spencer is at Dr. Evans’, discussing her relationships with Melissa and Ali. Dr. Evans suggests that Spencer feels guilty because she was angry at Ali and wanted something bad to happen to her, then Ali was murdered, and Spencer feels responsible. Spencer tells her about the memory of Ali that keeps popping up, so Dr. Evans says she could try hypnotizing her to see if the memory comes back. Spencer lies down, falls under the hypnosis, and recalls the memory: The night Ali went missing, Ali was accusing Spencer of trying to steal something from her, something Spencer read about in her diary. Spencer denies reading Ali’s diary, and Ali tells her she’s delusional. Spencer feels rage and pushes Ali, who then says that they’re not friends anymore. The memory starts to fade. All Spencer can see is Ali moving her mouth but she can’t hear the words. She hears a loud crack, but nothing else.
When she wakes up, Spencer notices that the window in Dr. Evans’ office is now open. She goes to wait in the car while Melissa has her appointment with Dr. Evans and tries to make sense of the memory. She looks up and sees a person standing behind a truck in the parking lot, staring at her. Before she can see who it is, the person takes off into the dark.
19. It’s Better Than a Sign Saying, “Kick Me”
The next day, there’s a fire drill during Hanna’s chem lab. She follows the other students into the parking lot and overhears some girls talking about her, that she’s always at the police station, and that Mona uninvited her to her birthday party. Hanna is hurt and decides to confront Mona. She asks if Mona has been talking about her, and if she thinks she’s a loser, and Mona just says that she hasn’t said anything that’s not true. Mona walk off to join Naomi and Riley, and Hanna feels like she’s about to cry so she goes to the nearest restroom.
As she’s hiding in the stall, Lucas walks in and calls for her. Humiliated, she realizes she walked into the boys’ room. She spills to Lucas all the drama with Mona, and Lucas suggests a surprise to cheer her up. He says he’ll pick her up tomorrow morning, not as a date, but as friends, of course. Feeling better, she leaves the restroom and notices somebody had stuck a Post-it on her back that said, Feel sorry for me. She turns the note over and it says: Hanna: Remember when you saw Mona leaving the Bill Beach plastic surgery clinic? Hello, lipo! But shh! You didn’t hear it from me. -A
20. Life Imitates Art
During lunch, Aria goes to Ezra’s office to ask him for an extension on the paper for The Scarlet Letter because she doesn’t like the book. The book reminds her too much of her family life. She starts to cry and tells Ezra everything about what’s going on with her parents. He tells her about when he caught his mom cheating on his dad with her oncologist. She asks him if he has a girlfriend in New York, and he admits that he did, but they broke up over the summer. He starts kissing her but then she remembers Sean and gets up to leave. On her way out, someone had written on the white board outside Ezra’s office: Careful, careful! I’m always watching! Here’s a second hint: You all knew every inch of her backyard. But for one of you, it was so, so easy. -A
21. What Does H-O-L-Y C-R-A-P Spell?
Spencer is out to dinner with her parents, celebrating her photo shoot. The server mentions the Rosewood Stalker, and Mrs. Hastings says she swore someone was watching her when she took Spencer and Melissa to the doctor the other day. Spencer has been plagued by her missing memory, so she asks her parents if there’s ever been an incident when she had temporary amnesia. Spencer is horrifies when Mrs. H admits that when Spencer was younger, she had taken her and Melissa to an exhibit and Philly and were mugged on the way out. The mugger had a gun and told the girls to lie down on the ground and count to 100 before they got up. They were all terrified. When they got home, Spencer came down with a horrible fever and Mrs. H took her to the ER. They had to miss watching Melissa in the national spelling bee. Melissa went the family of one of her rivals, Yolanda, who was bullying her. After getting sick, Spencer had forgotten the whole incident with the mugger, as if it never happened. After hearing this news, Spencer is suddenly terrified. What if she had more blackouts? Why had she blacked out the night Ali disappeared? What if she had done something terrible? She then realizes she knows who she’s afraid of: herself.
22. There’s No Place Like Rosewood–-From 3,000 Feet Up
Lucas picks up Hanna Friday early Friday morning. His surprise is that he’s talking her up in a hot air balloon. He’s getting his pilot’s license and has a license to fly balloons. Hanna actually has a really great time. She kind of likes Lucas because he’s so boyishly clueless. They fly over Mona’s house, where she and Mona had spray-painted HM + MV = BBBBBFF on the top of her garage. Lucas tells her about when his brother tried to commit suicide, and she tells him about her bulimia. She also slips about the notes from A, but decides it’s safe up there. A would never find out, and Lucas won’t tell anybody. Lucas tells her Alison had started a rumor that he was a hermaphrodite and it ruined his social life. He also admits he thinks Hanna is so pretty, but then apologizes for overstepping the friend boundary. He’s not invited to Mona’s party either, so he suggests they hang out together instead. She agrees.
23. The Rosebushes Have Eyes
At lunch, Emily is eating in the school’s greenhouse when Maya approaches her. The greenhouse is packed, and all the boys are flirting with Emily because they think she’s a hot lesbian. Maya keeps insisting she and Emily stay together, but Emily refuses because she is afraid of the consequences, mainly being shipped to Iowa. When Emily spots Carolyn looking at her and Maya, she tells Maya to leave. Maya instead asks her to meet her at Mona’s party. Emily says no. Maya stomps off and Emily notices that a note left on the greenhouse window: I see you. -A
24. And in Another Garden Across Town…
Spencer is working in her mother’s garden when Ian shows up. He says he’s there to see Melissa but starts flirting with Spencer. He asks her how she feels about he and Melissa getting back together, and she recalls the reason she and Ali were fighting was because she had kissed Ian. He also mentions Melissa told him that Spencer is in therapy, and during her last session, Melissa heard her screaming. Spencer is horrified. This must have been during her hypnosis and she doesn’t remember it.
25. Special Delivery for Hanna Marin
Hanna hasn’t gotten any text or phone calls and is convinced that her Blackberry is broken, so she takes it to T-Mobile. She decides to buy a new one but doesn’t back up her info because it can’t be done at that location. While she’s paying for the phone, Mona and Eric Kahn walk in. Hanna approaches her and tells her about seeing the message they painted over the garage, and she’s so sorry for everything. There’s a lot going on that she can’t tell her about (A) but she promises to tell her soon. She tells Mona she wants things back to the way they were, but all Mona says is “Maybe. We’ll have to see.”
When Hanna gets home, Ms. Marin and Wilden are cuddling on the couch. Ms. M says a package arrived for her. There’s no return address, but inside is the champagne-colored Zac Posen dress for Mona’s birthday court. This could only mean one thing––Mona has forgiven her. She suddenly remembers her plans with Lucas. She HAS to go to Mona’s party, so she sends Lucas a snippy email letting him know there’s nothing going on between them. He’ll be upset, but Hanna has to save her friendship with Mona.
26. Spencer Gets in Hot Water…Literally and Figuratively
Spencer is relaxing in her hot tub when Melissa decides to join her. Melissa tells Spencer that Dr. Evans says she always chooses untrustworthy men to date. She knows Wren was an obvious one, but she thinks Ian might have been cheating on her in high school, and she thinks she knows who it was. Spencer doesn’t ask who, but recalls a time the Liars and Melissa had all gone paintballing with Ali. Ali had been threatening to tell Melissa about Spencer and Ian, and Spencer accidentally shot Ali point-blank with a paintball gun. Had Ali actually gone and told Melissa? Was Melissa just waiting for the right moment to drop it on Spencer?
Melissa asks Spencer if she knows who it was, but Spencer says no. Spencer thinks about when Melissa had to go to the spelling bee with Yolanda. What if Melissa had missed out on other things because of Spencer? She asks Melissa what she would do to the girl if she ever found out, and Melissa responds with, “Who says I haven’t done something to her already?”
27. Old Habits Die Hard
On Saturday, Aria is out for a bike ride, staking out her house, trying to get a glimpse of Ella and see if she’s alright. Sean calls her and tells her hurry back to get ready for Mona’s party. Ezra calls and she puts Sean on hold. Ezra asks if she can meet him. She tells Sean her mom called and she needs to do something for her, then hangs up on him. She heads over to Ezra’s and they start drinking Scotch. They decide they want to work things out, but Aria has a boyfriend, so she needs to deal with that situation first.
28. Some of Her Letters Also Spell JAIL
Spencer is getting ready to leave for Mona’s party when her parents ask her to stay a bit and play Scrabble. She agrees to stay a while. Mrs. Hastings pulls out a printout of Spencer’s interview from the newspaper. Melissa gets a text and starts reading it aloud. It’s the introduction to an essay Melissa wrote in high school, and she’s confused as to why someone would send that to her. Mr. H says that it’s Spencer’s essay that was nominated for the Golden Orchid. Melissa puts the pieces together and realizes Spencer stole her essay. She calls her a bitch and Spencer tries to explain. Their parents are shocked. The two girls start a screaming match, and Spencer tells Melissa to just go die. They run up the stairs and Spencer is so enraged that she shoves Melissa. She and Melissa both tumble down the stairs, but all Spencer can see is Ali. She remembers pushing her. Her vision clears and she sees Melissa in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, then everything goes black.
29. There’s a Full Moon at the Hollis Planetarium
Hanna staggers into the planetarium for Mona’s party. She’s wearing the Zac Posen dress, but it’s so tight that she can barely move. Did she gain weight, or was a size too small? She had it fitted, so she must have gained some weight. She notices Mona had several video cameras set up, and the ongoings of the party were being streamed up on a Jumbotron. She’s confused when she sees Naomi and Riley wearing green dresses, not the champagne-colored dress she had on. Mona approaches Hanna, wearing the same champagne-colored dress, and rudely asks why Hanna is there and where she got that dress. Hanna says Mona sent it to her, and Mona says the green dress is the court dress and the champagne dress is only for her, and not whales. Hanna is horrified. Not only does the dress make her look extremely fat, but this means A sent it to her, not Mona. Mona tells her to leave, but just then the seam of her dress rips up the side, exposing her bare butt. Mona tells the other girls to go, that this train wreck isn’t worth their time. Hanna shoots back that Mona looks a lot skinnier since getting lipo, but Mona isn’t phased. She denies it and walks away. Hanna then notices the entire scene was caught on film. She’s on the Jumbotron and the entire party can see her stuffed into the ripped dress like a sausage casing. Mortified, she screams and runs away. Lucas catches her on the way out, gives her a jacket to put on over her ruined dress, and leads her out.
30. Change is Good…Except When it’s Not
Emily meets Becka at the skating rink. Becka’s friend Wendy arrives and Emily tries to talk about Tree Tops, but the other two ditch her during a couples skate. Emily realizes that Becka really is gay and Wendy is her girlfriend. The whole thing was a cover up so Becka could see Wendy. Emily has a change of heart and asks them to drive her to Mona’s party so she can see Maya.
31. They Fought the Law and the Law Won
Aria fell asleep at Ezra’s and is awoken by a nightmare of Ali. She’s gone back to the day they filmed the talk show, and Ali is yelling at her to look because the answer is right in front of her. Aria doesn’t know what she means. She cuddles half-naked with Ezra until she calms down. Suddenly, somebody pounds on the front door and breaks it off the hinges. Three police officers burst inside and tell Ezra he is under arrest for sleeping with his student. Aria begs them to stop and they tell her they’ll deal with her next. They cuff Ezra and drag him out, naked except for a pair of boxers that have sausages and pancakes on them. Aria follows them outside and is shocked to see Sean standing by Ezra’s mailbox. He tells Aria he packed up all her stuff and there’s no way she’s coming back to his house. She asks him if he’s the one who called the police. He shows Aria some pictures that were sent to his phone of her and Ezra kissing. He says he figured he should call the cops to let them know. Aria tries to explain, but Sean won’t have it. She looks back at the pictures and sees a text: Dear Sean, I think someone’s girlfriend has a LOT of explaining to do. -A
32. Not-So-Secret Lovers
Emily calls her mom and tells her she’s staying the night with Becka, who agrees to cover for her and drive her to Maya’s party. Emily meets up with Maya and they head outside to the garden. They hold each other’s hands and Emily realizes it feels right. Everybody already knows, so in a sense, the hard part is over. Maya tells her she loves her, and Emily tells Maya she does too. Suddenly, Mrs. Fields comes running toward Emily, screaming at her. She says she got a call saying she was at the party and she lied to her. She tells Emily she’s not her daughter anymore. She’s going to call Emily’s aunt Helene in the morning. Emily refuses to let go of Maya, and screams at her mother, asking how she can hate her just because she’s different. Mrs. F stops crying and starts begging Emily to just go with her. Emily does, and then realizes that A had called her mom. She checks her cell and sure enough, she’s got a text from two hours ago: Em, I see you! And if you don’t stop it, I’m calling you-know-who. -A
33. Someone Slips Up. Big Time.
Lucas leads Hanna to a nearby room so she can change clothes. He admits he actually was invited to Mona’s party, but told Hanna he wasn’t because he wanted to hang out with her. Hanna is embarrassed, but she realizes that Lucas likes her. And she likes him too. She doesn’t feel self-conscious around him, like she can be the real Hanna without having to worry about how she looked, what she was eating, or what he’s thinking of her. She apologizes for ditching him, and they start kissing. When she leaves and is driving home, she gets a text: Oops, guess it wasn’t lipo! Don’t believe everything you hear! -A. Hanna notices that instead of an unknown ID, this text is from an actual phone number with a Rosewood area code. She hasn’t moved over her contacts to her new phone, but she recognizes the number. She knows who A is.
34. It’s Right There in Front of You
It’s 2:00 a.m. and Aria has nowhere to go, so she takes her stuff and heads to a local diner. She calls her mom but she doesn’t answer, so she leaves a message. She calls Byron, and he answers, but she hangs up when she hears Meredith in the background. She thinks of her dream and how A had said that Ali’s killer is closer than she thinks. She pulls out her laptop and watches some of her homemade films again. She notices a pattern in a few of them: Ali teases the other girls for things that there were rumors of later, like Hanna’s bulimia, and Emily liking girls. All these things were things that Ali and A seemed to know. Aria watches the talk show film again and notices something she hadn’t before: When Ali was close to the corner and almost offscreen, she and Ian were holding hands.
Aria has a realization: Spencer liked Ian. The big secret that Ali was keeping, about being with an older guy, that the guy had to be Ian. The night she went missing, Spencer chased Ali out of the barn. Her body was found not that far away, in a hole the workers were going to fill in with concrete in Ali’s yard. A had also said that the killer knew every inch of Ali’s backyard. Spencer must have killed Ali.
Frantic, she calls Emily and tells her she knows who killed Ali. Then Hanna is calling Emily, so she puts her on three-way. Hanna says she knows who A is. Emily says she’ll pick up Aria and the three need to meet. They agree to meet at the park.
35. Words Whispered From the Past
Spencer wakes up and is having a vision: the night Ali disappeared. She and Ali had been arguing and Ali took off. Spencer followed her through the woods that connected their yards. Ali says that she’s going somewhere to hang out with people cooler than Spencer and the others, and that Spencer tries to steal everything away from her, but she can’t have “this.” Spencer asks what, and Ali said Spencer knows because she read it in her diary. Spencer denies reading Ali’s diary and calls Ali delusional. Ali says that Spencer is delusional, and Spencer gets angry. She shoves Ali and Ali tells her they’re not friends anymore, and that Ian had told her that Spencer doesn’t know how to kiss when he had taken her on a date. In fact, the only reason Ian ever kissed Spencer was because Ali told him to. She begged him to do it just to see if she could make him do anything she wanted. Did Spencer really believe that Ian liked her? Spencer feels herself lose control and pushes Ali again. This time Ali hits her head on the stone wall between the properties and there’s a loud crack.
Spencer is horrified. She sits up and realizes that it’s 2:30 a.m. and she’s lying in her bed. She goes to her door, but it’s locked. She calls for her parents. They come to the door but refuse to open it. They say they locked her in there because she scared them, and they’ve taken Melissa to the hospital. Spencer recalls that A had said that Ali’s murderer was right in front of her. Was it true? Could she be Ali’s murderer?
Hanna calls and tells Spencer that she knows something and that Spencer needs to meet them at the swings at the park. Spencer agrees, thinking she has to tell them. They would tell her that it’s not true, that she couldn’t have killed Ali.
36. It Will All Be Over
Hanna drives over to the swings, paranoid that someone is following her. How could A know so much about her? Could A have just stolen someone else’s phone to throw her off? She’s the first to arrive and waits nervously outside. Suddenly an SUV appears across the parking lot. Hanna waves, thinking it’s one of the other girls. Another car pulls up and Aria and Emily get out. They scream at Hanna to look out, but before Hanna realizes what’s going on, the SUV roars across the parking lot and hits her.
Hanna flies through the air and lands on the pavement. Before she passes out, she looks over and sees that the SUV had run over her purse, crushing her new Blackberry.
37. It Was Necessary
Emily and Aria call 911. On the way over, Aria had explained everything to Emily: that Ali was seeing Ian, she must have told Spencer, and Spencer must have killed Ali. Emily doesn’t want to believe it, but suddenly Spencer appears in the parking lot, looking wild and unhinged. Spencer looks at them and then disappears. Emily and Aria both receive texts: She knew too much. -A
Next Book: Unbelievable (#4)
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