Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

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.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

TV is Better

I'll admit to a childlike glee whenever I see that a new episode of 'Pretty Little Liars' pops up on - I love this show so much. When I was first getting into it, I really tried to read the books... but it's just not the same. Sometimes? I often think the book is better than the movie. But when they turn it into a TV show? I think a lot of forethought goes into making the characters 3-dimensional in case the show is a hit and it continues for a long time. Sometimes that isn't the case with the book series. While the PLL books are just okay, they are not half as bad as the books "The Vampire Diaries" are based off of - the show doesn't even resemble the television series, and I'm really happy about that. Great post! And, you know, I'm glad Hannah is okay and stuff.

Books all the way!

I read the entire PLL series but I cannot keep my eyes open long enough to watch an entire episode of the show on ABC Family. I think the books have drama, suspense, and are GREAT reads whereas the show looks a little fake to me. The actresses overact and they don't look the way the books described them. I was honestly disappointed when I saw the first show and I've stopped watching because I don't want to tarnish my love of the series. Sorry but the show just doesn't do it for me :(

think you should know :)

Hey they are making 4 more books the 9th book comes out July 5th in total there will be 12 books



BOOKS wayyy better than tv show

the books are way better they have more detail and more suspense to them not just because of A but also because the other situations they get into the show doesn't tell you much in 30 minutes plus you have to wait a week to know 1 thing when you can find out the same day by reading the book. i get goose bumps reading them you can't get the full effect from the show. by the way the books are close to being COMPLETELY different than the show. but the truth is if you watch the show first then read the books you will like the show better then if you read the books then watch the show you will think the shoe COMPLETELY SUCKS like me well that's all i have to say really


I love the show and all and will keep watching it, but the books are so much better. The books are so much more creepy. There were times when I would be reading all alone in my dorm room and it got to one of A's notes and I literally got freaked out. The girls are nothing like the book decribes, except for Aria, and the boys are different too. The show throws in different little things from the books to remind you that it is based off the book series but other then those little things, it is completely different! It makes me sad but at the same time at least I have no idea what is going to happen next.


i dont like the way that they're not friends in the books and its so much creepier so i stopped reading but i follow the tv series xD pretty little liars rooock!

love it

I love the books allot and the show but was disapointed that emily in the show is gay not bi which made me mad

I loved the tv series so I

I loved the tv series so I thought I could maybe I could read the book series. I love them both!!! But I prefer the tv series more though. I think that Aria and Ezra's relationship was a lot better in the tv series and I like Toby and Spencer being together as a couple and that doesn't happen in the book series. Over all I think that they are both amazing! But they are different in many ways and I wish the books were more like the tv series but over all I think they are amazing!!!! Love them both!

Can you send me a link from

Can you send me a link from the episodes of the book 'Heartless' ? Thank you sooo much !

TV show!

I think the TV show is way better sometimes Sara Shepard's books can be confusing and sometimes the endings are werid

Post new comment