Rachel @ Rachel’s Reading Corner wrote this fabulous recap!
Although Ian’s trial is about to start and Mona (the first A) is dead, a new A terrorises the girls. Spencer is harassed about possibly being adopted. Aria is harassed about her attraction to Xavier, her mother’s new boyfriend – who tries to pursue an affair with Aria despite Aria’s refusal. Hanna is harassed about her old bulimic tendencies and also her two-faced step-sister, Kate. Emily is blackmailed – tell anyone about A and A will tell Isaac, the guy Emily likes, that she’s a lesbian.
Hanna and Lucas break up after Hanna starts a rumour that Kate has herpes – he’s disgusted that she cares so much about popularity over people’s feelings. Spencer and Andrew Campbell kiss. Emily likes a boy named Isaac – so she becomes confused about her sexual preferences.
Ian’s mother comes down with cancer and he gets granted temporary bail (house arrest) to visit her. He breaks out and visits Spencer – telling her he didn’t kill Ali. He then doesn’t show up to his trial and the girls find him dead in the woods at the end of the book with a message from A saying that “he had to go”.
what went down
- Prologue: Flashback to the sixth grade when the Time Capsule challenge has just been announced. Ali gets into a strange verbal challenge with Ian when she announces her brother – one of the special selected – will tell her one of the pieces are.
- A few weeks after the pieces are found Ali becomes friends with Spencer, Aria, Emily and Hanna – dropping her two current besties, Namoi & Riley, for no known reason.
- Beginning: The girls (Spencer, Hanna, Aria and Emily) have a session with grief counsellor, Marion Graves, who asks them to bury stuff that reminds them of Ali in Spencer’s barn.
- Mike heads out to a date with his new friend Savannah and Ella has a date with a man named Wolfgang who she met online. Aria goes to art studio exhibition where she meets and flirts with an artist named Xavier Reeves.
- Spencer is called into the principal’s office where she’s told her grandmother passed away.
- Emily’s mother takes her to church where a new band (Carpe Diem) is playing. The cute lead singer named Isaac asked Emily out on a date – and she accepts!
- Spencer and Melissa go to the courts to hear a reading of their grandmother’s will. Melissa admits that Ian called her from jail the night before and doesn’t want her to testify. Ian’s mother has cancer and he wants to be out to help her. He also swears he didn’t kill Ali. At the reading two million dollars are left for each “natural-born grandchild” – including Spencer’s two cousins and Melissa – but Spencer’s name isn’t mentioned. What!?
- Aria helps her mum prepare for her date with Wolfgang… who turns out to be Xavier! Uh oh!
- The girls meet up and reminisce about the day mentioned in the prologue. Melissa bursts into the room and turns the news on: Ian has been granted temporary bail to spend time with his mother who’s dying. He is under house arrest until the trial. At that moment the girls get a text message: “Honestly, bitches… did you really think I’d let you off that easily? You haven’t gotten nearly what you deserve. And I cannot wait to give it to you. Mwah! –A”. The girls call Wilden and he comes over. He seems to believe it simply a copycat, not Ian like the girls believe.
- Spencer’s mum purposeful excludes Spencer from helping organising a fundraiser at their house – Spencer’s favourite activity. How mean! Melissa tells Spencer maybe she was left after out of the will because she isn’t a ‘natural-born grandchild’, maybe she’s adopted… dun, dun, dun!
- Kate has a bonding moment with Hanna as she apologies for the Le Bec-Fin incident. Turns out she was in a “bad way” because of incident with her boyfriend, Connor. She doesn’t admit what happened – pregnancy? STD?
- Ella takes Mike and Aria out to dinner to meet Xavier. While Ella’s in the bathroom and Mike is gone, Aria and Xavier have a drawing competition and Xavier draws a detailed and gorgeous picture of Aria. Aria then gets a text from A: two pictures of Aria and Xavier looking a little too intimate at the art gallery opening and from two seconds ago, there at the restaurant. The text is a poem saying: “Artists like menages a trois / Mommy just might too. / But if you femme la bouche about me / I’ll do the same for you / -A”. Aria runs out of the restaurant.
- Emily’s on her snow-sledding date with Isaac. She sees Wilden in the school parking lot. Aria rings her to say that she had gotten an A message and that she called Wilden to let him know, but he was in an important meeting at the police station so would have to call her back. Emily lets her know she’s just seen him, but has to cut the call short. Isaac kisses her – and Emily likes it! She gets a text: “Hi, Em! Doesn’t the Bible say good Christian boys shouldn’t kiss girls like you? So WWAD – What Would A Do? I won’t confess your sins if you don’t confess mine. XX A”.
- Hanna hangs out with Kate, Naomi and Riley. Kate forces a truce between the girls. Hanna gets a message “Dear Little Piggy, / those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Remember your unfortunate ‘accident’? Tell anyone about little ol’ moi, and this time I’ll make sure you don’t wake up. But just so you know that I’m willing to play nice, here’s a helpful hint: someone in your life isn’t what they seem. / Love ya! – A”.
- Spencer is in a tutoring session at the library and confesses her stresses to Andrew. He tells her about an online site where you can find your birth mother. Spencer signs up for an account. She gets a text: “I thought we were friends, Spence. I send you a sweet little note, and you call the cops… What do I have to do to keep you girls quiet? Actually, don’t tempt me! – A”. Panicked she turns around to see ‘I’m watching’ written on the condensation of a library window. Spooky!
- Aria finds Xavier in her mum’s PJs when she wakes up the next morning. He drives her to school – awkward!
- Kate and Hanna go to see Riley and Naomi at Steam. Spencer tries to talk to Hanna, telling her she got a message too but Hanna has no time for her and is adamant that it is a copycat. She also brushes off a date with Lucas to go shopping with her new-found clique.
- Wilden didn’t help Spencer about the text. Spencer goes outside later that night and Ian is there on her patio – ahh! He tells her that he is going to find evidence by tomorrow (when his trial starts) which will exonerate him. He says he didn’t kill Ali but he WAS meant to meet her that night. He also says he saw TWO blonde girls in the woods that night: one Ali, one…? He also hints that his and Ali’s relationship wasn’t what she made it out to be – he was more into her then she was into him, and he hints that the only reason that she seemed to pursue him was to make Spencer jealous (she liked Ian too in 7th grade). As he leaves, Spencer gets a text saying “Question: If poor little Miss Not-So-Perfect suddenly vanished, would anyone even care? You told on me twice. Three strikes and we’ll find out if your ‘parents’ will cry over the loss of your pathetic life. Tread softly, Spence. – A”.
- Emily goes out on a dinner date with Isaac but is interrupted by Maya – talk about awkward! She runs outside before Maya can rat her out (about being a lesbian). She gets a text “Hi Em – Don’t you just hate it when you ex shows up and ruins your romantic night? I wonder how she knew where to find you… Let this be a warning. Talk, and your past will be the least of your problems – A”. Isaac comes out to find Emily, and she asks him to go to Spencer’s mother’s fundraiser with her.
- Mike and Aria are watching the news. Mike gets a phone call, leaves the room and Xavier walks in. Xavier kisses Aria and she freaks and runs out the room. Immediately she gets a text from A saying “gotcha!”.
- Hanna and Lucas get into a fight. Hanna says Lucas isn’t allowed to come to Ian’s trial. She gets another text message: “Hanna – a glutton for Cheez-Its… and punishments, too, it seems. Ruin her before she ruins you. – A”. Angrily she texts the number back, saying go to hell and gets an immediate response saying “I know that someone sometimes makes herself puke in the girl’s bathroom. And I know someone’s sad because she isn’t daddy’s only little girl anymore. And I know someone dearly misses her old BFF, even though she wanted her dead. How do I know so much? Because I grew up in Rosewood, Hannakins. Just like you. – A”.
- Ian’s trial start and the girls and their families attend – they’re all testifying…. except Ian doesn’t’ show up. He’s gone missing!
- Hanna has a brainwave. Mona (as A) couldn’t have known about the dinner with her dad, Kate and Isabel at Le Bec-Fin. Hanna herself didn’t even know about it ‘til she got there – was Kate involved with it? She then overhears Kate planning something suspicious.
- Emily outs herself to Isaac at the fundraiser and he says he doesn’t care as long as she likes him – naww!
- Spencer’s parents are horrible to her at the party and Andrew comforts her when she breaks down crying. She gets an email saying that there is a match for her adoptive mother. Andrew kisses her. Spencer has a revelation and runs outside.
- At the party Hanna believes Kate is going to try and ruin her. She blurts out that Kate has herpes to some of the boys eyeing Kate off. Everyone instantly turns away from her, ad Lucas is so disgusted that Hanna cares so much about her popularity and not about her own step-sister-to-be that he breaks up with her right there and then. He deserved better anyway!
- Xavier turns up at the party and corners Aria in a bedroom, saying that he didn’t get why she was upset about the kiss. He thought that’s what she wanted – she was sending him “signals” supposedly – but when Aria says and that she isn’t interested him anymore, not now that he’s dating her MUM, he threatens to out her to Ella and Mike.
- Spencer sneaks outside and digs up the stuff that Marion made the girls bury. She gets an email from Ian asking to meet in the woods, where Ali died.
- Hanna’s father shows up at the party and punishes her for spreading rumours about Kate: she isn’t allowed to go anywhere or do anything with any other than Kate, even lunch at school – extreme much?
how did it end?
Wilden cannot find Spencer at the party. He tells the girls that Ian couldn’t have been the “new” A as all technology was taken from his house during his temporary bail. The girls get a little freaked out . They simultaneously get a text: “You all told, and now one of you has to pay the price. Wanna know where your old BFF is? Look at the back window. It might just be the last time you see her… – A”. They go to find Wilden but Emily gets a text: “Go now. Alone Or I’ll make good on my promise. – A”.
The girls venture into the woods and Hanna falls behind. She sees a hooded figure in the distance. It tells her to be quiet and vanishes.
Aria has a memory: when she tried to steal the flag from Ali back in sixth grade, Ali told her someone had already stolen it. She went through the woods on her way home – a short cut – and saw Jason sneaking around with Ali’s flag. He gave it to her and ran off. She’s kept it hidden in her closet this whole time, too scared to hand it in.
The girls find Spencer, and together they discover Ian… dead. They get a text: “He had to go. – A”.
Steam = a local coffee club that everyone hangs out at
Rosewood Day = the posh private school that Spencer, Aria, Emily and Hanna (and most other characters) attend
Time Capsule challenge = a Rosewood Day annual tradition that sixth graders and higher can participate in. What happens: The Rosewood Day flag is cut into pieces which are scattered around the school by specially selected high schoolers. A scavenger hunt ensues to find the pieces. The founders get to decorate their piece however they please and at the end of the challenge the founders are announced at a huge assembly. The individual pieces are then sewed back together and buried in the school’s time capsule. It is considered a big honour to find a piece.
The MCs: Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, Spencer Hastings and Emily Fields
– Andrew Campbell = Rosewood Day student (Spencer’s academic rival); romantically interested in Spencer – kisses her at the end of book 5
– Ben = Emily’s ex-boyfriend; Rosewood Day student
– Beth Fields = Emily’s older sister
– Byron Montgomery = Aria’s father; engaged to Meredith (divorced from Aria’s mother)
– Carolyn Fields = Emily’s twin sister
– Ella Montgomery = Aria’s mother; divorced from Aria’s father
– Erik Kahn = Rosewood Day student; notorious party boy
– Ezra Fitz = Aria’s (kind of) ex-boyfriend – he had to move away after Sean outed Aria and Ezra’s relationship (forbidden seeing as he was her teacher); nicknamed Shakespeare by Mike
– Isabel = Hanna’s father’s fiancé (her step-mother-to-be)
– Jake Fields = Emily’s older brother
– Jason Dilaurentis = Ali’s older brother
– Jenna Cavanaugh = Rosewood Day student; Toby’s sister; object of the Jenna Thing
– Kate Randall = Isabel’s daughter; Hanna’s step-sister-to-be; Rosewood Day student (as of book five)
– Marion Graves = the girls’ grief counsellor
– Mason Byers = Rosewood Day student
– Maya St. Germain = Emily’s ex-girlfriend (broke up in book 4)
– Meredith = Aria’s step-mother-to-be; Byron’s fiancé (pregnant with Byron’s child)
– Mike (real name Michelangelo) Montgomery = Aria’s older brother; Rosewood Day student
– Naomi Zeigler = one of Ali’s pre-sixth grade best friend; best friend of Riley; frenemy of Hanna; buddy friends with Kate; Rosewood Day student
– Noel Kahn = a student from Rosewood Day; friends with Mike
– Peter Hastings = Spencer’s father
– Riley Wolfe = one of Ali’s pre-sixth grade best friend; best friend of Naomi; frenemy of Hanna; buddy friends with Kate; Rosewood Day student
– Savannah = Mike Montgomery’s not-quite girlfriend; student but not from Rosewood Day
– Sean Ackard = a student at Rosewood Day; Hanna’s AND Aria’s ex-boyfriend
– Seth Cardiff = Rosewood Day student; Ben’s best friend
– Tom Marin = Hanna’s father
– Victoria Hastings = Spencer’s mother