Cover Girl: Emily Fields (portrayed by Erin McQuatters)
Tag Line: Nobody believes a liar…even if she’s telling the truth.
Previous Book: Killer (#6)
Back Blurb: Four gorgeous girls are telling very ugly stories.
First Emily, Aria, Hanna, and Spencer claimed they found a dead body in the woods behind Spencer’s house, only to have it vanish without a trace. Then, when the same woods went up in flames, they swore they saw someone who’s supposed to be dead rise from the ashes. And even after all that, the pretty little liars are still playing with fire. Call me heartless, but it’s about time someone shut these liars up for good. After all, nobody likes a girl who cries wolf–-least of all me. -A
Lost and Found
Rosewood, PA, the day after the sleepover. Ali’s mom, Jessica DiLaurentis, calls the Liars looking for Ali, who has not yet come home. None of them know where Ali went; she’s probably with her field hockey friends. They’re much older and cooler than the Liars. Come to think of it, Ali has been distant the last few weeks. What if she’s thinking of dropping them, like Naomi and Riley? Hanna insists they cover for Ali. The others reluctantly agree, even though it’s not fair to them. If they don’t, Ali might drop them. Or reveal some of their secrets, like The Jenna Thing.
Mrs. DiLaurentis asks if Ali hinted to where she was going. Hanna says she thinks Ali’s with her field hockey friends. Mrs. DiLaurentis says she already called them. She thought she saw Ali last night when she was talking to someone in the kitchen. Ali looked upset. Was anybody teasing Ali, had she been sad, or ever talked about running away? The Liars deny all of these ideas.
They walk outside and go their separate ways. Spencer crosses over to her house, thinking if Ali really dropped them, it’s not a bad thing. She’s tired of letting Ali push her around. She finds her mother crying in the kitchen. Aria walks down the driveway and notices a prescription bottle on the ground. Ali’s name is on it but the name of the medication is scratched off. Hanna spots Mona riding her scooter next door, wondering if anyone was teasing Ali like they teased Mona. Emily walks through Ali’s backyard, taking a shortcut to her house. There are several construction workers digging a large hole. Ali had said they’re building a gazebo and the workers are creepy. They stare at her and make lewd comments. One worker with a blond ponytail flashes a smile at Emily. She notices a gold tooth. She looks away and sees all their cars parked along the curb. One car, a black vintage sedan, looks strangely familiar.
Emily wonders if Ali is coming back. What if she doesn’t want to be her friend anymore? What will she do? She tries to push the thought from her mind, telling herself Ali will come home.
1. Don’t Breathe In
Emily opens her eyes and tries to remember where she is. A paramedic stands over her, telling her she inhaled a lot of smoke and is going in and out of consciousness. Her brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. Emily can see Hanna, Aria, and Spencer next to an ambulance. Her memory of the fire comes rushing back to her and she suddenly remembers Ali. She starts screaming for the paramedics to find her. One asks her if she means Alison DiLaurentis. Emily says she’s not dead; she was just here and someone tried to kill her.
Police officers and reporters surround Emily and bombard her with questions. They ask if she really saw Ali and if she knows who set the fire. Emily frantically looks around for Ali, but she’s gone. This can’t be happening again. Nobody has believed anything the Liars have said since Ian’s body vanished. An EMT helps her into an ambulance. She sees a police car with its headlights and sirens turned off, heading away from the Hastingses’ house.
2. Up in Smoke
The Liars are taken to the hospital. They gather in Spencer’s private room. Aria pulls Ali’s Time Capsule flag out of her purse and they examine it. Ali had drawn the Chanel logo, a Louis Vuitton pattern, her name in bubble letters, and a stone wishing well with an A-frame roof and crank. They wonder if Ali was really there or if they were all having the same hallucination from the smoke. If it wasn’t Ali, who was it?
Aria pulls Ian’s ring from her purse. Spencer angrily tells Aria she shouldn’t have picked it up because it could be considered evidence. She can’t put it back because the police will find it. Spencer tells Aria they talked to Ian on IM. Aria says she saw who set the fire. She couldn’t see his face but she’s almost certain it was Wilden.
Suddenly Wilden walks in. The Liars accuse him of murdering Ali and setting the fire. Wilden denies any involvement and seems hurt. Emily says she saw his car speed away from the scene. Wilden says he’s been trying to help them, not hurt them. His uncle was sick last night, so he went to stay with him. He pulls out a CVS receipt and explains he was picking up a prescription at 9:57. The fire started around 10:00, so there’s no way he could have been there. Hanna mentions the propane, and Wilden says he bought it for Jason, who wanted it for the DiLaurentises’ lake house in the Poconos.
Wilden asks if New A is putting these ideas in their heads. Emily insists A is real and shows Wilden the picture of him in the confessional. He says it’s not a crime to go to church. He came to tell them they need to stop saying they saw Ali. After what happened with Ian, nobody will believe them and it will make things worse. He adds that DNA evidence from the body found in the hole is a perfect match for Ali. They need to accept that she’s dead.
Before Wilden leaves, Aria notices a strange tattoo of an eight-pointed star on his forearm. When he’s gone, they all ask themselves: if Wilden didn’t set the fire, who did? That person is still out there. Are they just waiting for a chance to try to kill them again?
3. If Only Someone Had Scammed Spencer Years Ago…
Over the next 24 hours, Spencer’s parents are at her side constantly, tending to her every need. Mr. and Mrs. Hastings are devastated over the thought that they could have lost their daughter. Spencer is so overwhelmed by their affection she decides to come clean about her college account. She spills the whole story about Nana’s will, thinking she was adopted, finding Olivia, and getting scammed out of her college money. Surprisingly, her parents aren’t angry. Instead, they make a confession: Olivia did give birth to her.
Her parents explain that her mother’s pregnancy with Melissa was complicated. Having another baby would have been risky. They paid a surrogate to carry their sperm and egg so they could have Spencer. Toward the end of the pregnancy, Olivia threatened to keep Spencer and leave the country unless they gave her more money. Spencer’s parents paid her off and never told Spencer the truth because they thought Olivia was dangerous. Nana had opposed the idea of a surrogate and unfortunately held it against Spencer. That’s why she never treated her well and and left her out of her will.
Her parents express their sorrow and beg Spencer for forgiveness, for not telling her the truth and for treating her terribly the last several months. Spencer agrees and says they can start over. She finally feels peace, knowing they really wanted her, that they really do love her. But she’s still terrified. A gust of wind brings a scent of vanilla soap, the kind Ali used to use. But Ali is dead. Spencer’s brain had been losing oxygen and she hallucinated her.
4. Does Prada Make Straitjackets?
The next morning, Hanna’s dad tells her he received a letter from Dave Atkinson, Rosewood Day’s psychologist. He thinks Hanna may be suffering from PTSD because of Ali’s death and getting hit by the car. Kate also told him about Hanna’s bulimia. Mr. Marin spoke with a psychiatrist at the hospital and feels it’s best for Hanna to go to rehab. It’s just for a few weeks to relax and focus on getting better.
Hanna is furious. She says the letter isn’t from Dr. Atkinson, it’s from A. Mr. Marin, Kate, and Isabel don’t believe her. They insist Mona was A, but Mona is gone now. Hanna says there’s a new A and he/she is setting her up. Suddenly, she feels overwhelmed and extremely dizzy. She passes out and falls to the floor. When she comes to, she realizes it’s a done deal. She’s going to rehab. She hears faint laughter. Is it real, or is she truly crazy?
5. A Spiritual Awakening
Byron drives Aria to school. He says he’s worried about her and talking about seeing Ali might help. Aria admits she doesn’t really know what she saw, it is possible they all had the same hallucination from smoke inhalation. Byron suggests Ali’s spirit may be trying to communicate with them. They were near the place Ali died, so maybe that’s why they all saw her.
Aria considers this idea. When she arrives at school, reporters surround her and ask her if she really saw Ali and if Aria set the fire herself. She runs into the closest room, the school’s auditorium. She hears the floorboards squeak and sees a shadowy figure disappear behind a curtain. Terrified, she thinks it might be the person who set the fire. Or could Byron be right? The shadow might be Ali’s ghost, trying to find her. Aria decides she needs to find a way to communicate with her.
6. Down the Rabbit Hole
Emily heads to class and drops some papers from a notebook. One is a flyer for the Holy Trinity Youth Group trip to Boston. She had planned on going but then Isaac broke up with her. He’d tried reaching her after the fire, but she ignored his calls and texts. She’s still hurt from his betrayal.
In chem class, Lanie Iler shows Emily a news report on her laptop titled POOR, POOR PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. There’s a photo of them in Spencer’s hospital room. Several students stare at her and make jokes. It’s too much for her to take, so she flees to the restroom.
Once inside, Emily receives a text: Poor little Emily–-You and I both know she’s alive. The question is: What would you do to find her? -A Desperate, Emily texts back: I’ll do anything. She receives a return message: Do exactly as I say. Tell your parents you’re going on that church trip to Boston. But instead, you’ll go to Lancaster. For more, go to your locker. I’ve left you something there.
Emily runs back to her locker and finds a grocery bag with Wear me written on the front. Inside is a plain dress, wool coat, stockings, and button-up shoes. There’s also another note: Tomorrow, take a bus to Lancaster, go north for about a mile from the depot, and turn at the big sign of the horse and buggy. Ask for Lucy Zook. Don’t dare take a cab to get there–-no one will trust you. -A
More instructions are on the back of the note: Your name is Emily Stoltzfus. You’re from Ohio, but you’ve come to Lancaster for a visit. If you want to see your old BFF again, you’ll do exactly what I say. And…oh, did I forget to mention? You’re Amish. Everyone else there is, too. Viel Glück! (That’s German for “good luck”!) -A
7. An Old Friend is Back
After the final bell, Spencer runs into Andrew. He says he tried visiting her in the hospital and wants to call her later. Spencer is relieved; this must mean everything’s ok between them. She walks outside and several reporters start hounding her. They ask if she really saw Ali. She’s still angry at Emily for telling the police Ali was there. Spencer tells them it was a misunderstanding; they were hallucinating from smoke inhalation. The reporters ask if she lied and she says she can’t answer anymore questions.
Surprisingly, Melissa arrives to pick up Spencer. Melissa says her parents are upset with her for suggesting Spencer was adopted. Melissa reveals that before Ian was arrested, she admitted to their parents she was drinking the night Ali went missing. She was so drunk she wasn’t really sure Ian was with her the whole time. Mrs. Hastings told her she needed to tell the police, even though Melissa wasn’t sure Ian had done anything wrong. Unbeknownst to Spencer, Melissa spoke with Wilden after Spencer told him she saw Ian in the woods that night. So both Melissa and Spencer might have been wrong about Ian’s whereabouts, and now Ian is paying the price.
Spencer asks why their mom pushed Melissa to go to the police about Ian. Melissa suggests their mom felt guilty because she never really liked Ali. This is news to Spencer; she had always assumed her mom liked all her friends. They pull into their garage and Spencer sees a flash or dark hair across the street, like someone is watching her. She receives a text: All those clues I’ve given you are right, Little Liar–-just not in the way you think. But since I’m such a nice person, here’s another hint. There’s a major cover-up taking pace right under your nose…and someone close to you has all the answers. -A
8. Hanna, Interrupted
The next day Mr. Marin, Isabel, and Mike drive Hanna to the Preserve at Addison-Stevens in Delaware. Mr. Marin had told Rosewood Day Hanna would be in Singapore visiting her mother. He also told Wilden if the press showed up, he would sue the police force. Hanna brings along both her Time Capsule flag and Ali’s; she had taken it from Aria at the hospital when Aria wasn’t looking.
The facility is surprisingly more posh than Hanna imagined, but she’s devastated when she’s told to surrender her cell phone. No internet, live TV, or other media are allowed. Hanna must report for meal times and see a counselor. She’s only allowed phone calls once a week. This means A won. Hanna is officially in the nuthouse.
9. Aria Crosses Over
Tuesday afternoon, Aria goes to Ye Olde Mystick Spirit Shoppe in Yarmouth for a séance. She wants to try to communicate with Ali’s spirit. There are a few other random people there, and to her surprise, Noel Kahn is one of them. He says he’s into Led Zeppelin and speaking with the dead. Aria is convinced it’s a joke; either A sent him there or he’s pulling a prank. But he seems happy to see her and invites her to his hot tub party Thursday night.
The séance begins and the Equinox, the medium, tells Aria she lost a special friend and feels her presence. He says the friend knew everything about Aria, and Aria hated that. She knew Aria wanted her gone and that made her very sad. She’s also sorry for stealing her boyfriend. Immediately Aria knows it’s a bust. She didn’t have a boyfriend in seventh grade. This guy’s scamming her.
Aria runs out and into the restroom, thinking about what Equinox said. There was some truth to it. She had been angry at Ali for threatening to tell the others Byron had cheated on Ella. Aria had tried to avoid her before she went missing. She recalls Mrs. DiLaurentis asking if Ali had been sad. Had Ali been upset because of her? Aria feels incredibly guilty; she wanted Ali to stop but never wanted her to die.
Suddenly the lights go out and Aria can smell vanilla soap. The lights come back on and she sees Ali’s reflection in the mirror. She turns around to see the missing person flyer that had circulated when Ali disappeared pinned to the wall. It wasn’t there before the lights went out.
10. The Simplest Life
Later the same day, Emily arrives in Lancaster dressed in her Amish garb. She follows A’s instructions to the Zook farm and knocks on the door. While she’s waiting for an answer, she sees a teenage boy running full-speed away from the backyard. A girl answers the door and says she’s Lucy. She asks if Emily is here for Mary’s wedding. Not knowing what to do, Emily says yes and Lucy shows her inside to her bedroom. Lucy says she can sleep in her sister Leah’s bed. Emily asks where Leah is, but Lucy ignores the question.
Lucy asks Emily if someone named Pastor Adam sent her to help her feel better. Emily plays along and says yes. Lucy says they need to milk the cows, and Emily wonders exactly why A sent her there. Is Ali hiding out there? Or is A just trying to distract her and make her look stupid?
11. Not Your Typical Mother-Daughter Outing
Spencer’s mom pulls her out of school for a spa day and lunch at Feast, where she always takes Melissa. During lunch, they have a heart-to-heart. Mrs. Hastings apologizes for pushing Spencer so hard and admits she hated how Spencer always settled for being second best behind Ali. Spencer thinks Melissa was right; their mother never liked Ali and that’s why she pushed Melissa into blaming Ian for Ali’s murder. It would make the problem go away. Mrs. Hastings also reveals a secret she’s never told Spencer or Melissa: she and Mr. Hastings met at Yale Law, not Martha’s Vineyard like they’ve always said. Spencer never knew her mom was in law school. Mrs. Hastings says she got pregnant with Melissa and Nana Hastings insisted she and Mr. Hastings get married. They changed the date on their marriage certificate so nobody would know. Mrs. Hastings never went back because she wanted another baby. She was disappointed with herself for not finishing law school, so she pushed Spencer because she wanted her to have the opportunities she didn’t have.
Spencer wonders if this was the cover-up A was talking about. She recalls a memory of the night Ali went missing. When Spencer returned home, Melissa and Ian were in the den, and her parents weren’t home. Spencer went to sleep and was woken by Melissa’s voice downstairs. Melissa was yelling at their father, saying “I can’t believe you!” and “Where’s Mom? We need to find her!”. Spencer wonders if their mom had been gone that night, too. Could her mom have seen what happened to Ali or who killed her? If so, wouldn’t she have gone to the police?
Mrs. Hastings asks Spencer if she’s ok. Spencer says she was just thinking about the night Ali went missing. Her mother says that was a terrible night and she never wants to talk about it again.
12. Even a Nuthouse Needs an In Crowd
Hanna spends her first day at the Preserve feeling sorry for herself, meeting with her counselor, and taking advantage of the unlimited supply of Valium. Her counselor assures her nobody there knows about A or Ali because they have no access to media, so she won’t be recognized. Hanna navigates the cafeteria during dinnertime for someone to sit with. There’s a group of well-dressed, good-looking girls who don’t even look at her. A group of dorky girls, Tara, Alexis, and Ruby, invite her to join them. Hanna does because she’d rather not eat by herself.
Tara tells Hanna about the facility’s spa, which perks her up. She can get manicures and facials while she’s there. The others warn her about the facility’s “bitchy” girls. One of these girls walks up to their table. She looks surprisingly like Ali, with long blond curls, but with green eyes. She says her name is Iris and she’s Hanna’s roommate. Iris is pretty and fashionable, so Hanna immediately takes a liking to her. Iris announces that she doesn’t eat with losers and tells Hanna to come with her. Hanna tells the others sorry and follows Iris, who starts making plans to hang out at the spa. Maybe the loony bin won’t be so bad, after all.
13. Someone’s Not as Typical as You Think
Wednesday afternoon, Aria is hanging out with Mike at Byron and Meredith’s house. Mike turns on the TV and a news report flashes a headline saying Public Calls for Pretty Little Liars to Take Polygraphs. The reporter explains the Liars claimed to see Ali and were possibly conspiring to hide evidence. They’re also suspected of setting the fire that destroyed the crime scene where Ian’s body was allegedly found. Aria realizes Wilden was right; since Emily told the police about Ali, nobody believes anything they say.
The doorbell rings and Noel comes in. But he’s not there for Mike, he wants to talk to Aria. Mike leaves and Noel asks if she’s ok after leaving the séance. She thinks about what the medium said about Ali being sad. She recalls going with Ali and her mom to their house in the Poconos. Jason and Mr. DiLaurentis and stayed home. Aria overheard Ali telling her mother how guilty she felt about something. Mrs. DiLaurentis said Ali shouldn’t feel guilty; it was the best thing for their family. Ali said “that place is so sad.” Could that place have been the Radley? Was Ali the one who wanted Jason to go there? Is that what Ali was sad about?
Aria asks Noel why he had been at the séance and he admits his older brother had committed suicide when Noel was six. He goes to séances every now and then to see if he can communicate with his brother. Aria is shocked and saddened by this news. Noel asks her to keep it to himself; he’s never told anyone before.
Aria feels flustered. Noel had grabs her hand and pulls her face close to his. She hopes for a kiss, but Noel backs away and says he’s got to go.
14. Even Good Girls Have Secrets
Emily spends Wednesday morning helping Lucy with various farm chores. They take a break and Lucy asks Emily why she’s really there, like if she’s done something wrong and needs to get on a more virtuous path.
Emily tells her she was involved with a guy, but his parents didn’t approve. Lucy reveals she’s seeing a guy from Hershey. He was the guy Emily saw running from the house. Lucy’s parents don’t approve because they’d lost Lucy’s sister. Leah disappeared four years ago during rumspringa and never came back. Lucy suspected Leah’s boyfriend was involved. Their parents finally accepted that Leah is probably dead.
Lucy starts to cry and Emily comforts her. Emily tells her about Ali, relieved she finally has someone nonjudgmental to talk to. Maybe A had sent her there to find Ali, but she found some peace.
15. Facebook Friend
Andrew is at Spencer’s house, cuddling with her and watching TV. A news report shot earlier that day comes on. The cameras are following Aria with the caption What is This Little Liar Hiding? and reporters are interviewing students at Steam. Andrew has to leave to meet the Valentine’s Day dance committee. He can tell Spencer is upset, so he tells her she should just try talking to her parents about her problems and be honest instead of sneaking around.
Spencer walks him out and goes back inside. She can hear her mom and Melissa whispering in the kitchen. Mrs. Hastings tells Melissa to “keep quiet this time, it’s very important.” Spencer wonders if it’s about her mom attending Yale Law and decides she needs proof. She goes into her dad’s office and pulls out one of his yearbooks. Sure enough, her mother’s picture is in there, listed under her maiden name, Macadam. There’s also a polaroid of a blonde pregnant woman. The face is blurry, but Spencer can tell it isn’t her mom. It’s dated June 2nd, almost seventeen years ago. Spencer’s birthday is in April, so maybe this is Olivia and she hadn’t lost any baby weight yet. Spencer continues to browse and is shocked to find a picture of Kenneth DiLaurentis, Ali’s dad. She thinks she hears someone giggle and her phone beeps with a text: Think that’s crazy? Now take another spin through your dad’s hard drive…starting with J. You won’t believe what you find. -A
16. It’s the Queen Bee’s Knees
Hanna is having a fabulous time at the Preserve, bonding with Iris over gossip and spa treatments. They tease Tara relentlessly. Iris shows Hanna a secret room that her old roommate, Courtney, had shown her. Iris talks a lot about Courtney, who had left around November. Hanna and Iris talk about their similar eating disorders and struggles with their uncaring fathers. Iris pulls out a camera to take a selfie with Hanna. Hanna says they should flip off the camera for all the horrible fathers in the world. They give the camera the finger and Iris snaps a photo, then tucks the camera away.
There are drawings from other patients covering the walls of the room. Iris and Hanna grab markers and start scribbling. When Iris is done, Hanna is shocked by her drawing. Iris drew a stone wishing well, eerily similar to the one on Ali’s flag. Hanna asks Iris why she drew it. Iris looks embarrassed and says Hanna’s purse was open on her dresser today and she saw the flag and the wishing well drawing. Hanna tells her she’s keeping it for her friend Alison.
Iris leaves for therapy and Hanna goes back to their room. On the way, Tara stops her. She tells Hanna that Iris is certifiably insane and she should do her best not to make her mad. Hanna is annoyed, but thinks it over and realizes Tara is just jealous. Hanna used to be chubby and dorky like Tara; and she had been jealous of Ali. There’s no reason to believe anything Tara says.
17. Just Another Kegger at the Kahns’
Thursday evening, Aria and Mike go to Noel’s party. Noel greets Aria but has to tend to something. While she’s waiting for him to return, she spots Jenna. Wanting to know why Jenna was outside her house the other night, she tries to catch up to her but loses her in the crowd. Suddenly several people surround her and tease her about being a Pretty Little Liar and supposedly seeing Ali. Noel comes back and pulls Aria away from the crowd.
He takes Aria to a bedroom upstairs and apologizes for what happened. Aria starts to cry and Noel comforts her. He tells her he found another medium who “becomes” the person you want to contact. She just has to be in the spot where the person died. Noel says they can take her to Ali’s backyard and see if she can communicate with Ali’s spirit. Aria agrees and is so touched by his generosity that she kisses him. Noel smiles back at her, obviously enjoying the kiss.
18. An Affair to Forget
Friday morning, Spencer gets a call from a reporter, who implies Spencer may have killed Ali and/or started the fire. Frustrated, she hangs up. She can hear Melissa and their mother whispering in the laundry room. Mrs. Hastings tells Melissa it “would be better not tell her”, with her meaning Spencer. Melissa insists Spencer already knows whatever it is. Mrs. Hastings walks into the kitchen and Melissa goes outside. Spencer asks her mom what they were talking about, but she avoids the subject.
Spencer is suspicious. She wants to talk to her mom about Ali and find out exactly why she didn’t like her. She recalls Ali making crude remarks about Spencer’s parents. Did Ali know their dads went to school together? She never mentioned it. Spencer decides to follow A’s instructions and search her dad’s hard drive for information. While she’s waiting for the file to load, she glances out the window and sees a plumbing van pull up to the Cavanaugh house. One of the workers stares at Jenna while she and her guide dog get into her mother’s car. He scratches his lip and Spencer can see that he has a gold tooth.
Spencer opens the file and inside the J folder are two untitled documents. Spencer opens them and is shocked by what they say. The first says Dear Jessica, I’m sorry things got cut short at your house tonight. I can give you all the time you need, but I can’t wait to be alone with you again. Much love, Peter. The second says Dear Jessica, Per our discussion, I think I can help. Please take this. Xx, Peter. Below the text is a link to a wire transfer for a large sum of money going into an account called the Alison DiLaurentis Recovery Fund. Jessica DiLaurentis is the beneficiary.
Stunned, Spencer realizes the first letter is dated June 20th, three and a half years ago. She’ll never forget June 20th because it was the day Ali died.
19. Secrets Don’t Stay Buried For Long
Emily had a surprisingly nice time with Lucy in the Amish community and is sad to leave. Lucy walks her to the road, but changes her mind and asks Emily to go the cemetery with her so she can talk to Leah. Emily looks at Leah’s headstone and notices she died on June 19th, three and a half years ago. She died the night before Ali died.
There’s a familiar looking eight-pointed star engraved on Lucy’s headstone. Emily asks what it’s for. Lucy says it’s an Amish symbol, but she didn’t want it there because it reminds her of Leah’s boyfriend. He got it tattooed on his arm during rumspringa. Emily suddenly remembers where she’s seen it and knows the real reason A sent her there. She asks Lucy what Leah’s boyfriend’s name was. Lucy says his name was Darren Wilden.
20. Minefields, Indeed
Hanna has to attend mandatory group therapy. The therapist, Dr. Felicia, begins by asking Hanna to introduce herself and tell them why she’s there. Hanna declines to say why, but Tara butts in and says Hanna’s there because she has eating issues, her dad doesn’t love her, and she has a bitchy ex-best friend. Iris accuses Tara of listening in on her and Hanna’s conversation the night before. But Hanna never mentioned Mona.
Hanna gets extremely anxious. She asks Tara how she knew about her friend, and Iris says she obviously was spying on them. Hanna had taken an extra dose of valium. Maybe she had talked about Mona and not realized it, but Iris says she doesn’t remember. Hanna asks if A told her about Mona. Tara says she doesn’t know who A is, but she thought Hanna’s bitchy friend was Alison, not Mona. She throws a copy of People magazine at Hanna and says that’s how she knows about Alison. Horrifed, Hanna opens it to a headline reading A Week of Secrets and Lies with a photo of the Liars after the fire. There’s a poll asking if people thought the Pretty Little Liars killed Alison DiLaurentis, and 92 percent of participants said Yes.
Chaos ensues and Dr. Felicia reprimands Tara for having the magazine. The other patients, including Iris, taunt and tease Hanna. Iris tells her she doesn’t talk to freaks. She stalks off, leaving Hanna alone and devastated.
21. The Truth Hurts
Emily takes the Greyhound back to Philly. She considers what might have happened the day Ali went missing. Wilden probably killed Leah and dumped her in the hole the next day. Maybe he helped Ali run away. It’s Leah’s body that was found, not Ali’s. It really was Ali in the woods.
She recalls the day after Ali vanished. After talking with Mrs. DiLaurentis, the Liars went their separate ways. Emily walked by the hole while it was being filled in. There were several cars parked along the curb; one of them was a familiar black sedan. It’s the same car Jason had climbed into after the Time Capsule announcement. It was also there when the Liars snuck into Ali’s backyard to steal her flag. It’s Darren Wilden’s car.
It all fits. Wilden is trying to cover it up by focusing the blame on the Liars. Emily receives a text from A. It’s a photo of some blurry papers with the titles ALISON DILAURENTIS DISAPPEARANCE: TIMELINE; INTERVIEW, JESSICA DILAURENTIS, JUNE 21, 10:30 P.M.; PROPERTY OF ROSEWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT. EVIDENCE. DO NOT REMOVE.; and DNA REPORT. Another paper’s letterhead says The Preserve at Addison-Stevens. Underneath the photos is a message: Wanna see for yourself? The evidence room is in the back of the Rosewood police station. I’ll leave a door open. -A
22. Ali Returns…Sort Of
After school on Friday, Noel picks up Aria and drives her to Ali’s old house to meet the medium. An old woman named Esmeralda greets them and guides them to the half-dug hole in the backyard. Esmeralda says Ali has been waiting to talk to her, but they need to reach her together.
They join hands and Esmeralda starts to shake and moan. She begins to speak, but it’s Ali’s voice. She tells Aria she can ask only one question. Aria has a lot of questions for Ali, but she chooses the most important one: Who killed her? Esmeralda-as-Ali tells her she’s afraid to say it out loud, so she’ll write it down but then Aria must leave. Esmeralda pulls out a pen and notebook from her purse and scribbles out a note. Aria takes it and runs with Noel back to his car.
Aria is freaked out and afraid to look at the note, but she has to know the truth. She unfolds the paper and recognizes Ali’s bubbly handwriting. What is says shocks her: Ali killed Ali.
23. All in the Family
Spencer is in her room brooding over the letter she found and thought of her dad having an affair with Ali’s mom. Her phone beeps with an IM from USCMidfielderRoxx. It’s Ian. Spencer angrily tells him he was wrong about Jason and Wilden. Ian says he’s sorry, maybe they didn’t kill Ali but they ARE hiding something. Spencer asks if he remembers seeing Melissa fight with their dad the night Ali died. Ian says he didn’t want to tell Spencer, but Melissa had been talking to their dad and she was sure he was having an affair with Ali’s mom. Melissa said their mom knew and was afraid she’d do something stupid.
Shocked, Spencer recalls the morning after Ali went missing. Mrs. DiLaurentis had asked the Liars if Ali told them about overhearing something in the house because she thought she saw Ali in the doorway. Had Ali caught her mom with Mr. Hastings? Ian continues, revealing he saw Mr. Hastings and Mrs. DiLaurentis together a few weeks before that. Ali could tell he was hiding something, so he told her. He’s convinced that’s the reason Jason was after him; that it wasn’t true and Ian said it maliciously.
Ian says he suspects it was Mr. Hastings who fathered Ali, not Mr. DiLaurentis. Spencer realizes it may be true: she, Melissa, and Ali all looked similar. If it’s true, that means Ali had been her sister. Spencer runs down into her dad’s office and pulls out the polaroid of the pregnant woman out of his Yale Law yearbook. She realizes this woman isn’t Olivia, it’s Mrs. DiLaurentis. The picture is dated June 2, almost seventeen years ago, which was a few weeks before Ali was born.
Horrified, Spencer wonders if her mother had been so angry after finding out, she killed Ali in a fit of rage. Suddenly, her mother appears in the doorway and tells Spencer to get her coat because they’re going for a ride.
24. Another Breakthrough at the Preserve
Hanna is dreaming she’s back in her hospital bed after Mona hit her with the car. Ali looms over and tells her “She knows more than you think. We were best friends once, but you can’t trust her. She wants to hurt you like she already hurt me.” Ali starts crying and Hanna wakes up. Who was Ali warning her about? Tara? It had to be after what Tara did to Hanna in group therapy.
Iris walks into their shared room. Hanna apologizes for getting her in trouble and having her magazines taken away. Iris is hurt because she told Hanna everything about her, but Hanna had told her nothing. Hanna blurts out everything: Ali’s death, Mona becoming A, and getting hit by the car. Iris is sympathetic and comforts Hanna while she cries. Iris leaves and Hanna notices a magazine sticking out of Iris’s purse. It’s the same issue of People with the story of the Liars inside.
Curious, Hanna takes a peek. She is horrified by what she finds. Her stay at the Preserve had been leaked to the press, including the amount of valium and sleeping pills she was taking. Below the article is the picture she took with Iris flipping off the camera. She looks closely at the photo and notices something she hadn’t seen when she’d been in the secret room: a sketch of Ali’s face on the wall. Hanna realizes Iris had double-crossed her. Ali wasn’t warning her about Tara. She was warning her about Iris.
25. Aria Says Good-Bye
Aria is devastated by what she learned from Esmeralda: Ali had killed herself. She feels incredibly guilty for not knowing. Looking back, all the signs had been there. The prescription bottle she found might have been for depression. Ali had been texting her, asking if Aria was avoiding her and wanting to talk. But Aria had ignored her. Had Ali purposely overdosed ?
She drives to St. Basil’s Cemetery to visit Ali’s grave. Jason is there, presumably there to visit Ali. Aria nervously tells him she just wants to talk to Ali. His cell phone rings so he steps away. Aria turns to Ali’s headstone and cries, telling Ali how sorry she is.
A voice calls out to Aria. She turns to see a female police officer shining a bright flashlight in her face. The officer tells her she needs to take her downtown and handcuffs her. Aria insists she didn’t do anything wrong, but the cop says she’s hiding Ian’s ring, which is considered evidence. She pushes Aria toward her car and turns to Jason, thanking him for telling her Aria was there. Jason looks confused. He insists he didn’t call. Aria screams at Jason and then yells at the cop. She tells her Jason used to be a mental patient and she shouldn’t be taking advice from him. Jason looks shocked. He tells Aria she’s got it wrong. Aria pleads with him, wanting to know what information she has wrong, but the cop leads her away.
26. The Evidence Doesn’t Lie
Emily makes it back to Rosewood and runs to the police station. A door is propped open in the back of the building. She walks inside and down a hallway into a door marked EVIDENCE. Before she can look for the documents in the photo A had sent her, she is interrupted by a police officer. He recognizes her and says he’s been looking for her. Terrified, Emily tells him he needs to look for Wilden because he murdered a girl named Leah, not Ali. The cop just laughs. He handcuffs her and leads her away.
27. That’s Amore!
Mrs. Hastings won’t tell Spencer where they are going, only that it’s a surprise. Spencer ruminates on everything she’s discovered, wondering what really happened the night Ali died. Had her own mother killed Ali? Did she confront her father about the affair? Mr. Hastings might have sent Mrs. DiLaurentis money as a cover-up. Spencer’s phone beeps with a text: Your sister is counting on you to make this right, Spence. Or else blood will be on your hands too. -A
They arrive at Otto, a fancy Italian restaurant. Mr. Hastings and Melissa greet them in the parking lot, yelling “Surprise!”. There’s two police cars in the lot. Overwhelmed, Spencer blurts out that she knows what really happened the night Ali died: Mrs. Hastings killed Ali after finding out her husband was having an affair with Ali’s mother and had fathered Ali. To her surprise, her mother is shocked. Her father yells at her. Mrs. Hastings turns to Mr. Hastings and starts hitting him with her purse, saying she knew it was true but he never admitted it. Spencer realizes her mom didn’t know about the affair.
Mrs. Hastings continues to berate her husband, who insists he didn’t know about “the kids” until later. She tells him she wants him out of the house immediately. She screams at Spencer, flabbergasted that Spencer had actually thought she had murdered Ali. Mrs. Hastings said she never wanted to talk about that night ever again because of the fact that something horrible and tragic had happened, not because she found out about her husband’s affair.
Dumbfounded, Spencer asks Melissa why she had been so desperate to find their mother that night. Melissa looks confused and says their dad refused to drive her to the airport the next morning because she had gotten drunk. Melissa needed their mother to give her a ride. Spencer tells her what Ian had said over IM about Melissa knowing about the affair. Melissa is shocked. She says she didn’t know about any affair and hasn’t spoken to Ian on IM. Spencer realizes A had duped her again; the person she’d been speaking to wasn’t Ian. Desperate to understand everything, Spencer asks what Melissa and their mother had been whispering about in the kitchen. Appalled, Melissa says they were planning tonight’s surprise dinner for Spencer.
Not knowing what to do or say or do, Spencer starts crying. She’d just broken up her family. A police officer approaches and tells Spencer she needs to come with him. He handcuffs her and tells her she’s under arrest for communicating with an escaped criminal. The police have the IM transcripts to prove it.
28. Now Who’s the Crazy One?
Hanna tries desperately to get into Iris’s secret room to find the drawing of Ali, but the door won’t budge. She furiously searches the Preserve for Iris. She’s convinced Iris knew Ali. Maybe Iris had been to the Radley too, and met Ali there through Jason. Maybe Iris is A or the one who killed Ali.
Hanna bumps into her in a hallway and screams accusations at her. Iris laughs and says she didn’t know Ali, but Hanna wanted her dead and thought Ali got what she deserved. Hanna feels betrayed; hadn’t she and Iris been friends? Iris scoffs at this idea. Hanna demands to know how Iris knew Ali, but Iris denies knowing her. A nurse intervenes and two police officers appear. They grab Hanna and drag her away, telling her she’s under arrest.
29. Master of Puppets
The Liars are all taken one-by-one to a single interrogation room. Terrified, they tell each other what they know, realizing A had set them all up. Hanna says the cops think they conspired to kill Ali and helped Ian escape. Spencer says it was A she was taking to on IM, not Ian. Aria admits she never gave the cops the ring, but how would they even know about it? Jason turned her in, but he couldn’t have known. Emily reveals A sent her on a wild goose chase to an Amish community and found the truth about Wilden. He killed Leah Zook and her body was mistaken for Ali’s. Aria insists Ali had killed herself. Hanna argues that it was a crazy girl named Iris who killed Ali. Spencer drops the biggest bomb; that A convinced her that her mother killed Ali and Ali was actually Spencer’s sister. She ruined her parents’ marriage because of A.
A had ruined all of them. They all listened to A and have now been arrested for Ali’s murder.
30. Free at Last
A police officer walks into the interrogation room and tells the Liars she’s releasing them. All she will tell them is that charges against them have been dropped. They walk out the front door and Wilden is there, along with several police cruisers and news vans. He tells them he’s escorting them home. Emily angrily spits out that he killed Leah Zook. Wilden says he knows Emily went to Lancaster and whatever she heard isn’t true. He swears he never hurt Leah. He apologizes to the Liars and admits he should have listened to them; the police now know about the threats from the New A.
There’s a great commotion when several police officers pull a man from one of their cruisers. The man is kicking and screaming while news reporters descend and ask why he killed Ali. The Liars are shocked and confused; who is this person? Wilden pulls them away, but they overhear a reporter asking about another body that had just been found. Someone else had just been murdered.
As Wilden guides them to his car, Emily stares at the man and is horrified when she recognizes him. He’s the construction worker with the gold tooth that had been working in Ali’s backyard. She tells the others who he is. Spencer becomes nauseated, realizing she had seen him in the Cavanaughs’ yard a few days prior, watching Jenna.
31. The Very Good and the Very Evil
A police officer drives Spencer home. He won’t tell her anything about what is going on, so she checks her Sidekick for the local news. There’s a live broadcast headlining Pretty Little Liars Exonerated. The reporter announces a blond man named Billy Ford has been arrested for Ali’s murder. The police found photos of Ali and the Liars and other evidence, including the IM transcripts, in Ford’s car. Spencer realizes Ford was the other blond person Ian saw in the woods. An anonymous tip led the police to another murder.
They pull onto Spencer’s street. Police cars surround her driveway. Spencer is terrified; what if the other body they found was Melissa? She jumps out and runs up to her house. She’s relieved when she sees Melissa on the porch. She grabs her sister and hugs her tight. Spencer looks at the scene and realizes the cops aren’t surrounding her driveway; they’re in the Cavanaughs’ driveway. Spencer is horrified when Melissa reveals who was just murdered: Jenna.
What Happens Next…
So Jenna is dead. Aria probably regrets not asking her about Ali’s “sibling problems.” But what about Ali? Is she still alive, or is the body found in the hole really hers? Is A Billy Ford or someone else the Liars don’t know? We’ll have to stay tuned, because A is keeping that last secret under wraps. For now.
Next Book: Wanted (#8)
What are your thoughts on Heartless? Sound off in the comments below!