Let me begin by saying that I have the best friend and writing partner in Amber West. With the Kindle release of Football Sweetheart last week, Amber suggested that we use this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday to promote my book. While I don’t want to force my story down everyone’s throats by talking about it every day, as a self-published writer it is my duty to market the book as much as I can.
First, a little something about Football Sweetheart…
Aimee Freeman is looking forward to the start of her senior year. She knows her best friend Ella has been keeping secrets from her all summer long, but with football season right around the corner, the student trainer decides not to worry about it—they’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the field.
Then Ella goes missing, and Aimee realizes those secrets might be the key to finding her. As the case unfolds, Aimee discovers more than one person may have wanted to harm Ella. Was it Ella’s current boyfriend, a social outcast the entire city seems intent on blaming for her disappearance? Or her ex-boyfriend, the beloved star quarterback who has harassed Ella since their breakup? The list of potential suspects continues to grow after Aimee reads Ella’s journal, but she must first break her best friend’s secret code to reveal their identities.
Unbeknownst to Aimee, her investigation has not gone unnoticed. Ella’s abductor is watching and waiting. Will he decide Aimee needs to be silenced—making her the next target?
So, which television series could Amber and I review this week where the specific TV audiences might actually enjoy reading Football Sweetheart as well? Well, it’s Young Adult and a mystery, so Pretty Little Liars came to mind. I’ve already reviewed PLL once on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, but I enjoy the teenage drama so much that I selected it… again.
And for Amber? Well, what says West Texas High School Football more than Friday Night Lights? Yea, that’s what I thought…
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy our special Football Sweetheart edition of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday…
The insurgence of YA mystery on TV receives a DVR priority in this Young Adult mystery writer’s house. Thankfully, ABC Family provides young mystery lovers (and some of us “old”) with a few great soap-opera style whodunits with Pretty Little Liars topping the list.
The series begins when Alison DiLaurentis’ (Sasha Pieterse) remains are found a year after her mysterious disappearance in the fictional town of Rosewood. This event brings together her four former best friends who had drifted apart following that fateful night. Alison was the glue that held the girls together, the leader of the high school clique. As the episodes progress, viewers see Alison’s viciousness and many of the secrets that she holds over everyone’s heads—is she not a nice girl, or is she simply misunderstood?
After attending Alison’s funeral, the four friends reunite outside the chapel when each of their cell phones sound—they’ve received their first threatening text message from “A”—a the mystery begins: Who killed Alison? And, who is “A”?
PLL #1 – Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) returns home from a year abroad with her family, and forgetting she’s a teenager and back in America, goes to a local bar where she meets Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding). The two immediately hit it off and share a kiss after connecting over their love for literature. The next day at school, Aria walks into English class where she discovers Ezra is also her teacher.
Meanwhile, emotions erupt at home when her mother (Ella Montgomery, played by Holly Marie Combs) leaves her father after discovering the true reason behind the family’s extended absence from Rosewood—Aria’s father, a professor, had an affair with a teaching assistant at the local college. Aria and Alison knew this secret prior to the Montgomeries’ extended vacation, having spotted Mr. Montgomery (Chad Lowe) making out with his TA in his car. Whoopsie!
Isn’t it ironic that Aria now begins a torrid love affair and dates her teacher after torturing her father for a similar inappropriate relationship? “A” won’t let Aria forget it…
PLL #2 – Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) replaced Alison as the most popular girl in school following her friend’s disappearance. “Hefty Hanna”—as Alison liked to call her—dropped her baby fat, partnered with her new BFF Mona (Janel Parrish) and took to a life of brattiness and shoplifting.
Hanna lacks the self-confidence a young woman needs, having watched her father walk out on her and her mother. She spirals out of control, throwing herself at her boyfriend, only to be rejected. Not helping matters, Hanna watches as her single mother (Ashley Marin, played by Laura Leighton) bails her out of trouble by bedding the detective on Hanna’s shoplifting case.
Hanna really has the worst luck—she wrecks her boyfriend’s car, and she is involved in a hit and run when she gets dangerously close to discovering “A’s” real identity. When Mona throws her a surprise “glad you’re alive party,” someone steals all of the money (assumedly “A”) that Hanna’s mother stole from a client at the bank. And, while following “A’s” sordid trail back to the money, Hanna falls for the wrong boy—who happens to be feeding information to the girls’ nemesis, Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok)—and who of course later turns out to be the right boy for her anyway (Caleb, played by Tyler Blackburn).
PLL #3 – Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is the poor-little-rich-girl of the bunch. Spencer’s successful parents push her to be the absolute best, much like they did with her older sister Melissa (Torrey DeVitto). Spencer is brilliant, but plays second fiddle to her sister, always aware that her parents favor Melissa. To retaliate, Spencer kisses her sister’s boyfriend and then later kisses her new fiancé. Matters only get worse for Spencer when Melissa surprises the Hastings family by abruptly marrying her boyfriend right after calling off her previous engagement.
Spencer begins to investigate her new brother-in-law, and slowly uncovers an affair between him and Alison that happened just before Alison’s disappearance. As she continues to investigate, Spencer believes that her new brother-in-law not only stalked her best friend but also killed her, causing the rift between Spencer and her sister to intensify.
Now a suspect herself in Alison’s murder, Spencer befriends Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) who also happened to serve time in jail briefly as the main suspect in Alison’s death. Did I mention that Toby is also the half-brother of Jenna? Toby knows just how deceiving and manipulative his sister can be….is Jenna “A”?
PLL #4 – Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) is the daughter of a military father always away on assignment who is confused with her own sexuality. She starts the series with a boyfriend but then falls for the new girl in town, sending her mother (Nia Peeples) into a tailspin. Making even more of a splash, Emily takes Toby Cavanaugh to the homecoming dance as her date trying to hide the fact that she’s gay. The fact that Emily doesn’t totally believe in Toby’s innocence, like the rest of the town, leads to a dangerous encounter—only one of many.
After accepting that she is a homosexual, Emily is further devastated when her girlfriend is sent away to military school after marijuana is found inside her back pack. Emily’s world continues to turn upside down when her mother announces that they’re leaving Rosewood to live with her father who is stationed in Texas. Meanwhile, Emily holds the key to the photo evidence the girls have uncovered on her home computer (evidence they believe links back to Alison’s killer) which conveniently gets erased when the realtor shows the Fields’ house.
Each of the girls has oodles of conflict surrounding them individually, even without “A’s” threatening their every move (there’s so much more that I didn’t mention). Throw in the suspicions the police and their parents have regarding their involvement in Alison’s murder, and the lies they continuously try to hide despite “A’s” best efforts, and Pretty Little Liars doesn’t bore its viewers—it has twists and turns week in and week out.
Season two ended with the huge unveiling of “A” — but is it really her?
I have my suspicions that the incorrect identification of “A” is just another twist masterfully planned by the real “A”—confused yet?
In my last Why It’s Worth a Watch review of Pretty Little Liars, I give the girls and the mystery a MacTV rating. But after watching as many episodes as I have to date, I have to upgrade the review to a GTV rating. Despite the fact that I’m in my thirties, I tune in every single week to watch these little teenagers scurry around playing detective, trying their best to solve their BFF’s murder, and discover the true identity of the creepy texter known only as “A”. The on going, soap-opera style series is one of my favorites on TV today. Open up a glass of wine, plate your perfectly cooked filet with a side of grilled veggies, and enjoy the mystery!
What do you think? Do you watch Pretty Little Liars? How would you rate it? Who’s your favorite character? Have you read any of Sara Shephard’s books? I’d love to hear from you!
Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about the hugely successful Friday Night Lights. She’s not big on football; she’s not from Texas; and, yet, somehow she’s already on season three… See, that Texas High School Football is big—regardless of where you’re from!
Come back next week when Amber and I begin the 2012 Tamberny Awards…
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
And if you watch Pretty Little Liars, or if the idea of a West Texas high school mystery appeals to you, be sure to check out my book, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle!
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech