Stuff for the Teen Age
Pretty Little Liars: Better Than the Book?
Fans of the ABC Family television series Pretty Little Liars rejoice – new episodes began airing on January 3, 2011! The hit drama, based on Sara Shepard’s series of books by the same name, premiered this past summer to less than favorable critical reviews, but the fans ate it right up. The series won the 2010 Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer TV Show, with awards also going to Ian Harding (Ezra) and Lucy Hale (Aria) for Choice Summer TV Star: Male and Female, respectively.
There are 8 books in the Pretty Little Liars series—Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect, Unbelievable, Wicked, Killer, Heartless and Wanted. The four main characters in the series—Spencer, Hanna, Aria and Emily—are former BFFs who have drifted apart in the two years since the disappearance of Alison, who was the undeniable leader of their little group. They are brought back together when they all begin receiving ominous texts from a mysterious person who only goes by the letter “A.” There is so much more that happens, but to be completely honest I never got past the first book. I have, however, seen every episode of the television series, so let’s get to back to that!
It isn’t feasible to expect a television spin-off to unequivocally follow the book it’s based on but, so far, PLL has does a decent job in that department. So far we have seen the girls renew their friendship and come together to fight a common enemy, the mysterious “A” who keeps harassing them, all while dealing with the realization that the real “A” is dead, after her body is finally found. The last episode, which aired on August 10, 2010, ended with Hanna being hit by car, right after she discovered a clue that might help them uncover the true identity of this “A” person. The frequent flashbacks to when Alison was alive allow viewers a better understanding of each of the characters.
It’s widely recognized that teenagers enjoy the familiarity of series books and I understand because I used to eat up my favorite series, like Sweet Valley High and Fear Street. However, now that I am older, I find it difficult to keep up with all the young adult series that are being published. I usually read the first book in a series, really enjoy it, and find myself looking forward to the next installment. Except by the time the second book comes out I have already forgotten what the first book was about and I have already moved on to my next obsession. Spending an hour a week on a regular basis with my favorite characters is just more convenient. Call it my guilty pleasure!
Pretty Little Liars is not the first successful television series to be derived from popular young adult literature. Gossip Girl (which I am also a huge fan of) and The Vampire Diaries, which both air on The CW Network, are two others that come to mind. For viewers who have never read the books on which their favorite shows are based, or maybe aren’t even aware the books existed, these spin-offs, like Pretty Little Liars, are excellent opportunities to get people reading! And where are these books found?? At the library, of course! If you find yourself in need of a PLL fix before the second season begins, or you want to revisit the series, go to the library and catch up on the books.