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Archive Review: Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder

It’s junior year of high school and Hazel’s ready for something to change. She wears a stylish outfit to school for once, and suddenly things do change. She gets attention from the new guy at school, and more impressively she gets attention from the It Girls, the Pretty Little Devils clique, fashionistas and babysitters and rivals of the Cheerleaders. What could be better? Hazel has cash to spend, friends to see, and a boy to kiss. But with all the parties and fun comes a sinister twist when death starts to follow the PLDs.

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What is Pretty Little Devils about?

Pretty Little Devils is about a high school clique that likes horror movies, fake brains, and the color purple. These girls are fashionable, smart, and relatively well behaved but they’re also on top of the social food chain of their school. They invite Hazel into their inner circle, where she discovers that they have strict rules all the way down to who gets what cut of the babysitting money. Their rules only get them so far, though, when threatening events begin to happen. They suspect anyone including Hazel’s new boyfriend, their cheerleading rivals, and eventually each other.

Genre: YA Thriller

This book is very much a thriller. Hazel, as the primary POV character, gives the reader insight into the terrifying world that she and the other PLDs experience as they’re anonymously threatened, and the belief that nothing will really come of the threats being shattered by the reality of dealing with unhinged and intensely messed up antagonists.

Tropes: Unattended Teenagers

Yes folks here we have yet another YA story about teenagers with far more free time on their hands than any teenager realistically does. This book is miles better than others at representing teenagers with responsible parents, don’t get me wrong. The house parties have to be realistically and sneakily planned, and there are curfews and consequences for the main characters if they don’t behave. But to an extent, there’s still some adventurous behavior that tips the scales towards a little unrealistic.

Plot: A Killer in their midst…

Things start small for the PLDs. Mysterious messages, and vague threats. But soon things start to ramp up and the PLDs realize there’s someone very real and very threatening stalking the girls, toying with them. There’s a dangerous person in their midst, and that person is willing to kill to get what they want. Yes, this thriller novel turns into a bit of a murder mystery, with an anonymous stalker with blood on their hands torturing the PLDs.

The Good

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Granted, as this is an archived review, it’s been a while since I last read it. But I reread it so often I ended up having to buy a second copy in order to keep reading it so let that speak for itself! I found the characters more realistic than a lot of high school setting thriller novels, and I found that they weren’t as overdramatic as well. Things get taken care of in ways that make sense and sure there’s a little drama there that I don’t think any of us actually encountered in high school, but that’s what fiction is for!

The Okay

I found the tug of war between the PLDs and Matty over Hazel a bit tiring when I read it. At first, Hazel and Matty are something of a golden couple, both of them newly initiated into the popular circle. But The unnecessary finger pointing at Matty whenever something bad happened and the subsequent forced choices for Hazel seemed like such an obvious red herring to me.

The Bad

As far as I remember the only thing I ever took issue with was the lack of explanation at the end, and as I want to encourage others to read the book I won’t be going into further detail to avoid spoilers. The ending was a bit of a twist, and though it’s possible to see it coming (especially in a rereading) there are definitely questions left unanswered. Not a whole lot, but if that’s the sort of thing to bug you it might be just enough.

Final Thoughts

This is a quick, stand alone book with a fun story and entertaining premise. It’s definitely a YA appropriate murder mystery/thriller novel, which is a fun thing to find, especially since it’s from before the crazy booming success of Pretty Little Liars. This book is also thoroughly re-readable, as I’ve discovered over the years. It’s a great read to have on vacation because it’s both absorbing and easy to follow, meaning you can consume it in a whole beach day! It lacks a lot of the melodrama of other teen thrillers, which is refreshing for someone who’s not a fan of All That. The characters are believable, the mischief attainable, and the twist was indeed interesting!

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By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

One reply on “Archive Review: Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder”

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