Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
First published in Great Britain in 2007 by Sphere
Published in the US in 2006 by HarperTempest,
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Copyright © Alloy Entertainment and Sara Shepard, 2006
Produced by Alloy Entertainment
151 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All characters and events in this publication, other
than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious
and any resemblance to real persons,
living or dead, is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any
form or by any means, without the prior
permission in writing of the publisher, nor be
otherwise circulated in any form of binding or
cover other than that in which it is published and
without a similar condition including this
condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
A CIP catalogue record for this book
is available from the British Library.
Typeset in Sabon by M Rules
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Clays Ltd, St Ives plc
An imprint of
Little, Brown Book Group
London WC2E 7EN
A Member of the Hachette Livre Group of Companies
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
How It All Started
Imagine it’s a couple of years ago, the summer between seventh
and eighth grade. You’re tan from lying out next to
your rock-lined pool, you’ve got on your new Juicy sweats
(remember when everybody wore those?), and your mind’s
on your crush, the boy who goes to that other prep school
whose name we won’t mention and who folds jeans at
Abercrombie in the mall. You’re eating your Cocoa Krispies
just how you like ’em – doused in skim milk – and you see
this girl’s face on the side of the milk carton. MISSING. She’s
cute – probably cuter than you – and has a feisty look in her
eyes. You think, Hmm, maybe she likes soggy Cocoa
Krispies too. And you bet she’d think Abercrombie boy was
a hottie as well. You wonder how someone so . . . well, so
much like you went missing. You thought only girls who
entered beauty pageants ended up on the sides of milk cartons.
Well, think again.
Aria Montgomery burrowed her face in her best friend
Alison DiLaurentis’s lawn. ‘Delicious,’ she murmured.
‘Are you smelling the grass?’ Emily Fields called from
behind her, pushing the door of her mom’s Volvo wagon
closed with her long, freckly arm.
‘It smells good.’ Aria brushed away her pink-striped hair
and breathed in the warm early-evening air. ‘Like summer.’
Emily waved ’bye to her mom and pulled up the blah
jeans that were hanging on her skinny hips. Emily had been
a competitive swimmer since Tadpole League, and even
though she looked great in a Speedo, she never wore anything
tight or remotely cute like the rest of the girls in her
seventh-grade class. That was because Emily’s parents
insisted that one built character from the inside out.
(Although Emily was pretty certain that being forced to hide
her IRISH GIRLS DO IT BETTER baby tee at the back of her
underwear drawer wasn’t exactly character enhancing.)
‘You guys!’ Alison pirouetted through the front yard. Her
hair was bunched up in a messy ponytail, and she was still
wearing her rolled-up field hockey kilt from the team’s endof-
the-year party that afternoon. Alison was the only seventh
grader to make the JV team and got rides home with the
older Rosewood Day School girls, who blasted Jay-Z from
their Cherokees and sprayed Alison with perfume before
dropping her off so that she wouldn’t smell like the cigarettes
they’d all been smoking.
‘What am I missing?’ called Spencer Hastings, sliding
through a gap in Ali’s hedges to join the others. Spencer lived
next door. She flipped her long, sleek dark-blond ponytail
over her shoulder and took a swig from her purple Nalgene
bottle. Spencer hadn’t made the JV cut with Ali in the fall,
and had to play on the seventh-grade team. She’d been on a
year-long field hockey binge to perfect her game, and the
girls knew she’d been practicing dribbling in the backyard
before they arrived. Spencer hated when anyone was better
at anything than she was. Especially Alison.
‘Wait for me!’
They turned to see Hanna Marin climbing out of her
mom’s Mercedes. She stumbled over her tote bag and waved
her chubby arms wildly. Ever since Hanna’s parents had
gotten a divorce last year, she’d been steadily putting on
weight and outgrowing her old clothes. Even though Ali
rolled her eyes, the rest of the girls pretended not to notice.
That’s just what best friends do.
Alison, Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna bonded last year
when their parents volunteered them to work Saturday afternoons
at Rosewood Day School’s charity drive – well, all
except for Spencer, who volunteered herself. Whether or not
Alison knew about the other four, the four knew about
Alison. She was perfect. Beautiful, witty, smart. Popular. Boys
wanted to kiss Alison, and girls – even older ones – wanted to
be her. So the first time Ali laughed at one of Aria’s jokes,
asked Emily a question about swimming, told Hanna her
shirt was adorable, or commented that Spencer’s penmanship
was way neater than her own, they couldn’t help but be,
well . . . dazzled. Before Ali, the girls had felt like pleated,
high-waisted mom jeans – awkward and noticeable for all the
wrong reasons – but then Ali made them feel like the most
perfect-fitting Stella McCartneys that no one could afford.
Now, more than a year later, on the last day of seventh
grade, they weren’t just best friends, they were the girls of
Rosewood Day. A lot had happened to make it that way.
Every sleepover they had, every field trip, had been a new
adventure. Even homeroom had been memorable when they
were together. (Reading a steamy note from the varsity crew
captain to his math tutor over the PA system was now a
Rosewood Day legend.) But there were other things they all
wanted to forget. And there was one secret they couldn’t
even bear to talk about. Ali said that secrets were what
bonded their five-way best-friendship together for eternity. If
that was true, they were going to be friends for life.
‘I’m so glad this day is over,’ Alison moaned before gently
pushing Spencer back through the gap in the hedges. ‘Your
‘I’m so glad seventh grade is over,’ Aria said as she, Emily,
and Hanna followed Alison and Spencer toward the renovated
barn-turned-guesthouse where Spencer’s older sister,
Melissa, had lived for her junior and senior years of high
school. Fortunately, she’d just graduated and was headed to
Prague this summer, so it was all theirs for the night.
Suddenly they heard a very squeaky voice. ‘Alison! Hey,
Alison! Hey, Spencer!’
Alison turned to the street. ‘Not it,’ she whispered.
‘Not it,’ Spencer, Emily, and Aria quickly followed.
Hanna frowned. ‘Shit.’
It was this game Ali had stolen from her brother, Jason,
who was a senior at Rosewood Day. Jason and his friends
played it at inter-prep school field parties when scoping out
girls. Being the last to call out ‘not it’ meant you had to
entertain the ugly girl for the night while your friends got to
hook up with her hot friends – meaning, essentially, that you
were as lame and unattractive as she was. In Ali’s version,
the girls called ‘not it’ whenever there was anyone ugly,
uncool, or unfortunate near them.
This time, ‘not it’ was for Mona Vanderwaal – a dork
from down the street whose favorite pastime was trying to
befriend Spencer and Alison – and her two freaky friends,
Chassey Bledsoe and Phi Templeton. Chassey was the girl
who’d hacked into the school’s computer system and then
told the principal how to better secure it, and Phi Templeton
went everywhere with a yo-yo – enough said. The three
stared at the girls from the middle of the quiet, suburban
road. Mona was perched on her Razor scooter, Chassey was
on a black mountain bike, and Phi was on foot – with her
yo-yo, of course.
‘You guys want to come over and watch Fear Factor?’
‘Sorry,’ Alison simpered. ‘We’re kind of busy.’
Chassey frowned. ‘Don’t you want to see when they eat
‘Gross!’ Spencer whispered to Aria, who then started pretending
to eat invisible lice off Hanna’s scalp like a monkey.
‘Yeah, I wish we could.’ Alison tilted her head. ‘We’ve
planned this sleepover for a while now. But maybe next
Mona looked at the sidewalk. ‘Yeah, okay.’
‘See ya.’ Alison turned around, rolling her eyes, and the
other girls did the same.
They crossed through Spencer’s back gate. To their left
was Ali’s neighboring backyard, where her parents were
building a twenty-seat gazebo for their lavish outdoor picnics.
‘Thank God the workers aren’t here,’ Ali said, glancing
at a yellow bulldozer.
Emily stiffened. ‘Have they been saying stuff to you
‘Easy there, Killer,’ Alison said. The others giggled.
Sometimes they called Emily ‘Killer,’ as in Ali’s personal pit
bull. Emily used to find it funny, too, but lately she wasn’t
The barn was just ahead. It was small and cozy and had a
big window that looked out on Spencer’s large, rambling
farm, which had its very own windmill. Here in Rosewood,
Pennsylvania, a little suburb about twenty miles from
Philadelphia, you were more likely to live in a twenty-fiveroom
farmhouse with a mosaic-tiled pool and hot tub, like
Spencer’s house, than in a prefab McMansion. Rosewood
smelled like lilacs and mown grass in the summer and clean
snow and wood stoves in the winter. It was full of lush, tall
pines, acres of rustic family-run farms, and the cutest foxes