As always, spoilers!
We left off Crushed with the Liars being positive that there is a second A, and that said A is Noel. Then, they found poor Noel all beaten and tied up in a shed during Homecoming. They weren't sure if he was alive. I, however, know that if they were going to kill him off, they would have done it then. These books don't cliffhang deaths. Noel makes it through, but he and Aria are over. Though he wasn't part of the A game, Noel had been in contact with Alison while she was at the asylum. He kept a lot of Ali-related secrets from her. To get away from A, Noel, and Rosewood, Aria decides to seek an internship in Amsterdam. During the interview, the police burst in and arrest her for her art heist. Needless to say, she doesn't get the internship.
One by one, all of the Liars are arrested. Spencer is arrested for planting drugs on a fellow college prep student (Remember old Kelsey, who came back and romanced Emily for a bit before being carted away because she had a pill addiction?). Emily is arrested for helping Jordan, the "Preppy Thief" who stowed away on the eco cruise and is currently on the run. Hanna is arrested for crashing a drunk girl's car and then fleeing the scene to make it look like the other girl was driving (That would be the cousin of Naomi, her frenemy from school). It seems as though the girls are in trouble, but then they find a way to solve all their problems: they tell the FBI agent about A. They send Agent Fuji every text and note that they received. Every Liar feels relieved, certain that they are safe once and for all.
Unfortunately, that isn't the case. A just fights back harder. He/she/it/they send an altered video to the FBI showing what looks like the Liars kicking and beating Tabitha's body after she falls. Plus, the FBI only pretended to believe them, while building a case against the Liars. The girls are arrested again for Tabitha's murder, and they are supposed to be extradited to Jamaica to be sentenced.
Emily's super poor family has to sell all their worldly possessions in order to pay her bail (Can't you just offer a lien against your house/car or whatever, rather than selling them? Because you get the money or whatever back after they appear in court?). To make matters worse, she accidentally gives her mom a heart attack AND destroys her Hummels in the process. Then her family is super mean to her, and Jordan gets arrested because of Emily's tweets to her secret account. It becomes so much that Emily *SPOILER*decides to throw herself off a bridge, which is funny because she is going to drown herself and she's the best swimmer in the world, but not funny because Emily is the best, nicest character and suicide sucks*END SPOILER*
Meanwhile, Hannah's dad refuses to talk to her because he still plans to run for Congressman. He doesn't show up for her trials or anything, and is generally the worst, though still not as bad as Emily's entire family. Spencer's conspiracy theorist boyfriend gets mad at her because he didn't know that he was a target to A. Dude already had a stalker who threw acid on him, so he is understandably upset that he might end up assaulted/murdered some more. Her stepdad gets mad at her because A trashes his model home, and it's a situation for about two seconds, but eventually it gets resolved. Though Spencer sees some security footage that may have been Alison herself. And, Aria... misses Noel a lot. She finally gets up the nerve to talk to him, and gets an actual lead on Alison. The Liars arrange a meeting through Noel, though they still don't know what to think. Is Alison really alive?
*SPOILER* YES! They find her secret lair and are soon apprehended by Ali's sidekick, who was someone they all knew, though by different names. He was Emily's gay friend Derek from the seafood restaurant that summer she was pregnant (I may have imagined that he was gay). He was that Olaf guy who stole the Van Gogh with Aria. He was the bartender who served drunk cousin all those drinks when Hanna crashed her car. And, he was a bad drug pusher who got Spencer and Kelsey addicted to study pills. Being murdered multiple times has been tough on Alison, who has scars and burns from that time she was exploded, plus she is missing teeth and her hair is a mess. The dastardly duo are planning to gas the Liars to death, thus enacting their revenge for their part in taking her life away. Which is really not the Liars fault at all, but whatever. Ali's a
I think there are still two more titles after this one. Things have been progressing fairly quickly in the last couple of books. The Liars aren't as easy-to-hate as they used to be, and manage to be almost likeable now. I'm interested to see how everything ends. Hopefully, it actually does end this time. I've come this far with the series, so I can manage to stick around for a couple more books.