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    Growing up in the 21st Century: pretty little liars and their pretty little devices

    Halden, Grace (2016) Growing up in the 21st Century: pretty little liars and their pretty little devices. In: D'Amico, L. (ed.) Girl Talk: The Influence of Girls’ Series Fiction on American Popular Culture. Children and Youth in Popular Culture. New York, U.S.: Lexington, pp. 269-292. ISBN 9781498517645.

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    Secrets, lies, surveillance, and the power of information, dominate Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series and the popular television show adaptation by I. Marlene King for ABC Family. Although there are many directions from which to analyse the enormous appeal and influence of Shepard’s series on young female minds, in this chapter I will not only focus on the female leads, but on the abstract character of Shepard’s texts – technology. Through mobile phones, laptops, desktops, messengers, email, and CCTV, Shepard’s eighteen novels, written and set in the 21st century, comment explicitly on the perils of technology and social networking, suggesting that all children are locked into an inescapable web of cyber reality in which bullying, victimization, and abuse becomes standardized and naturalized as part of the ‘teen experience’. Anxieties surrounding growing up, in this series, are as much to do with taking control of the mechanizing forces in their lives as it is to do with ‘standard’ and (perhaps) traditional teen pressures of friendship, love, grades and body image. In Shepard’s novels, it is the anonymity of virtual communication and remote action that endangers the girls.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Technology, young adult literature, literature, 21st Century Fiction, bullying, cyberbullying, internet, childhood, adolescence, social media,
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Literature, Centre for
    Depositing User: Grace Halden
    Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2016 15:10
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:37


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