Warning, spoilers ahead about the Pretty Little Liars series finale!
Pretty Little Liars officially ended last night, and we are not OK. The finale was as crazy as ever (maybe even crazier), with reveals and revelations, evil twins (!!), pregnancies and so much more. Honestly, this show has always been kind of nuts, and that’s exactly why we’re going to miss it so much.
Based on the bestselling book series by Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars ran on Freeform (formally ABC Family) for seven seasons, garnering a cult following that has been devoted to the twisty teen show since the first episode. It’s not hard to see why. With all the secrets, lies, and murder, PLL never tried to be anything it wasn’t and almost always embraced it’s own camp. At its core, it’s a juicy, suspenseful, and heartfelt teen drama filled with lots of amazing clothes, over-the-top villains, heroines who don’t always make the smartest choices, and a strong group of friends that you can’t help but root for.
The good news is that all of our heroines end the series on a high note, with marriages and babies and hopefully no more dungeon-kidnappings in sight. Aria and Ezra finally get married (we’ll just ignore all that underage stuff that launched their relationship in the first place), Spencer manages to vanquish her surprise evil twin who was the bad guy all along, though Hanna and Caleb have been having difficulty getting pregnant, she reveals that she is indeed expecting, and Emily and Alison get engaged. All is well in the world of Rosewood…until the final scene where we see a new crop of high school girls at a slumber party, and one of them suddenly goes missing. Of course.
But that last moment did get us thinking: why does Pretty Little Liars ever have to end? With all these twists and turns, it seems like a narrative that could go on forever. We want to see new A’s wrecking havoc and new groups of friends trying to protect their dark secrets. Which is why we think it’s the perfect time for a spinoff. And not just for the show! We fell in love with the book series as soon as it hit shelves all the way back in 2006, and faithfully followed it until the end – which came in 2014 with the 16th and final book, Vicious. As of right now, Shepard has no plans to continue the story, having wrapped up all four “arcs” (which the books are loosely categorized into) and given her heroines the ending they deserve. She’s also moving on, with several new series and novels. Her latest book, The Amateurs, came out last year. But we’re not quite as ready to move on. And while the show and the books diverged in huge ways, both have this insatiable quality that will always leave you craving more. Whether it’s on air or in print, we just want more Pretty Little Liars in our lives.
While we impatiently wait for our PLL dreams to be fulfilled, we’re going to be doing a lot of rewatching and even more rereading. We love every book in Shepard’s series, but three in particular stand out.
Here are our favorite Pretty Little Liars books and why you should be reading this iconic series ASAP!
Pretty Little Liars (HarperTeen, October 3, 2006)
The book that started it all! Even after 11 years, this is still our favorite in the entire series. These are the pages where we first meet Spencer, Hanna, Aria and Emily, four former friends who drift apart after their friend – and Queen Bee – Alison goes missing under mysterious circumstances. But each girl also had a dark secret that Alison knew, which makes her disappearance even more questionable. Three years later, the girls are all dealing with new secrets that have the power to ruin their lives. They think they’re safe, until they start to receive threatening messages, all signed A. Is Alison back for good? The girls come back together as they try and uncover just who is out to expose all of their secrets and why.
Twisted (HarperTeen, July 5, 2011)
Shepard had originally only planned on writing eight books in the series, but thanks to its crazy popularity she decided to continue the story. Twisted, book 9, had the potential to go horribly wrong – it was the novel that needed to reopen the mysteries and secrets in a believable and engaging way. Thankfully, it succeeded, giving us a tightly plotted story that sets up new conflicts, once again throwing the girls into the middle of a dark secret: something terrible happens on a trip to Jamaica that has lasting consequences that could threaten all of their futures. But their secrets never stay buried for long, and as each friend deals with their own dramas, A might still be out there, lying in wait.
Vicious (HarperTeen, December 2, 2014)
The final book in the series wraps up all the crazy storylines, bringing closure to the group of friends and to readers everywhere. It’s also one of our favorites, and not just because we finally get some key answers. Things are pretty desperate for our heroines at this point. They’ve been framed for killing A – who is definitely not dead – and now they’re on trial, with their futures and freedom at stake. Each girl responds in their own way, with some running, some trying to solve the problem, and some ready to make the most of the time they have left. But there are still plenty of twists left in the story, and the ending will leave you truly shocked. An awesome finale to a great series.