Publication date: February 7th 2012
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Sutton Mercer watches from the afterlife as her long-lost twin, Emma Paxton, takes over her identity to solve her murder. But after ruling out her early leads, Emma still hasn’t found Sutton’s killer. A lot of people wanted her dead—but one name keeps popping up: Thayer Vega. When the gorgeous and mysterious Thayer returns to town, Emma has to move fast to figure out whether he’s back for revenge…or if he already got it.
As much as I adore Sara Shepard, it saddens me to say that it seems she has too much on her plate lately and it shows in her books. Her last two books in the PLL series were OKish but Two Truths And A Lie was boring in my opinion, even though it was an one-sitting read for me.
Nothing really interesting happens in TTAAL. Apart from Sutton's memories (2 chapters), everything else was about Emma's new life as Sutton and how she's adjusting. How she gets along with Ethan while trying to keep their relationship a secret, how she copes with the rivalry between her and Laurel blah blah, trivial, everyday stuff. Never Have I Ever had such a strong ending and I was really looking forward to see what happens next because the way I see it Thayer is a very important person in Sutton's life. I guess he is, but we didn't get to see a lot of him, or at all! Only through Sutton's memories and they were definitely not enough.
In Shepard's defense however, she does have to "compete" against the TV show a little bit. I feel like the show has ruined the books for me, to be honest. And that's because the books are very slow paced and we only get to read two of them a year, whereas in the show something is always happening and we get to watch 20-22(maybe more) episodes a year, so inevitably one gets more accustomed to the TV characters. For example, if you watch the show, you know how Sutton's relationship with Laurel is from episodes 1-4. We are on episode 18 now, so we're way past that. This is book 3! I already know that Sutton and Mads and Char are best friends, I don't want to read any more about it. I want mystery and weird messages and ominous situations, not stuff I already know from the show. If you don't watch the show, which I somehow doubt if you're a Shepard fan, then you don't have a problem.
Surprisingly, Pretty Little Liars is a completely different matter. Show is slow(or quick in its own, distinctive pace)-books real quick paced, way ahead of the show. I think it was too early in the series to do a TV show(only 1st book published) and I am on the fence as to whether I like Sutton dead(books) or alive(show). One thing's for sure: characters in the book are way darker and meaner than the show.
I really hope the next ones get better, because I was really disappointed in this one. I just wish writers didn't do 10 projects at once and rather concentrated on one thing and did it right. Easy for me to say, I know. Then again, that's why I am a reader, not a writer.