Book Review: Heartless by Sara Shepard

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We made it to book seven! It seems that the woods behind the Hastings house has more then one strange occurrence. Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna claim they seen Ian’s dead body only to have it disappear. Then from the fire that was set by god only knows who someone emerges who’s suppose to be dead. But of course things aren’t ever that easy for the girls. That is as long as A is around things are never that easy or simple.

This is another five star for me. To me it didn’t seem like that much actually happened but once I finished it and looked back at the notes in my blog book I found that I have three and a half pages of notes. That is honestly the most notes I have had for any of the books that I’ve reviewed. Or maybe its not that there was a lot that happened just a few really big events that I think are going to be super important in the other books. If you’ve been following along with the marathon reading of the Pretty Little Liars series then you know that the big reason I am reading the series is because I really didn’t like the show at all.  So I am happy to say from what I have seen of the show and what I have read of the series they aren’t a lot alike! I can honestly say that if it was more like the show the books would have been donated to the local used bookstore. If you haven’t guessed yet I’m going to be continuing on with the series.

 

Spoiler Section!

The book starts back on the day after Ali goes missing. Mrs. DiLaurentis asks the girls to come to her house so they she can talk to them because Ali isn’t home and she has no idea where she is. The girls decide to cover for Ali saying that she is probably with some of her other field hockey friends. But Mrs. DiLaurentis had already talked to them and they hadn’t seen Ali. Its after this meeting that the girls start to grow apart, as if Ali was the glue that held them all together.

After the little flashback we are back to the fire that stared at the end of the last book, Killer. The girls are all coming to and getting help from EMS because of the amount of smoke that they inhaled. But someone is missing. Ali. Emily is confused what happened to Ali and how she just disappeared. The press, of course, are right there and they hear Emily saying how they had seen Ali and asking what happened to her. The medics get the girls out of there and take them to the hospital. Thankfully they are all alright with no serious injuries.

While they are still at the hospital, in Spencer’s room, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer fill Aria in with what Ian said when they were IMing him. Ian tells the girls that he is almost certain that Jason and Wilden killed Ali. Aria tells them after that she seen the fire being set but she didn’t see the persons face. Wilden enters the room and the girls start to confront him about what Ian has told them. He admits that Jason and him were old friends. Wilden also tells them that they should stop saying that Ali is alive. He tells the girls that the DNA from the body that they found months before was the same DNA as Ali’s. Ali is really dead. Based of everything that Wilden tells them it seems that Jason and Wilden aren’t Ali’s killers.

After Spencer is out of the hospital and back home she ends up telling her parents everything that happened with Olivia. But they aren’t angry with her because there’s a lot that they didn’t tell her earlier. It turns out that due to complications with Melissa’s birth Mrs. Hastings’s health would be in danger if she got pregnant again. But Mr. and Mrs. Hastings wanted a second child. So they got a surrogate who turned out to be Olivia. They ended up having to pay Olivia more money then what was originally agreed upon so that they could have Spencer and not have Olivia involved. This is also why Spencer’s Grandma never left her any money in the will, because she didn’t think of Spencer as her grandchild. After Spencer’s parents tell her everything they end up asking her for forgiveness and for them to have a fresh start. Spencer agrees to this. A few days later Spencer and her mom end up having a mother- daughter day, a lovely spa and late lunch. During lunch Mrs. Hastings revels that she didn’t finish law school, where she met Spencer’s father, because she got pregnant with Melissa and had to marry Mr. Hastings. At this point Spencer zones out thinking about the night Ali disappeared. When she tunes back in and tells her mom what she was thinking about. Her mom acts nonchalant but is gripping a knife tightly and says to Spencer that they shouldn’t speak of that night again.  At this point the news is saying that people want the girl (The Pretty Little Liars) to take a polygraph about the murder of Ali. Back at their house Spencer is going through a year book from Yale Law in her fathers office to find a photo of her mom when she went there. But she discovers that Ali’s dad went to Yale Law with her parents. She also finds a photo of a pregnant women with her father. Later that night Spencer goes onto her computer to look through the disk copy of her fathers computer because A told her that there was something there, a cover up, that she would find interesting. On the disk she finds a short letter to Ali’s mom, Jessica DiLaurentis, from her father saying that he wanted to be with her. The last time it was modified was three and a half years ago, the night that Ali went missing. Not long after finding this on the disk Ian starts IMing Spencer.  She asks him about the night Ali died when Melissa and Mr. Hastings were talking about Mrs. Hastings and where she was (because they didn’t know) and asks what he knows about it. Ian tells her that when Melissa come back into the room they were using that night she told him that Mrs. Hastings found out about the affair Mr. Hastings and Jessica DiLaurentis were having and she didn’t know what her mom was going to do. It turns out that Ian seen Mr. Hastings and Mrs. DiLaurentis red handed in the affair two weeks before the night Ali went missing. Ali made Ian tell her this a week or so before she died. Ali ended up taking this news really hard and that was the final straw that made Jason and Wilden hate Ian. Ian points out how its funny that Ali, Spencer, and Melissa look a lot alike and maybe that’s why he liked them, Ian’s basically suggesting that they are sisters. This links to why Mrs. Hastings didn’t like Ali. On the way to a dinner Spencer asks her parents about the affair and it turns out that Mrs. Hastings didn’t know about the affair or the kids…… That’s right kids. The affair had been going on for years all the way back to Yale Law School meaning that Jason and Ali are likely Mr. Hastings. Mrs. Hastings kicks Mr. Hastings out. After all this happens Mrs. Hastings tells Spencer that the dinner was suppose to be special dinner for Spencer. Its at this point that the police come up to Spencer and arrest her for communicating with a criminal and they have IMs to prove it.

Things for Hanna are going very good especially with her and Mike, they are actually dating now. As usual things are never that easy for these girls. Mr. Marin, Isabel, and Kate confront Hanna at breakfast one morning telling her that they think she needs to go to a place called The Preserve at Addison- Stevens in Delaware which is a help center for youth. The reason why is because Rosewood Days psychologist thinks that Hanna has PTSD from everything Mona as A put her through in the fall. Of course this made Hanna pretty angry because she thinks that she doesn’t have PTSD and ends up fainting. In the end Mr. Marin, Isabel, and Mike end up dropping Hanna off at The Preserve. When she first gets there she is welcomed and told the rules, which are reasonable. However there is one rule that Hanna is upset about and that is the no cellphone rule because that means that Hanna can’t talk to Mike except for on hour on Sundays. Hanna’s first day was boring but she did meet her roommate, Iris. Iris brings hope to Hanna that The Preserves won’t be as bad as she originally thought. In the following days Tara, who Hanna met on her first day there, warns Hanna that Iris is certifiably insane and to be careful. But Hanna doesn’t believe her. At The Preserves there is a weekly group therapy meeting. Its at this point that the girls at group therapy find out who Hanna really is because someone, Iris, smuggled in a magazine, which is not allowed. Part of the reason that Hanna’s father picked The Preserve was because no one would have known who Hanna was because they aren’t allowed outside influences. After finding this out Iris doesn’t want to be friends with Hanna anymore. The magazine is then confiscated. Somehow Iris has a copy of the magazine still that revealed who Hanna really is. Hanna is looking at the article about the Pretty Little Liars and she finds part of it is about her and her experience at The Preserve. It tells about things that only someone close to Hanna would know, someone like Iris. Hanna also notices that in a selfie photo in the magazine that was taken in Iris’s secret room at The Preserves and there a little drawing on the wall that looks like Ali. Hanna doesn’t know how she didn’t notice it before. All this leads Hanna to believe that Tara was right about Iris and that she can’t trust her. Hanna decides to try and confront Iris about this and how she knows Ali but Iris has no idea who she is talking about. Hanna doesn’t let up and keeps asking. This ends up causing a scene and security ends up handcuffing Hanna and leads her away. They lead her down a hall to Rosewood’s Chief of Police. Hanna ends up getting arrested.

Just like the others Aria is confused about seeing Ali during the fire. On the way to school one day Byron tells Aria that maybe it was Ali’s ghost they seen and maybe its because Ali’s spirit has unfinished business that that’s why they saw her. Aria ends up humoring this and goes to a séance where she unexpectedly runs into Noel Khan. Not to long after the séance starts Aria realizes that the séance is a total scam and runs out. The following day Noel goes to Byron and Meredith’s house to talk to Aria. He tells her the reason why he was at the séance. When he was six years old his much older brother, Jared, hung himself when he was babysitting Noel (Noel was sleeping when it happened) and Noel was the one who found him. He asks Aria to keep this to herself and she says that she will. At this point they almost kiss but they don’t but Aria kind of wishes they did. She also gets invited to Noel’s hot tub party. On Thursday she ends up going to Noel’s party. Not long after she gets there she get cornered and people start to verbally assault her about everything that is going on in Ali’s case, even going as far to ask if the Pretty Little Liars killed Ali. Noel comes to her rescue and wicks her upstairs from everyone. Once they are alone he comforts her telling her that she doesn’t need to deal with that. He also tells her that he found another medium, an actual one this time. Aria thanks him for being so nice to her and he asks her why he wouldn’t be. They end up kissing and Noel is smiling like he has been waiting for years for it to happen. Aria and Noel meet with the psychic. But they have to meet with her at the place where Ali’s body was found, her old back yard. The medium seems to have been taken over by Ali’s spirit (her voice changed to Ali’s and even developed the same writing as Ali). Aria ends up with a note from Ali’s spirit saying  “Ali killed Ali”. Aria goes to visit Ali’s grave when she runs into Jason who’s there. They don’t have any time to talk because he has to take a call that he is receiving  and walks away to talk to the person on the other line.  While she is at the grave a police officer comes up to her and arrests her for not giving over evidence, Ian’s ring. The officer thanks Jason for telling them where Aria was but Jason tells Aria that he didn’t tell them anything. Aria is confused and doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

A few days after getting out of the hospital Emily gets a message from A saying that Ali is alive and asks Emily what she would do to find Ali. Long story short Emily has to go visit the Amish. Emily ends up going to Lancaster. Surprisingly the Amish way of life isn’t as bad as Emily thought it would be. While Emily is with the Amish she becomes close to Lucy Zook. Lucy tells her how her sister Leah left on Rumspringa to be with her boyfriend. The Zook’s lost contract with Leah and eventually had to presume her dead because there was no trace of her (they even went as far as to get professional help locating her but they couldn’t find her). As Emily is leaving to go back to Rosewood her and Lacy stop at Leah’s grave. Leah died June 19th, the day before Ali went missing. Emily finds out from Lucy that Leah’s boyfriend was Darren Wilden. That’s right the main police officer in all the books thus far. But that’s not the only surprising thing, the other is that Wilden was Amish and left of Rumspringa! On the bus back to Philly Emily gets another message from A. Its a picture of evidence from Ali’s case. A tells her that they will leave the door to the Rosewood Police Evidence Room open for her. Emily goes to the police station and found that in fact the door at the  back of the building is open just like A said it would be. She almost makes it to the Evidence Room when she is caught by an officer. She finds out that they have been looking for her and Emily is arrested.

Now we have all four of the girls arrested. As odd as it seems the police put the girls all in the same room (which I don’t think normally would happen in cases with multiple people arrested but anyhow). The girls start talking about what has been happening and soon realize A set EVERYTHING up (even that the IMs from Ian could have been from A and not Ian) including tipping off the cops to get the girls arrested. As quickly as they are arrested an officer comes and tells them they are free to go and all charges have been dropped. But the girls have no idea what’s going on. The girls are told that they will escorted home by officers. When they go outside its a media storm and the girls are confused at what is happening. They find out that the police found New A, a man named Mr. Ford. It turns out that he had been working on the gazebo for the DiLaurentis’s when Ali died. The police believe that Billy Ford use to stalk Ali and there was proof in his truck. They also found all the messages from A and photos of Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna. A few days before they have been arrested Spencer recalls seeing him on her street working for someone. The girls hear the media mention something about a body of a female that had recently been found and are asking if Mr. Ford is responsible for that death too.

As Spencer is on the way home with an officer she notices police outside of her house and starts to think that the other girl who was killed was Melissa. Spencer gets out of the car and realizes that the police are actually across the street at the Cavanaugh’s house. The other girl who was killed was Jenna. She was found in a trench in her backyard that had been dug because they had pipes that had to be replaced.

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