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Stunning

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Quote of the Book
Stunning
Arc 3, Book 11
Pretty-little-liars-book-11-stunning-21
Author Sara Shepard
Publisher HarperTeen
Publication Date June 1, 2012
Number of Pages 320
Series Guide
previous
Ruthless
next
Burned

Stunning is the eleventh book of the Pretty Little Liars sucessful book series by Sara Shepard, and published by HarperTeen. It was released on June 1st, 2012.

Stunning is mostly about Emily’s secret that she had a baby, and her giving the baby up for adoption. This was only hinted in Twisted and Ruthless, but the books don’t go very deep into it.

Emily is featured on the book cover. Under the dust jacket on the front of the hardcopy book it says "I've got my eye on you. -A".

Book Summary

Back Cover Summary

In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four stunningly beautiful girls are haunted by a very ugly past. Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily want nothing more than to forget Alison DiLaurentis, their former best friend who tried to ruin their lives. But someone refuses to let her memory die. A is still out there, lurking in the shadows and digging up the pretty little liars' newest secrets.

Emily's reconnecting with an old flame, one baby step at a time. But is she headed toward true love or another bundle of heartache? Spencer's learning about the highs and lows of campus life on a trip to Princeton. Aria's seeing a whole new side to Noel's dad—and it could drive a wedge between her and Noel. And, for better or worse, Hanna's getting in touch with her inner A.

Secret by secret, lie by lie, the girls get tangled in A's dangerous web. A knows about everything, from their tiniest transgressions to the awful incident in Jamaica. Soon A will have enough ammunition to pull the trigger and end the pretty little liars, once and for all. . . .

In Detail Summary

The prologue focuses on the day after Emily gives birth to a baby girl. By this point she has told the girls about her pregnancy and they're all parked in front of a modest but welcoming looking house. The girls question Emily after she decides to leave her baby on the step. At this moment, Emily opens up several angry voicemail messages left by a wealthy woman named Gayle, who was apparently supposed to adopt the baby. She had offered fifty thousand dollars for the child in an illegal transaction, and fearing that Gayle would be an unfit mother, Emily had decided to give the child to the original candidates for adoption and gave Hanna the money to covertly return. Then Emily had snuck out of the hospital with her friends' help shortly after giving birth so that Gayle wouldn't find her. Now, sitting in the car with the girls, she ignores the calls and places the child on the doorstep with Aria's help. They then leave the neighborhood as quickly as possible.

Hanna continues to help her father Tom with his campaign. Surprisingly, she and Kate are getting along rather well. Kate is avoiding her friends Naomi and Riley, confessing that she got into a fight with them about Hanna. Hanna notices that her ex-boyfriend Mike has moved on: he is now dating a bubbly sophomore named Colleen Bebris. Hanna remembered when Colleen was a geeky freshman trying to be friends with her and Mona. Though she's less awkward now, Hanna still doesn't like the girl. Colleen, on the other hand, is unaware of this and acts kindly towards Hanna.

Desperate to get Mike back, Hanna does everything from flirting with him in front of Colleen to blatantly insulting her. When "A" hints that Colleen may be hiding something, Hanna starts to follow Colleen in hopes of uncovering a juicy secret about her. One day she follows her to a large Victorian house where she gets her pictures taken by an elderly male photographer. Unlike Hanna's situation with the sleazy "photographer", this one appears to be completely professional. The next day, she stops by the photographer's studio and tells him that Colleen asked her to pick up the photos from her shoot. He's suspicious for a moment, but he gives her the photos anyway. In the car, she goes through Colleen's photos but none of them are scandalous in any way, and she admits that Colleen is even more photogenic than her. She then searches Colleen's name on the web and finds a video of her in a Latvian commercial for laxatives. Knowing she's finally found Colleen's embarrassing secret, Hanna decides to spread it around school later.

Besides stalking Colleen, Hanna has a few uncomfortable run-ins with Gayle. The woman, who recently moved from New Jersey to Rosewood, is a big supporter of Tom's campaign and she attends several of his political events. Mike is impressed by Hanna's efforts to win him back so he breaks up with Coleen.

Aria and Noel are happily together again even though Klaudia is still around. Noel makes her promise that there won't be any secrets between them and she agrees, much to her dismay. Later Aria has a painful yet necessary discussion with Meredith about the cheating scandal with Byron. On Meredith's request, she heads to a supermarket over in Bryn Mawr to find a special ingredient she needs for a dish to celebrate her and Byron's first kiss anniversary. While she's at the market, she notices Mr. Kahn and wonders why he's dressed like a woman.

Soon "A" threatens Aria to break up with Noel or else pictures of Mr. Kahn dressed as a woman will go public. She complies and tearfully breaks up with Noel just before their date. When she leaves Noel, she notices Gayle entering Babies 'R Us, which strengthens her suspicions about the woman posing as A. The next day, Aria heads to Noel's house to get her stuff back. At this moment, both of them come face to face with Mr. Kahn in crossdressed fashion. Mr. Kahn runs back inside Aria finds out that he's been dressing like that for years and that Noel has known all along. Thinking that Aria broke up with him because of Mr. Kahn's crossdressing habit, Noel gets upset and tells her to leave. Later, the two reconcile and apologize to each other for the confusion.

Spencer spends most of her time in the town of Princeton. She meets several other early-admission students and student ambassadors from Princeton University. Spencer becomes acquainted with a student named Harper Essex-Pembroke. Harper is the chair of Ivy, a prestigious Eating Club. Eating Clubs are highly coveted secret societies with great networks. Spencer desperately wants to be a member of Ivy and tries to leave a good impression in order to do so. Fortunately, Harper invites her to stay at the Ivy House and takes her to a campus party. During the party, Spencer catches her smoking pot on the balcony and is a bit uncomfortable being near her. She goes back inside, but the cops arrive several minutes later and take Harper into custody for marijuana possession. Harper automatically blames Spencer, who fears that "A" has been following her.

Luckily for Spencer, Harper gives her a second chance and invites her to a potluck meal at the Ivy House. However, she tells the high schooler that she must bring a dish to the meal. For some odd reason, Spencer interprets this as making a dish with pot in it. She decides to make pot brownies and gets a stash of pot from another early-admit, Raif "Reefer" Fredricks. She then convinces the motel manager to let her use their kitchen. She falls asleep while the brownies are baking, giving "A" the chance to lace them with Ritalin and LSD. Everyone enjoys the brownies at the potluck and soon the fancy meal turns into a wild college party. Even Spencer has consumed some of the brownies and is completely out of her element. She wakes up in the hospital and is shocked to hear that she had Ritalin and LSD in her system. When she calls Reefer to confront him, he tells her that the stash was pure, much to her distress. After she hangs up, she receives a text message from "A," teasing her about the ordeal.

Spencer soon returns to Rosewood and Harper pays her a visit, angrily informing her that she's been put on academic probation thanks to her stunt with the brownies. She tells Spencer that she doesn't want her near Princeton, but Spencer blackmails her with a video of her destroying the Ivy House. Harper is resigned, but she notifies Spencer that she's not welcome in Ivy. Spencer's inwardly disappointed, but says that she didn't like anyone in Ivy anyway.

The whole mystery surrounding Emily's pregnancy is finally revealed. During that summer, she meets a guy named Derrick, who quickly becomes a good friend. He is her confidante; only he knows her true identity since she's given other strangers the name "Heather". One day, Derrick invites her to talk to him at a ritzy mansion in New Jersey where he works as a gardener on the weekends. While they're talking, one of the homeowners, Gayle Riggs, comes out. She notices a very pregnant Emily and becomes tearful. After asking a few questions, Gayle runs back into her mansion.

Bewildered by her emotional behavior, Emily is later put into contact with her. Gayle has apparently been trying for a baby for years without any luck. She offers to take in Emily's baby and tells her that she and her husband can give her amazing opportunities. Gayle also says that they can't go to an adoption center because an accident happened with their daughter and it might reflect poorly on them. Aria, who's with Emily at the time, is very skeptical and wary of the offer, but Emily herself is interested. Because she grew up in a family that has had constant worries about money, Emily thinks that this would be the best option for her child. Though she already picked a family--a couple who are both teachers--she agrees to Gayle's offer. Emily gets fifty thousand dollars and decides to put it towards college.

However, she becomes less confident in her decision after she gets constant calls from Gayle requesting updates on her pregnancy. One day, when she goes to the mansion to visit Derrick, she overhears Gayle telling someone on the phone that she is pregnant. Horrified at the delusions of the woman, Emily decides that it's not safe to give her baby to Gayle. She leaves the baby on the Bakers' (the original family) doorstep.

In the present time, Emily runs into Isaac a few times. He wants to start things over but Emily isn't sure. At the very least, she agrees to hang out with him. She wonders if she should tell him about the baby, but she decides to keep it a secret. At Tom Marin's town hall talk, she comes face to face with Gayle, who is unpleasantly surprised to see her. Emily informs the other girls of the woman's identity and Aria immediately brings up the suggestion that she might be "A". Emily isn't so sure though.

She is told to go to a specific address to save the child. Aria and Hanna accompany her. The neighborhood is extremely lush and lavish, with tenants pouring money into their ridiculously extravagant homes.The address turns out to be a mansion, which is dark and unlocked. They realize that Gayle lives at this mansion--there's a picture of her, her husband Kenneth Clark, and Tabitha Clark in the entryway. Surprised and frightened by this new information, the girls then hear a baby's cries, which is assumed afterward as a recording. They move outside onto the patio. In the foggy night weather, they notice a figure moving on the driveway. A  gunshot rings out and the figure falls to the ground. Carefully making their way to the person, the girls discover that it's Gayle Riggs, who's been shot in the temple. Spencer arrives a few minutes later, as do several police cars and ambulance. To Emily's surprise, Isaac followed her to the mansion. She finally tells him the truth about their child and he storms off in disbelief and anger.

The girls are questioned at the police station and insist they didn't kill Gayle. Spencer informs the cop that she saw a hooded figure run past her car when she arrived. Kenneth Clark arrives and is devastated to hear of his wife's loss. The girls learn that Gayle was Tabitha's stepmother and the two didn't get along at all. It was Gayle's idea to send Tabitha away for her behavioral problems. Kenneth had no idea Gayle was trying to adopt Emily's child. He did note that Gayle recently found out she was pregnant and they were both overjoyed.

Emily has also been searching for the Bakers since they moved out of their home. With Hanna's help, she finally gets an address and is overcome with emotion when she sees that her daughter--Violet--is doing just fine with the couple. Violet has the same reddish-blond hue of hair as Emily. Mrs. Baker spots Emily and tells her that they moved so no one would ask questions about the sudden adoption. She thanks Emily for changing her mind and choosing them to raise Violet. Reassured that her baby will grow up happy and healthy under the Bakers' care, Emily leaves. She also gets a text message from Isaac stating that he wants to talk. She has no idea if it's going to be a good or bad discussion.

At the funeral for Gayle, Mr. Clark drops a major bombshell: he had an autopsy conducted on Tabitha and the results showed that there were no traces of alcohol in her system. He says that she has been murdered and that he will find whoever killed her. The girls are beyond frightened at this point. A message from "A" gleefully informs them that they're going to be taken down soon.

Chapters

Prologue: A Bundle Of Secrets (All the girls)

  1. Reunited, And It Feels So Good (Aria)
  2. Spencer’s New Challenge (Spencer)
  3. The Boy Who Got Away (Hanna)
  4. A Drive Down Memory Lane (Emily)
  5. The Things You Discover In The Produce Section… (Aria)
  6. Spencer’s In (Spencer)
  7. Hanna Gets Steamed (Hanna)
  8. Hello, My Name Is Heather (Emily)
  9. Hell Hath No Fury Like A Rich Lady Scorned (Spencer)
  10. Food For Thought (Aria)
  11. Work It (Hanna)
  12. Words Of Wisdom (Emily)
  13. Ring, Ring, It’s Real Ali (Aria)
  14. Catching Up (Emily)
  15. Ivy Or Bust (Spencer)
  16. Running For Her Life (Hanna)
  17. Smile! You’re On Camera! (Aria)
  18. The Home Of Her Dreams (Emily)
  19. Secret Agent Hanna (Hanna)
  20. A Pot Of Gold (Spencer)
  21. A Friendly Reunion (Emily)
  22. The Toughest Decision Ever (Aria)
  23. Ladies Who Luncheon (Spencer)
  24. Hanna Brings Her Game (Hanna)
  25. Secrets, Open And Closed (Aria)
  26. Od-No She Didn’t (Spencer)
  27. Stalker Flies (Hanna)
  28. Time Is Running Out (Emily)
  29. Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Alone (Aria)
  30. The Girl In The Photo (Hanna)
  31. The Truth Comes Out (Emily)
  32. Confession Time (Spencer)
  33. Aria’s Confidante (Aria)
  34. A Surprise Stalking Side Effect (Hanna)
  35. Any Club That Doesn’t Want Spencer As A Member… (Spencer)
  36. Safe And Sound (Emily)
  37. A Stranger In The Crowd (Aria)

Epilogue: What Happens Next… (-A)

Gallery

Hook-ups

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Stunning Back-cover

Mike and Colleen

Mike and Hanna

Aria and Noel

Emily and Isaac 
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Break-ups

Mike and Colleen

Aria and Noel

Emily and Isaac

Messages from "A"

Main article: A's Messages in the Books

To Aria

  • Secrets are such a drag. Break up with your loving boyfriend, or this pic goes public .–A
  • Kudos, Aria. No pain, no gain, right? Mwah! –A

To Emily

  • Hey, baby mama. Guess the jig is up! —A
  • I’ve got your baby. If you want her to be safe, come to 56 Mockingbird Drive. Ticktock! —A

To Spencer

  • Hi Spence! Think your college friends would let you into their Eating Club if they knew about your appetite for murder? Kisses! –A
  • Just be happy I didn’t call the cops about YOUR secrets. —A
  • Talk about a bad trip, huh? That’s what you get for leaving your potluck goodies unattended. —A

To Hanna

  • Think Coleen is as innocent as she seems? Think again. Everyone has secrets . . . even her. —A
  • Better do as you’re told! You wouldn’t want Daddy’s campaign to go up in smoke. —A
  • You're close, Hanna. Keep digging.–A
  • C'mon, Hanna. Send that video. You know you want to.-A

To All Four Girls

  • Guess Emily's not the only one looking for that little bundle of joy. Who's going to get there first? -A
  • That's right, bitches—Daddy's on to you. How long do you think it'll take the police to realize you were at both crime scenes? –A

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