Cover Girl: Spencer Hastings (portrayed by Alexandra Bowen)
Tag Line: No bad deed goes unpunished.
Previous Book: Unbelievable (#4)
Back Blurb: In idyllic Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four very pretty girls just can’t help but be bad…
Hanna will stop at nothing to be Rosewood’s queen bee. Spencer’s digging up her family’s secrets. Emily can’t stop thinking about her new boyfriend. And Aria approves a little too strongly of her mom’s taste in men.
Now that Ali’s killer is finally behind bars, the girls think they’re safe. But those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And they should know by now that I’m always watching…-A
Inquiring Minds Want to Know…
Rosewood Day, four years ago. The coveted Time Capsule game starts tomorrow. Students hunt for pieces of a flag that will be buried and immortalized by Rosewood students forever. Finding a piece of the flag means immortal popularity. Alison DiLaurentis is determined to find one, smugly divulging her older brother Jason’s plan to tell her where one is buried. The other Liars, not yet friends, watch individually from afar but all think the same thing: do I dare try stealing the flag from Ali?
Each girl wants it for different reasons, but all want to be accepted into Ali’s circle. They watch as Ali flirts with Ian Thomas, a hot junior. Ali says the only way someone will steal her flag is if they kill her first. Ian responds with, “If that’s what it takes.” Jason is watching and takes Ian’s comment literally. It’s too bad no one else does, because a year and a half later Ian kills Ali for real.
1. Dead and Buried
Emily, Aria, and Hanna are at Spencer’s house meeting with their grief counselor, Marion Graves. After everything that happened, Marion is trying to help the girls deal with Ian’s upcoming trial (at which they will have to testify), the discovery that Mona was A, and their guilt over Ali’s death. Marion suggests burying things that remind them of Ali in order to put her memory to rest. Emily chooses a pink coin purse Ali had gifted her, Aria brings a sketch of Ali she did during the announcement of the Time Capsule game in sixth grade, Hanna has a folded-up piece of paper, and Spencer decides to bury the Jenna Thing bracelet. Spencer also has a black-and-white photo of Ali, but leaves it behind in her media room. They bitterly throw their items into a trash bag and toss it into a hole in the ground outside by the barn. They feel somewhat at peace with Ali’s death, but know things are far from over because Ian’s trial is looming over them.
2. We Are Family
Hanna heads home for dinner. Ms. Marin took off to her new job in Singapore. Hanna’s wicked stepsister-to-be Kate and future stepmother Isabel have moved in. Kate inquires about her therapy session. Hanna refuses to talk because she is completely miserable. She lost Ali, Isabel and Kate are asinine, and her best friend tried to kill her. Mona’s betrayal and subsequent death were the worst of all.
As if things couldn’t be worse, Perfect Kate is so excited to be starting at Rosewood Day tomorrow. Mr. Marin makes it clear that Hanna is to spend time with her and treat her as a friend, or there will be consequences. Hanna knows this is bad–Kate is gorgeous and manipulative, just like Ali.
3. Aria’s Art Scene Debut
Aria is having dinner with Mike and Ella. Mike has a “date,” which he claims isn’t a date, with a girl named Savannah afterwards. Ella announces she met someone on Match.com and will be going out with him next Tuesday. She gives Aria some passes for an art opening tonight for a new painter. Aria decides to go.
At the art opening, Aria flirts with an artsy, college-age guy over a painting that resembles a woman’s breast. They make a few sexual jokes and Aria is horrified when she realizes he’s the featured artist, Xavier Reeves. He seems interested and leaves Aria hanging to mingle with the other guests.
4. Bottom of the Class
The first day back after Winter Break, Spencer is to the principal’s office. After confessing to cheating on her Golden Orchid essay, Rosewood Day had threatened to expel her. They settled with stripping her of her title of student council vice president, dropping her from the school play, and kicked her off the yearbook committee. Her teachers are still suspicious of her academic achievements and are watching her closely.
On the way to the office, she runs into Andrew Campbell. He rubs in Spencer’s face the fact that he went to Greece over the break as a Model UN advisor. Andrew acts like he doesn’t know about Spencer’s academic credibility issues. Instead he compliments her, but she’s humiliated. She runs into the office and is surprised to find her parents there with bad news: Spencer’s Nana died.
Spencer is stunned. Nana hadn’t always been warm toward Spencer like she had her other grandchildren; she treated Spencer as if she was just a nuisance. Still, Spencer is upset and asks her parents to stay, but they cruelly leave without saying anything more.
5. The Changing of the Guard
During lunchtime, Hanna feels out of place without Mona. She started dating Lucas after Mona’s death, but he’s at debate team practice. To her dismay, Kate runs up and begs Hanna to hang with her for lunch. Hanna cuts her down but caves when she realizes she has nobody to sit with. They head to Steam, the school’s espresso bar.
All the guys are checking out Kate, as well as Naomi Ziegler and Riley Wolfe. Kate insists on talking to Naomi since she’s in her French class. They instantly bond over fashion and boys, but Naomi and Riley make some snide comments towards Hanna. Hanna is furious that Kate’s befriending her worst enemies and storms out. She misses Mona more than ever.
6. Emily’s Church Miracle
After swim practice, Emily heads home and turns on the radio. She’s unnerved when she hears Ian’s case may not go to trial due to insufficient evidence. Mrs. Fields knows Emily is upset so she invites her to the church fundraiser tonight. Emily obliges, even though she feels weird being in church because she’s a lesbian.
Emily feels even more confused when the band playing at the fundraiser has a really cute lead singer, Isaac. She’s attracted to him, but why? Isn’t she gay? All the girls are checking him out and she’s ecstatic when he talks to her. They chat a bit and he asks her on a date. Emily agrees and is excited, but doesn’t know exactly what she wants out of their date. She’s not sure what she wants at all.
7. One Big Happy Hastings Family
The next day, Spencer meets with her extended family at the courthouse for the reading of Nana’s will. Melissa’s being extra nice to Spencer, most likely because their parents are mad at her too for lying to the police. Melissa had told them she and Ian were together the whole night when Ali went missing, but he had left for a while, and they had been drinking. Their parents are acting cold towards both of them. Still, Spencer is suspicious of Melissa’s kindness.
Melissa reveals the insufficient evidence thing may be linked to the Golden Orchid. Spencer may not be a reliable witness. Also, Ian called Melissa last night and told her his mom is really sick with cancer. Melissa is a wreck, not understanding how she could have been dating Ian and not realizing he could have been a murderer.
The lawyer, Mr. Calloway, reads off Nana’s estate plans. Nana bequeathed two million dollars to each of her natural-born grandchildren. Mr. Calloway lists the grandchildren’s names–but does’t mention Spencer’s. Spencer is shocked. She asks him to check the will, but her name is not there. She asks her parents what’s going on. They coldly tell her to go wait in the car. It’s official–Spencer is her generation’s black sheep.
8. Isn’t Internet Dating Great?
Tuesday evening, Aria is helping Ella get ready for her Match.com date. It’s a good distraction from Xavier–she can’t stop thinking about him. Aria’s been obsessing over their interaction, trying to decide whether he likes her. They hadn’t exchanged numbers, but she left hers on the art directory with a star next to it, hoping he’d call. So far he hasn’t.
Ella and Aria briefly chat about Ella and Byron’s divorce, including Meredith’s pregnancy. It’s still a touchy subject for Aria. Ella mentions she knew about Mr. Fitz, and Aria is shocked. Byron had found out and told Ella. Aria tells her she’s ok because she’s found someone new, but she’s not sure about it yet.
Ella is not quite dressed when the doorbell rings. Her date has arrived early. Aria runs down and is shocked by who’s on the other side of the door: Xavier.
9. You’re Not Paranoid if He’s Really After You
Later that night, the Liars meet at Spencer’s house to catch up as Marion suggested. Emily spots the black-and-white candid Spencer chose not to bury. She studies it and realizes it was taken on the day the Time Capsule game was announced. They all suddenly remember what Ian had said that day–that if someone had to kill Ali to get her piece, then “that’s what it would take.” They all feel guilty; they should have taken him seriously.
Each girl sheepishly admits how much she wanted Ali’s piece of the flag, thinking stealing it would make Ali become her friend. Two days after the game was announced, Hanna, Spencer, Emily, and Aria had each shown up at the same time in Ali’s backyard to steal it. But someone else and stolen it first and never turned it in.
Melissa interrupts to tell them to turn on the news. A reporter is explaining that because Ian’s mother has advanced cancer, he’s being granted temporary bail and will be on house arrest until his trial on Friday. Ian’s family lives less than a mile from Spencer. Melissa and the Liars are horrified. The camera cuts to Ian ranting that he’s been wrongfully accused and vows to not return to jail. Melissa runs out of the room and all four girls simultaneously receive the same text: Honestly, bitches…did you really think I’d let you off that easy? You haven’t gotten nearly what you deserve. And I can’t wait to give it to you. Mwah! – A
10. Blood is Thicker Than Water…If You’re Really Family, That Is
Spencer immediately calls Wilden to tell him about the texts. The Liars are positive they were from Ian, but Wilden insists Ian isn’t that stupid. He wants to stay out of jail, and threatening the girls would make him look even more guilty. It’s probably just a copycat, but the Liars aren’t convinced. Wilden promises to keep an eye on Ian just in case, but tells the girls they shouldn’t worry.
The others admit they’ve gotten a few copycat notes, but they were obviously fake. The A case had gone viral after Mona’s death and tons of people were receiving random texts afterwards from people claiming to be A. The Liars agree to keep each other informed if anyone receives anything that might be real.
Hanna, Aria, and Emily leave when Spencer catches Melissa hiding around the corner. She had been listening the whole time. Spencer yells at her for spying and not telling Wilden that Ian had called her. Melissa counters that she feels sorry for Ian, and she’s hesitant to believe he actually killed Ali. What if he’s innocent?
Mrs. Hastings arrives home and Spencer follows her into the kitchen to confront her about Nana’s will. Mrs. H says Nana had the right to do whatever she liked with her money, but nothing more. She pulls out some champagne from a grocery bag and Melissa says it’s for the Rosewood Day fundraiser at their house this weekend. Spencer is hurt. She is always the one to help with the fundraiser, not Melissa, because it’s one of the few things she’s better at than Melissa. Mrs. H says she doesn’t need Spencer’s help and leaves the room.
Spencer is distraught. She feels as if she’s truly been disowned. Melissa tries to comfort her and reveals that she’s been thinking a lot about the will, and there’s only one explanation. Nana had worded it so she was leaving money to her natural-born grandchildren. Nana had never cared for Spencer. Spencer must have been adopted.
11. If You Can’t Beat Her, Join Forces With Her
Wednesday morning, Hanna is in bed chatting with Lucas, thinking how great he is and that he makes up for her being girfriendless. Mona is gone, and things aren’t exactly the same with her old BFFs. Isabel tells her to get off the phone, one of her many new rules. Hanna turns on the TV to see a news broadcast of Ian’s trial. Alexandra Pratt, who was a year ahead of Ian in high school and a star field hockey player, is being interviewed. She says she thinks Ian is guilty because he was always talking to Ali after games, and he seemed to make Ali uncomfortable. But that’s not how Hanna remembers it. Ali was always excited when Ian was around and even admitted to wanting to kiss him.
Hanna heads downstairs and is annoyed to see Kate at the breakfast table. Kate starts chattering away, trying to apologize for what she did at Le Bec-Fin and that she was such a mess. Kate’s father died and she’s still adjusting to this whole new family thing. Hanna ignores her until Kate reveals the reason she was such a mess back then: she had been dating a guy named Connor and after going a little far with him she had some “complications.” Suddenly Hanna is interested. Kate says she wasn’t pregnant, it was something else, but doesn’t clarify. Hanna is stunned, but relieved that Perfect Kate isn’t as perfect as she thought. She decides to tell Kate one of her secrets, mainly to find out if Ali had told Kate about her purging. She tells Kate she probably already knows about her issue; it happened the first time she met Kate in Annapolis. Kate says she knows; Ali had gone outside and told her. Hanna is crushed. Ali had promised not to tell anyone.
Kate inquires about Hanna’s issue with Naomi and Riley. She insists that they’re really nice and probably just want to be friends with Hanna. She proposes she and Hanna join forces and befriend them, because if they do, they could be unstoppable. Together, she and Hanna could easily be the most popular girls in school. Hanna realizes this is genius. Without Mona, she has no friends, and it would be perfect if she was at the center of a clique she could easily rule. Hanna can again be the It-Girl of Rosewood Day.
12. It’s All Just a Matter of Perspective
Later that evening, Aria is with Mike at a vegetarian restaurant called Rabbit Rabbit. Mike’s grumbling because Xavier is coming and Mike hasn’t met him yet. Ella and Xavier have seemed to really hit things off, which mortifies Aria because she was sure he had been interested in her.
Ella and Xavier show up and Mike says a lot of inappropriate things, but he and Xavier get along great. Mike gets up when Savannah calls and Ella leaves to use the ladies’ room. Aria and Xavier are alone. Xavier asks Aria if he’s ok with him dating her mom, and Aria isn’t sure what to say. Instead they discuss art and Xavier insists on a contest. Rabbit Rabbit supplies crayons for patrons to draw on the tablecloths, so they decide to have a quick drawing competition. Aria sketches an elderly man across the room and Xavier draws a perfect likeness of Aria’s face. Aria is touched because the drawing is so sweet. She’s not sure if Xavier is trying to bond with her because he’s dating her mom, or if he’s flirting with her.
Aria’s phone beeps with two picture texts. She is shocked when one is of her and Xavier at the art exhibit the previous Sunday, and the other is of them sitting at their table right now. Whoever took the photo is in the room. In the photo Aria is leaning in toward Xavier trying to see his drawing, and it almost looks like they’re holding hands. She knows both photos are very incriminating. To her horror, the photos are accompanied by a poem: Artists like ménages á trois, Mommy just might too. But if you ferme la bouche about me, I’ll do the same for you. -A
13. Strange Chemistry on Chemistry Hill
The same evening, Emily is with Isaac on a sledding date on Chemistry Hill at Hollis. They conveniently collide while sledding and flirt shamelessly. Isaac is very cute and sweet, and Emily has butterflies. She’s not sure why; does she really like him like him or does she like girls? She has no idea how to feel. She wants to tell him the truth, but she’s afraid.
Isaac runs off to retrieve his sled. Wilden pulls up at the bottom of the hill in a patrol car and parks. He’s talking on his cell and Emily thinks she can lipread the words “just stay away.” He spots Emily and seems surprised. He looks down when Emily’s phone rings. It’s Aria, asking if Emily has gotten any new texts. She tells Emily about what happened at Rabbit Rabbit. She also called Wilden about 20 minutes ago to let him know, and he had said he was going into an important meeting and couldn’t talk.
Emily is confused. She looks back down at Wilden’s car but it’s gone. She tells Aria and Aria asks where she is. Isaac is right behind her so she hangs up. Isaac kisses her. He asks her if it’s okay, and she says yes because for some reason she feels like it really is okay to kiss a boy.
Suddenly Emily’s phone beeps with a text. Hi, Em! Doesn’t the Bible say good Christian boys shouldn’t kiss girls like you? So WWAD–-What Would A Do? I won’t confess your sins if you don’t confess mine. XX, A
14. Viva La Hanna!
Meanwhile, at Rive Gauche, Hanna has joined Kate at a table with Naomi and Riley. Hanna notices a blemish mark near Kate’s lip. Could her “complication” have been herpes? She never elaborated. Kate insists they need Naomi and Riley as friends and asks why Hanna hates them in the first place. Hanna really doesn’t know. It’s just because Ali hated them. Ali never told anyone what Naomi and Riley did to make her mad, she just forced the other girls to never speak to them.
Hanna is horrified when Kate announces Hanna wants to apologize and form a truce, but Naomi and Riley are ecstatic. They instantly start discussing outfits and dates for the upcoming fundraiser. Hanna is a little suspicious. She’s afraid of what they’re going to say about Lucas, but feels better when they decide to go shopping. Hanna is in her element, dressed to the nines at her favorite restaurant with a new group of BFFS, so she should be happy. Maybe this is what her dream about Ali meant when Ali said everything would be okay.
The girls get up to leave and Hanna notices she’s gotten a text: Dear Little Piggy, Those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Remember your unfortunate “accident”? Tell anyone about little ol’ moi, and this time I’ll make sure you don’t wake up. But just to show that I’m willing to play nice, here’s a helpful hint: Someone in your life isn’t what they seem. Love ya! -A
Hanna is upset, but tells herself it’s just a copycat. Everyone knew about the Little Piggy stuff and the accident. She’s back on the social scene where she belongs.
15. Even Libraries Aren’t Safe
The same night, Spencer is studying with Andrew in a private room at the Rosewood Public Library. Rosewood Day threatened to remove her from AP Econ if she doesn’t maintain an A this semester. She’s still cut off from her parents and can’t afford a tutor, so she had broken down and called Andrew.
Spencer can’t concentrate and feels uncomfortable around Andrew, considering she had used him at Foxy. She never even really apologized. Andrew asks what’s going on, so she spills about her grandmother dying, not being in the will, and possibly being adopted. Andrew suggests a website called I Love U that reconnects adopted children with their biological families. She decides to register. When Andrew leaves she receives a registration confirmation and also notices an email with the subject line I’m Watching. She opens it and it says: I thought we were friends, Spence. I send you a sweet little note, and you call the cops…What do I have to do to keep you girls quiet? Actually, don’t tempt me. -A
Spencer hears a thumping noise and turns around. There’s a smudge on the windows of the private room. It’s fading as if someone had just breathed on it. Somebody was just here, watching her.
16. Weirdos Attract
The next morning Aria heads down to breakfast. To her dismay, Ella has already left but Xavier is there with Mike. Aria is embarrassed because she doesn’t have a bra on. Mike runs out to catch a ride from Noel Kahn to check out Hanna and Kate before school. Aria is alone with Xavier.
Surprisingly, Xavier is nice and apologizes for making her uncomfortable at Rabbit Rabbit. He says he knows this must be weird for her, but Aria isn’t sure if he means the thing going on between them or the fact that Ella is not divorced yet but dating. He offers her a ride to school and she accepts. On the way, they talk about not fitting in and Aria recalls how she felt before she met Ali. She thinks about the huge crush she used to have on Jason. She used to watch him and planned on trying to speak to him when the school’s secretary pulled him aside to tell him he had a phone call in the office and it was from a girl. Aria was sure it was a girlfriend. Most of the reason Aria had tried to steal Ali’s piece of the flag had been to try to see Jason.
Aria gets out of the car and hears a giggle right in her ear. She turns around in the crowd and sees Jenna Cavanaugh. She says hi but Jenna icily ignores her. Aria gets a chill, certain that something is going on with Jenna.
17. Oh, The Sacrifices to be Popular
Thursday morning, Hanna is at Steam with her new BFFs. Everyone is ogling them and Hanna is once again in her element. As they get up to go to class, Spencer stops her. Hanna is annoyed. Spencer tells her about her and Aria’s texts. Hanna doesn’t mention hers. She just wants to believe it’s a copycat and ignore it. She snaps at Spencer to tell Wilden and stalks off. She has her life back, she is not about to let some dumb knockoff ruin it.
Hanna is walking with the girls when Lucas shows up. She’s embarrassed by the smudge of food on his lip and his sloppy outfit. Lucas looks suspicious at how Hanna and Kate are acting. Hanna pulls him aside and explains that she’s decided to give Kate a chance. Lucas is weary but Hanna insists he be happy for her. She’s suddenly anxious about Lucas. Shouldn’t he be more mature? Shouldn’t she be dating someone more popular? She likes him, but she knows her new group thinks he’s a dork. He asks if they’re still hanging out after school, but Hanna just says she can’t. She has plans with the girls. She tries not to feel guilty, because after all, she’s Hanna Marin. She’s Rosewood Day’s It-Girl.
18. A Jury of One
Later that evening, Spencer is home alone, feeling sorry for herself. Her parents ditched her for dinner and she hasn’t received anything from the adoption site. She had also called Wilden about the texts and he had cut her off. She thinks maybe he doesn’t believe her because nobody else does, not after the Golden Orchid thing. Suddenly a breaking news report about Ian’s trial comes on TV. Despite speculation about lack of evidence, Ian’s trial will still take place on Friday. A reporter briefly interviews Ian, who maintains his innocence.
Spencer feels dizzy and runs outside for fresh air. She looks in her front yard and sees Jenna in the front window of the Cavanaugh house, speaking furiously into her cell phone. Spencer jumps when a voice behind her whispers her name. She turns around and sees that it’s Ian.
Spencer starts to yell but Ian begs her to just listen. He asks why he accused her, and she says it’s because it’s true, and that he had better stop sending her and her friends the notes. Ian seems confused. He says he doesn’t know what notes she’s talking about. Spencer insists Ian was taking advantage of Ali, but he denies it. She says Ali gave him an ultimatum, but he didn’t have to kill her. Ian says Ali didn’t like him more than he liked her. They flirted a lot, but she didn’t seem interested in any more than that. Suddenly she seemed to change her mind. Ian thought Ali had only been talking to him to try to make someone else jealous. Spencer knew that was her.
Ian still seems confused, so Spencer blurts out that she used to like him. She knew Ali had told him. That’s why Ali made Ian kiss Spencer. Ian ignores the comments and tells Spencer there’s something she doesn’t know. He thinks the cops know about it but are trying to frame him. Ian says he’ll have evidence by tomorrow that will prove he’s innocent, and it’s mind-blowing. He won’t tell Spencer what it is. Spencer scoffs. She doesn’t believe him.
Ian says that yeah, he was drunk that night, but when he went out to meet Ali, there had been two blondes in the woods. Spencer assumes he thought the other blonde was her. She tells him that it wasn’t, she followed Ali out of the barn, who then left to find Ian. Spencer tells him he’s going to fry for what he did, and he angrily walks off.
Spencer runs inside and starts crying. Her Sidekick rings with a new message: “Question: If poor little Miss Not-So-Perfect suddenly vanished, would anyone even care? You told on me twice. Three strikes and we’ll find out if your “parents” will cry over the loss of your pathetic life. Tread softly, Spence. -A
19. Fortune Cookies Usually Never Say Anything This Good
Meanwhile, Emily is getting ready for a date with Isaac. She puts on one of her favorite outfits but worries whether it’s appropriate for dinner at China Rose, or if it’s too girly, or if she feels like herself in it. She isn’t even sure who she is.
Carolyn asks if her date is any girl she knows. Emily corrects that it’s just dinner with a guy friend, but Carolyn doesn’t believe her. At least Carolyn is coming around. But what if Emily isn’t gay after all she put her family through? Is she straight since she likes Isaac? Is she bi? She wants to tell her family about Isaac, but the note from A scared her. Isaac is super Christian. How would he react?
Emily passes the Rosewood Bowl-O-Rama on the way to the restaurant. The bowling alley is where Ali had giver Emily the nickname “Killer”, and also where she had asked Ali about the day the Time Capsule game was announced. She asked about the fight Jason had with Ian, and Ali just said she teased Jason about it on the ride home that day. But Emily remembered that Jason had driven away in a black car. Could Ali have met Ian that day and covered it up by saying she had ridden with Jason?
Isaac is waiting when Emily arrives at the restaurant. She’s wracked with nerves. Luckily, conversation is easy. Isaac’s dad owns the company catering the Hastings’ fundraiser and he’ll be working the event. Emily says she’ll be there and boldly suggests that Isaac serve her personally. He grabs her hand just as Maya St. Germain walks up.
Emily is terrified. She shyly introduces Maya as someone she from school, and Isaac introduces himself as Emily’s date. Maya scoffs and spits out, “Right. Her date. Good one.” Isaac is confused. Emily looks up at Maya, who she thinks realizes it’s an actual date. Maya smiles nastily, like she’s about to say something to hurt Emily. She must still be angry at her.
Before Maya can speak, Emily runs out of the restaurant dizzily and stops at her car. She’s trying to catch her breath and decide what to do when she receives a text: “Hi Em–-don’t you just hate it when your ex shows up and ruins your romantic night? I wonder how she knew where to find you…Let this be a warning. Talk, and your past will be the least of your problems. -A”
Emily suddenly understood. Maya had gotten a text from A, telling her where Emily would be. Or worse–-Maya was New A. Isaac shows up behind her and asks what happened. He apologizes for saying he was her date; that might have been inappropriate. Emily begs him not to apologize and tells him she really wanted this to be a date, and that she wants Isaac to take the night off for the fundraiser so he can be her date. Isaac agrees but then asks who that was in the restaurant. Emily contemplates telling him the truth before A does, but doesn’t know what to do. She just says the girl was someone who goes to her school.
20. So Much For a New Father Figure
The same night, Aria is home with Mike, watching TV. A news report about Ian’s trial comes on. The reporter is interviewing Jenna, who says she hopes the trial is over quickly because it’s bringing bad press to Rosewood. Mike’s phone beeps and he runs out of the room. Xavier walks in. Aria is surprised because she didn’t know he was there and Ella isn’t home. Xavier says the power is out at his place and Ella said he could hang out there. Aria feels a little uncomfortable but offers him a seat. The report shows a timeline of the evening Ali was murdered, highlighting Spencer’s fight with Ali at 10:30 p.m. and Melissa waking up at 10:40 p.m., noticing Ian was gone. Ian allegedly pushed Ali in the hole and was back inside at 11:05.
Xavier tries to talk to Aria about the trial and starts flirting with her. He grabs her shoulders and kisses her. Aria is shocked and pulls away. She jumps off the couch and Xavier tries to apologize, but she runs upstairs. Just as she reaches her bedroom, her Treo pings with a text: Gotcha! -A
21. Spencer Holds Her Breath
Friday morning, Spencer is dreaming about the Time Capsule announcement. But this time it’s different; there are two versions of Ali, a young Ali and on older one. Older Ali is wearing the same outfit as the night she disappeared–-a pale blue American Apparel tee and a hockey kilt. Younger Ali and Older Ali are arguing, telling each other Spencer is going to steal Ali’s flag but someone else steals it first. Younger Ali insists someone will have to kill her to get her piece. Ian is in the background. Older Ali tells Spencer she screwed up, she should have “never thrown it away, all the answers were there.” Then the Time Capsule flyer blows in the air and hits her in the face.
Spencer wakes up drenched in sweat. Melissa is in her room, asking if she’s okay. Today is Ian’s trial. Spencer tells Melissa she’s going to testify and tell the truth. Melissa says she’s not asking Spencer to lie and walks out.
Later Spencer meets the other Liars at the swings by the elementary school. They all want to talk before going into the trial, which starts at 1:00 this afternoon. Spencer thinks about what Ian said and asks if anyone remembering Ali say anything negative about Ian. Emily and Aria say no. Hanna mentions Alexandra Pratt’s comments on the news. Spencer laments on how Alexandra treated her when she was younger. She had been a judge for field hockey tryouts and for some reason, she didn’t like Spencer. She chose Ali over Spencer for the one sixth-grade spot on the JV team, even though Ali wasn’t nearly as good as her. Ali rubbed it into Spencer’s face. Then everything else between them turned into a competition. Ali and Spencer tried to one-up each other by dating older guys, but neither would admit their main target was Ian. So Ali had definitely never acted like Ian was perverted. She obviously liked him, so Alexandra must be misinformed.
Spencer wants to tell them about Ian’s surprise visit, but is scared. Instead she tells them about her dream, and the others share the dreams they’ve also had of Ali. In their dreams, Ali that told them the truth was right in front of them and everything would be okay. But Spencer knows nothing will be okay until Ian is locked up for good.
22. Déjà Vu All Over Again
Before class, Hanna is walking with her new BFFs. They’re gossiping and Hanna mentions the trial, but the others brush it aside. Hanna is hurt because she wants them to be there for her, but all they seem interested in talking about is the fundraiser. Lucas shows up looking like a school nerd. Hanna snubs him, telling him not to go to the trial. She’s glad he wants to support her, but she wishes her it was her new friends going instead. She admits to herself that when she was with Lucas over Winter Break, she was happy, but ultimately he will stand in her way of being popular. It’s all she’s ever wanted.
Hanna turns back to her friends to see them down the corner, looking straight at her and laughing. Are they laughing at her? Is it because of Lucas? Is A right? Can she really trust Kate? She trusted Mona and that had ruined her life.Hanna rushes to the girls’ room to catch her breath. She tells herself they can’t be laughing at her when she gets a text: Hanna–-A glutton for Cheez-Its…and punishment, too, it seems. Ruin her before she ruins you. -A.The number is blocked, but Hanna can text back. She says, “Rot in hell. You don’t know a thing about me.” A responds: I know that someone sometimes makes herself puke in the girls’ bathroom. And I know someone’s sad because she isn’t daddy’s only little girl anymore. And I know someone dearly misses her old BFF, even though she wanted her dead. How do I know so much? Because I grew up in Rosewood, Hannakins. Just like you. -A
23. The Quietest Courtroom on the Main Line
Aria and Spencer drive together to the courtroom. Only family, friends, witnesses, and police are allowed in. They run into Ali’s parents and say hi. Jason is there too, and Aria flushes because she still thinks he’s gorgeous. They join Hanna and Emily, who are already seated. Emily tells Aria that the night Aria told her about her note from New A, she got one too. Aria says Wilden hasn’t gotten back to her. Hanna says she doesn’t want to talk about it.
Ali’s family sits down. Jason turns and looks directly at Aria. He gives her a smile and waves. It seems like he’s acknowledging only her. The other Liars don’t notice. People keep filing into the courtroom but Ian hasn’t shown up. Suddenly a police officer, along with Ian’s father, burst in. Mr. Thomas, looking terrified, tells Judge Baxter that Ian is gone. He was in his room last night, and now he doesn’t know where he is.
Everyone in the room is shocked. The judge calls a recess, announcing they’ll call everyone back when they’re ready. Hanna, Emily, and Aria are bewildered, asking how this could happen. Spencer knows how, because Ian had visited her. She says there’s something she needs to tell them, and they won’t like it.
24. Et Tu, Kate?
Later that evening Hanna is out for a run, contemplating Ian’s disappearance and the A texts. Maybe A is warning her about Kate. She remembers all the things Mona did and realizes she had never told Mona about ditching Foxy to go to Philly with her dad. Mona knew about Kate, so maybe somehow she had contacted her ahead of time and schemed with her. Could Mona and Kate have been working together? Kate might still be planning on taking Hanna down like she had tried before. But why would she tell Hanna about her “complication”?
Hanna heads home and up to her room. On the way there, she overhears Kate talking to someone on the phone in her bedroom. Kate lets out an evil-sounding laugh and says “It’ll work, I promise. Trust me. And it’s almost time–-I can’t wait!”
Hanna listens, horrified, as Kate continues to laugh. Kate has to be planning something against her with Naomi and Riley, and Hanna thinks she might know what it is.
25. Into the Bathroom…But Out of the Closet
Emily and Isaac arrive at the fundraiser. Wilden is there supervising, making sure everyone checks in and out and keeping an eye out for Ian. Spencer explains that nobody is allowed outside, and if someone needs to go to their car they need Wilden to escort them. Emily navigates the party and dodges a few guys who she thinks are going to make lesbian jokes in front of Isaac. Noel Kahn confronts her and asks if Isaac is a friend or a date. Emily freaks and runs to the powder room.
Isaac runs after her and begs to know what’s going on. Did he embarrass her or say something wrong? Emily decides it’s now or never. Spencer told them Ian visited her, and now he’s on the loose, so he could easily spill her secret. She blurts out everything: Maya used to be her girlfriend, Mona-as-A outed her, her parents sent her to Tree Tops and to Iowa, and she really likes Isaac but doesn’t know if she likes guys or girls. To her surprise, Isaac simply asks if she’s bi. Emily thinks about it and says she doesn’t know, she just likes people, it doesn’t matter the gender. Isaac says it’s okay, he accepts her for her. Emily is relieved and cries in his arms.
26. Spencer Meets Her Match
Spencer tries desperately to help her mother host the party, but Mrs. Hastings cuts her off. Spencer declares she knows she’s disowned. Both her parents look shocked, but neither speak before Spencer runs off.
She hadn’t told Wilden about the notes. She had promised to after she told the other Liars about Ian, but had been afraid of getting into more trouble with her parents. Spencer runs into the library, where the students are, and bumps into Andrew. She had been hoping all day he would show up. He sees that she’s upset and takes her to sit down.
Spencer just sits and stares. She catches a glimpse of the photo of the Time Capsule day she had saved from burying. She thought of Ali’s faces in her dream. She spills to Andrew the whole truth about the Golden Orchid and how sorry she feels. She starts crying and her Sidekick beeps. It’s an email from I Love U telling her she has a match and will be contacted in a few days. Spencer is so giddy with the good news that she hugs Andrew, who then kisses her. She really likes it but feels awful for how she treated at Foxy. She finally apologizes. Andrew says he was mad, but only because he likes her. He admires her competitiveness and determination. Spencer realizes she really does like him and happily falls into his arms.
Her happiness is short-lived when she glances at the photo and realizes what Ali must have meant when she said Spencer “threw something away.” It’s the trash bag. Something in the bag they buried must be a clue that would solve everything. Spencer tells Andrew to tell Wilden if she’s not back in ten minutes and books it outside.
27. Hanna Marin, Queen Bee
Hanna and Lucas arrive fashionably late to the Hastings house. They go into the library where Kate, Naomi, and Riley are at the center of the party. Lucas suggests saying hi, but Hanna tells Lucas she thinks Kate is planning on teaming with Naomi and Riley to backstab her. Lucas says she’s being paranoid, which infuriates her. She condescendingly tells Lucas that popularity isn’t something he can understand.
Lucas walks away when Kate calls for Hanna. Kate saunters over and starts chatting. Hanna brushes her off. Eric Kahn comes up and starts flirting with Kate. Kate makes a comment alluding to Hanna’s bulimia. Hanna blurts out that Kate has herpes.
Kate is shocked and begs Hanna to tell her what is going on. Hanna tells her she heard what she said behind her door. Kate runs out. Naomi and Riley declare that they knew Kate was a slut. Lucas comes back and tells Hanna he liked her a lot more when she wasn’t popular. She was normal. Hanna realizes she loves him for not caring about those things, for not judging her. She says she’s sorry, but Lucas tells her it’s over and walks away.
28. Socially Awkward Artist No More
Aria walks into the party but doesn’t see any of her friends. She runs into Mike, who introduces her to Savannah. Savannah is pretty and sweet and looks like a normal girl, not a Typical Rosewood Girl. Aria is happy for Mike. Suddenly Xavier walks in. Aria is shocked. Mike assumes Xavier came to support their school because he really likes Ella, even though Ella is working tonight. Mike follows Savannah and Xavier approaches Aria. She panics and runs upstairs into Spencer’s bedroom.
Xavier follows Aria and corners her. He says he’s getting mixed signals from her and doesn’t get it. Aria argues that she’s not sending any signals; she just wants him to stay away from her and her mom. Xavier says he’s not going anywhere and she better not tell anyone about their kiss. Aria says if he won’t leave, she will, even though she has nowhere to go. But Aria knows his threat is real. Things will get worse if she stays with Ella. She’ll have to go back to Byron and pregnant Meredith.
29. The Whole, Pathetic Truth
Spencer slaps on some rain gear and runs outside to dig up the trash bag. She pulls out the items and studies them. She looks closely at Aria’s sketch of Ali during the Time Capsule announcement. Ali has her happy, confident Queen Bee face on and Ian is in the background, sulking. Aria’s drawing depicts him as sad and vulnerable. Spencer recalls what Ian said about flirting with Ali but Ali changing her mind. Could it be true? Had he actually liked Ali more than she liked him? Maybe Ian had been telling Spencer the truth. Maybe he hadn’t killed Ali. He seemed genuinely confused when she told him to stop sending texts. Maybe he hadn’t been the one sending them.
Spencer contemplates whether she had been wrong. Maybe she had just wanted so badly for the murder to be solved that she latched on to the information Mona gave her. Her Sidekick beeps with an email from Ian_T: Spencer: Meet me in the woods, where she died. I have something to show you.
Spencer hesitates, then starts running into the woods to find him.
30. Frailty, Thy Name is Woman
Hanna is desperately searching the house for Lucas when her father and Kate show up. Mr. Marin angrily asks Hanna why she would do that to Kate, and Hanna insists Kate was about to do the same thing to her. Hanna explains what she heard behind Kate’s door, and Kate says she wasn’t talking to anyone, she was practicing her lines for the school play. Mr. Marin is furious and declares that Hanna is grounded and until further notice she is not allowed to hang out with anybody but Kate. Hanna is horrified. Now people might think she has herpes too.
Mr. Marin tells Hanna she has one hour to tell her friends she will no longer be socializing with them and come home. Hanna is suspicious of Kate’s excuse, so she asks her what part she got in the school play. Kate condescendingly says Ophelia from Hamlet, assuming Hanna wouldn’t know who it is. But Hanna studied Hamlet well; she knows Ophelia has no evil lines remotely close to what Kate was saying. Hanna’s face shows disbelief, and Kate seems to realize she’s been caught in a lie. She tells Hanna it wasn’t herpes and walks out.
31. Everyone’s a Suspect
Emily and Isaac emerge from the powder room. Isaac steps away to take a call. Emily wanders to the bar and hears some former Rosewood Day students talking about Ian. They mention someone named Darren who had dissected pigs with Ian. Darren had gotten violent, desecrating the pig. Wilden comes up to her and she remembers his first name is Darren. He was in the same grade as Ian and Melissa, not much older than her. Maybe he’s the guy they’re talking about.
Wilden asks Emily if she’s seen Spencer; he’s done head counts and can’t find her. He asks if Aria and Spencer told her about receiving more notes and whether she’s gotten any. She says yes to both questions. He says he really doesn’t think it’s Ian because he searched his house earlier and everything electronic had been removed. Emily realizes Spencer didn’t tell Wilden about Ian’s visit. She’s about to tell him when he answers his ringing phone, cutting her off.
Aria and Hanna approach Emily and ask if she’s seen Spencer. Emily tells them what Wilden said and asks if they think New A could be someone else. Hanna says A is someone from Rosewood and comes clean about her texts. The Liars look around the room and contemplate who it could be…when they were in Ali’s clique they hurt a lot of people. A could be anybody. All their phones beep simultaneously with texts: You all told, and now one of you has to pay the price. Wanna know where your old BFF is? Look out the back window. It might just be the last time you see her. -A The three run to the window to the backyard but see nothing. Another text comes in: Go now. Alone. Or I make good on my promise. -A
32. Be Quiet…And No One Gets Hurt
Hanna, Emily, and Aria run out to the backyard, but Spencer is not in sight. They can hear a whimper off in the distance, so they plunge into the pitch black woods. They begin running and Hanna stumbles and falls in a clearing. She hurts her arm that had been broken when Mona hit her with her car. Overcome with pain, she tells Emily and Aria to keep going.
Hanna realizes she’s alone and hears the whimper again, now sounding more like a cry. She’s scared and hurt and can’t move. There’s rustling in the bushes and a figure steps out. It’s clothed in a dark hoodie with its face concealed by shadows. Hanna doesn’t know who it is, but it’s definitely not Ian or any of the other Liars.
The figure pauses and stares at Hanna, as if surprised that she’s there. It raises a finger to its lips and whispers: “Shhhhh.” Hanna is still on the ground, frozen with terror. The figure takes a few steps back and vanishes into the woods.
33. Someone Knew Too Much
Aria and Emily run through the woods, following the whimpering noise to a small ravine. Aria recalls the only other time she’s been in these woods: the day she snuck into Ali’s backyard to steal her Time Capsule flag. Aria had cut through these woods to go back to her house and heard someone running after her. It was Jason. He silently stuck the Ali’s flag in Aria’s hand, turned around, and went home. Aria never spoke to him again, not knowing what to say or do. She stuck the flag in a box in her closet, never revealing she was the one who had it.
Aria is startled by Hanna walking up behind her. Hanna tries to say something but Aria cuts her off. They can see a shadow down the ravine. A flashlight clicks on. It’s Spencer. She’s trembling and mumbling that it doesn’t make sense; she just got a note from him. Aria asks who and Spencer points her flashlight down and the Liars can see Ian’s dead body lying on the ground. His skin is blue and his face is covered in dried blood. It looks like someone had strangled him and that he’s been there for a while.
The Liars are all in shock. This explains why Ian didn’t show up for his trial. But it also means someone else is A. Aria hears a giggle in the distance. Suddenly, all girls receive the same text: He had to go. -A
What Happens Next…
Ian is dead, and considering the Liars’ lives now, they probably wish they were, too. Those pretty little bitches have always gotten everything they’ve wanted, but now A is going to make sure they get what they deserve.
Next Book: Killer (#6)
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