Pretty Little Liars

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For the television series, see Pretty Little Liars (TV series).
Pretty Little Liars
The original cover of the first book in the series, Pretty Little Liars.png
Author Sara Shepard
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young Adult
Publisher PENDANT
Published October 2006 – December 2014
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
No. of books 17

Pretty Little Liars is a series of young-adult novels by author Sara Shepard, beginning with 2006's initial novel of the same name. The series follows the lives of four girls – Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields – whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their leader, Alison DiLaurentis, in the summer after 7th grade. Later, when the girls are juniors in high school, they begin receiving various messages from someone using the alias "A" who threatens to expose their secrets.

The novels explore several different topics and themes such as bullying, murder, drug addiction, underage drinking, eating disorders, homosexuality, peer-pressure, infidelity, and mental illness. Moral ambiguity and the consequences of lying are featured prominently in the series; the girls constantly create their own problems through their unwillingness or inability to tell the truth about certain events and misdeeds they have done.

The novels have appeared on the The New York Times Best Seller list.[1][2][3] A television series adaptation loosely based on the novels debuted on June 8, 2010 on ABC Family. The franchise has been licensed by's Kindle Worlds range of non-canon ebooks.[4] The twelfth book in the series, Burned, was released on December 4, 2012. A prequel, Ali's Pretty Little Lies, was released on January 2, 2013.[5] Additionally, a thirteenth book, Crushed,[6] was released June 4, 2013. Shepard then revealed that she intended to write three more novels for the series.[7] The fourteenth book, Deadly, was released on December 3, 2013.[8] The fifteenth book, Toxic, was released on June 3, 2014.[9]


The series is loosely divided into four arcs of four to five books each, chronicling the introduction and reveal of each "A". The series follows the lives of four teenage girls, nicknamed the Pretty Little Liars or simply the Liars, whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their friend Alison DiLaurentis. Three years after her disappearance, the girls begin receiving anonymous messages from an anonymous source, "A," who threatens to expose their secrets, including long-hidden ones they thought only Alison knew. Shortly after the messages begin, Alison's body is discovered. The books progress with the four girls trying to figure out the identity of "A".


Although the series features an extensive cast of characters of varying significance, the novels focus predominantly on seven main characters:

Spencer Hastings[edit]

A competitive girl who strives for perfection in everything she does. A high-strung over-achiever, Spencer is willing to do whatever it takes to win, often to the detriment of herself and others. She is often quick to jump to conclusions and suffers from IED. She also suffers from drug addiction that began to help her boost her grades in school. Spencer was a half-sister to Alison and Courtney DiLaurentis, her father having had an affair with Jessica DiLaurentis around the time of Spencer's conception. Spencer's parents later divorce when the affair comes to light. She attends a summer program at Penn to improve her GPA. Spencer has an ongoing feud with her older sister, Melissa, who is equally competitive. Throughout the book series, the two argue over the implications of their individual successes in life, such as becoming valedictorian and having award-winning essays. In Twisted, it is revealed that the siblings have made peace, and in the last few books they have a stronger bond. Spencer was accepted to Princeton and is going there in the fall. At the start of Crushed, she meets her boyfriend named Chase who helps her with her search for real Ali.

Hanna Marin[edit]

A popular girl who struggles with bulimia due to insecurities about her appearance. While in seventh grade, Hanna was very overweight and developed complicated eating problems, including binge eating from stress often followed by a bulimic episode. Flighty and occasionally air-headed, Hanna often acts purely on impulse. In Alison's absence, she became best friends with Mona Vanderwal, Ali's previous bullying target, and they transformed themselves into Rosewood's new "It" girls. Hanna's parents divorced when she was twelve, after her father had an affair. She lives with her mother and would rarely see her father, especially after he started dating an average-looking nurse named Isabel. Hanna dislikes her father's new wife, Isabel, and her daughter, Kate, with whom she forms a rivalry at first; they bond and make peace later in the series. Prior to Twisted, Hanna is involved in a car accident, which leaves another girl badly injured; she covers up her involvement with the help of the Liars. She is nominated for prom queen in Crushed along with Chassey Bladsoe, a former geek turned beautiful girl. It is also revealed in Crushed that she got accepted to FIT for college. Hanna dates with Mike Montgomery , for the majority of the series.

Aria Montgomery[edit]

An artistic, bubbly, independent girl whose family moved back to Rosewood after her father took a three year sabbatical in Reykjavík, Iceland. Prior to Alison's disappearance, Aria became aware that her father was having an affair with Meredith, a student of his at the local college. Having promised her father to keep the affair a secret, Aria is kicked out of the house and goes to live with boyfriend at the time, Sean Ackard, after the first "A" reveals the affair to her mother. Her parents divorce and Aria's father marries Meredith who soon becomes pregnant. Aria often feels out of place in Rosewood and tends to be attracted to older, more worldly men, which frequently causes her conflicts. However, she dates Noel Kahn throughout most of the series. After a near-death experience, she is overcome with guilt and decides to confess to accidentally killing Tabitha (unaware she was not actually responsible for Tabitha's death). In Crushed it turns out she tried to steal a Van Gogh painting.

Emily Fields[edit]

Emily is a dedicated swimmer. In "Flawless" she tells her parents she wants to quit swimming, but once she is made captain she changes her mind. She was in love with Alison and kissed her once in seventh grade, a fact which she takes great pains to hide. She develops feelings for a new girl named Maya, resulting in a secret relationship, but she is then outed as gay by the first "A" when a picture of them kissing in the photo booth at the Kahn party is passed out at a swim meet. Although at first her parents make attempts to "de-gay" her, they eventually come to accept her and her sexuality. After she and Maya break up, Emily meets a guy named Isaac at a church event, and realizes that she's bisexual. They start dating and Emily loses her virginity to Isaac, whom she later breaks up with. It was revealed in Twisted that Emily had gotten pregnant from her first time with Isaac and hid it from her family by staying with her sister Carolyn over the summer. She gave birth to a baby girl, Violet, and was going to give her to Gayle (her friend's extremely rich boss) for money but she changed her mind and gave the baby to the Bakers, a family she met through an adoption site. Emily's change in heart on who to give the baby to greatly angered Gayle, who later threatens both Emily and the baby. Even after the pregnancy, Emily receives an athletic scholarship to attend UNC. In Wicked she and Maya seem to be enemies but in Heartless they make a brief truce. Maya has since not been mentioned. Emily later dates Jordan, a girl she meets on a cruise.

Alison DiLaurentis[edit]

An extremely popular, beautiful, and cruel girl. When she and her twin Courtney were younger, Alison was jealous of her more popular sister and forced Courtney to impersonate her, at the same time tormenting Courtney to the point where the two sisters got into a physical fight. When their parents called the doctors, Courtney panicked and revealed that Alison threatens her and wants her gone. Alison, who was acting very innocently all the time, claimed it was not true and stated that her sister has to go to the mental hospital. In the outcome, Alison successfully made everyone believe that Courtney was a paranoid schizophrenic. Her family then moved to Rosewood to avoid attention and changed their surname Day-DiLaurentis to DiLaurentis. In the beginning of sixth grade, Courtney managed to trick their mother Jessica into taking Ali to the mental hospital. Alison blamed the Liars for ruining her life and swore revenge. She was the second "A" and killed Courtney, Jenna and Ian. Later on she tries to kill the girls in her Poconos home but they manage to get out. Alison is left inside and it's unknown whether she died or not; later it is revealed she did indeed survive and was the third "A" torturing the girls along with her secret boyfriend, Nick. Nick was the murderer of Tabitha, Gayle, and Graham.

Courtney DiLaurentis[edit]

Courtney was the leader of the Liars under the assumed identity of Alison DiLaurentis. Her jealous twin sister, the "real" Alison DiLaurentis threatened her since childhood (despite their initial friendship), forcing Courtney to impersonate her, so she would seem crazy and therefore, be sent to a psych ward. Courtney tried to get the doctors to understand that she had been blackmailed by her sister, but they didn't believe her when Alison acted innocently and denied Courtney's confessions. In the outcome, Ali's master plan worked: Courtney was believed to be a paranoid schizophrenic. In the beginning of Alison's sixth grade, Courtney successfully tricked their mother Jessica into taking Ali to the mental hospital. In the aftermath, Courtney took her sister's place, pretending to be Alison, so that she won't be recognised as Courtney and therefore end up in a mental hospital; she became Ali. Even though Courtney was mean to everyone in school, she didn't want to be, because she only did it because she was pretending to be Alison. If she acted nicer to people, her family would notice the change, so Courtney always acted wrong despite her being good. She did tease the Liars but she secretly appreciated them. Later on, her sister Alison came back for her revenge and killed Courtney by pushing her into a hole that was originally made for a gazebo, accompanied by an unknown person who was later revealed to be Nick. It is known that Courtney knew that person and was betrayed.


The main antagonist of the series. "A", is an anonymous extortionist who is privy to the Liars' deepest and darkest secrets, and uses these secrets to exact revenge on the Liars for (often) perceived wrongdoings. There are three different "A" characters throughout the series. The first "A", Mona Vanderwaal, was able to discover the Liars' secrets by reading Alison's old journal. During a physical confrontation with Spencer Hastings, Mona was pushed over the edge of a quarry. She is thought to be insane and is sent to Radley, the nearby sanitarium. The second "A" is the "real" Alison DiLaurentis, who was sent away to a mental hospital in place of her twin sister, Courtney. She later was said to have died in a house fire, while attempting to kill the Liars. A third "A" begins tormenting the girls following an incident in Jamaica and many other plot lines, prior to the events of Twisted. In Crushed, it is revealed that A is a team of two. Although it is revealed in Crushed, the Liars suspect something in Burned. "A" is revealed as Nick Maxwell and Alison DiLaurentis in the book Deadly. She did in fact survive the fire.


First arc[edit]

Book # Title Publication date ISBN Pages
1 Pretty Little Liars October 3, 2006[10] 978-0-06-088730-8 286[10]
The story introduces an exclusive group of friends: Alison DiLaurentis, the popular yet manipulative queen bee, Aria Montgomery, an independent girl who is considered to be the oddball in Rosewood, she also went to Iceland for the summer, Emily Fields, a swimmer who holds secret feelings for Alison, she actually loved her, Hanna Marin, who strives to be thin and popular like Alison, and Spencer Hastings, an overachiever who is brave enough to stand up against Alison's manipulative ways. Alison mysteriously disappears during a sleepover with the girls in the summer before 8th grade.

The story then jumps 3 years later, when the girls are living their own lives and don't speak to each other.

Aria returns to Rosewood from a 3-year trip to Iceland with her family and comes back much more sophisticated than before she left. She meets and makes out with a guy in a local bar who is revealed to be her English teacher, Ezra Fitz.

Emily befriends the new girl in town, Maya St. Germain, and soon develops romantic feelings for her, even though Emily has a boyfriend, Ben. Ben later finds Maya and Emily kissing in the photo booth at a party and dumps beer on them.

Hanna is the new popular girl in town alongside the former nerd, Mona Vanderwaal. However, she and Mona sometimes shoplift though both can clearly afford their steals. Hanna battles the urge to turn back to bulimia, and struggles to manage the stress of keeping her queen bee status.

Spencer continues to struggle in her long-standing rivalry with Melissa Hastings, her perfect older sister. Problems occur when she begins to feel attracted to Melissa's new boyfriend, Wren Kim.

Throughout the story, the liars get messages threatening to reveal their secrets of the present and past, including a terrifying incident the girls refer to as "The Jenna Thing". They automatically believe it is their missing friend, Alison, because she is the only one each of them confided in regarding their darkest secrets. However, they are shocked when the police find her corpse buried in the gazebo of her former house. The book ends with the liars receiving a text at Alison's funeral saying, "I'm still here, bitches. And I know everything. -A ". The girls have made up at this point.

2 Flawless March 27, 2007[11] 978-0-06-088733-9 330[11]
Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields continue to receive text messages from an unknown person, "A", and are more desperate than ever to discover the identity of "A", who is still taunting them with the threat of exposing their many secrets. At first the girls think "A" is Alison, because she is the only person who knew their secrets, but then they start to believe the person behind the threats is Toby, because some messages they receive refer to 'The Jenna Thing' and with Alison dead, he is the only other person who was a part of the incident, although everyone but Spencer is unaware of why he took the blame for what happened to Jenna.

"The Jenna Thing" is revealed to be an incident in which Ali had set off a firework in Jenna Cavanaugh's step-brother Toby Cavanaugh's tree house to scare him, and Jenna had been blinded.

"A" sends Emily a text message hinting that "A" knows about Emily and Maya's romantic relationship and threatens to tell everyone about it. Emily becomes close with Toby and goes to a big benefit party with him but then later tells him that she thinks she might be gay.

"A" leaves a note for Hanna that forces her to tell Naomi and Riley that she makes herself throw up and that Sean was the one who broke up with her. Later on, she receives a text that tells her Sean is at Foxy with another girl. Hanna is shocked to discover her former boyfriend Sean Ackard ignoring his Virginity Club vows and nearly having sex with Aria.

"A" continuously tells Aria to either 'get rid of the problem' or to tell her mom the truth about Byron, her father, that he is seeing another woman. Aria goes to confront the other woman, Meredith, but when she does Meredith tells her that she and Aria's father are in love. Ella finds out that Byron is having an affair with a student named Meredith Gates and kicks him out, leaving Ella and Aria's mother-daughter relationship shattered.

Spencer continues to hook-up with her sister Melissa's now ex-boyfriend Wren and later loses her virginity to him. However, Melissa starts to hook-up with him as well and eventually makes sure that he will be out of both of their lives for good.

Emily blames herself for Toby's suicide. In this book it is revealed that Toby molested his stepsister when they were in middle school. Ali and Spencer were the only ones who knew about it.

3 Perfect August 21, 2007[12] 978-0-06-088736-0 298[12]
Now homeless, Aria goes to live with her new boyfriend, Sean Ackard. Still seeing Ezra, their relationship is broken up when Sean informs the police, having found out the secret from "A".

Emily plans to go to the police to stop "A", which leads to "A" taking revenge by outing her to the whole school. Emily's parents threaten to send her away if she does not attend a "de-gaying" program, however, Emily realizes she can't change who she is.

Spencer is nominated for a Golden Orchid Award for the essay she plagiarized, which "A" threatens to expose. Spencer's family discovers she cheated on her Golden Orchid essay, but keep it quiet to protect their reputation. Spencer comes to believe she might have killed Alison after discovering she suffers from rage-induced blackouts.

Hanna and Mona get into a fight, and Hanna seeks comfort with an "uncool" boy named Lucas. She goes to Mona's birthday party but gets humiliated, but she receives a text from "A" and recognizes the number. She intends to reveal the true identity of "A" to the other girls, but is run down by "A" before she can do so. The girls recognize it is A from the eerie text: She Knew Too Much-A

4 Unbelievable May 27, 2008[13] 978-0-06-088739-1 335[13]
Hanna barely survives being rundown by "A", and due to a head injury, she loses her memory of the previous day, thus forgetting "A"'s identity.

Emily's parents catch her with Maya at a party and send her to Iowa to live with her strict, religious relatives. She is glad to be safe from "A", but after Emily is accused of threatening her cousins, she runs away. Emily returns home when she sees her parents on TV, who tell her that they love her and accept her for who she is. Emily and Maya are reunited, but Trista, a girl who Emily had met and flirted with in Iowa comes to visit, their relationship is shattered, and Emily is saddened further when she sees Trista and Noel hooking up.

After being kicked out of Sean's house, Aria reluctantly moves in with Byron and Meredith, who announces that she is pregnant and when Bryon's and Ella's divorce is finalized, they are to be married. While at Hollis College, Aria takes an art class and befriends Jenna, who she suspects could be "A".

"A" reveals to Melissa (Spencer's sister) that Spencer stole her essay for the Golden Orchid competition, but the family keeps quiet to protect their reputation. Melissa and Spencer grow closer, and Spencer confesses that she kissed Ian, and that he and Alison were secretly dating. When fragments of her memory from the night Alison died are restored, Spencer is horrified when it dawns on her that she may have accidentally killed Alison.

Mona and Hanna's friendship is restored, and to celebrate Hanna's recovery, Mona and Spencer plan a party for her. Spencer is surprised to discover that she enjoys Mona's company, and even more so when Mona tells her that she has been receiving messages from "A". Hanna is thrilled that Spencer approves of Mona, and they consider letting her join their clique.

"A" tells Aria that Meredith has a secret job at Hooters, and she goes there with Mike, only to discover that "A" was lying. Darren Wilden and several other cops are there, and Aria is tempted to tell them about "A". When Mike realizes that something is troubling his sister, he urges her to tell Darren, and she eventually does. On the night of Hanna's party, Aria tells Jenna what happened the night she was blinded and apologizes for not stopping Alison, but Jenna reveals that she and Alison had planned it together to get rid of Toby. Aria asks Jenna about "A", but Jenna becomes scared and quickly leaves, hinting that she knows who "A" is.

Melissa confronts Spencer about seeing Ian behind her back, which Spencer denies, and when she leaves, Spencer and Mona discover another note from "A" and suspect that Melissa killed Alison because she was jealous of her relationship with Ian. They inform the others, and decide to turn Melissa in. Mona drives Spencer to the police station, and Aria tells Emily and Hanna the truth about The Jenna Thing. When Hanna says that one in four boys sexually abuse their sister, Emily tells her not to believe everything she hears, which causes Hanna's memory to return, and she is horrified when she remembers who "A" is: Mona.

Spencer is hesitant about turning in Melissa, but Mona comforts her and convinces her otherwise. Moments later, Spencer receives a text from Emily, telling her that Mona is "A". When she receives several more from the girls, who are worrying about what Mona will do, Mona realizes that they finally figured it out. While Aria, Emily and Hanna go to the police station to tell Darren that Mona is "A", Mona drives Spencer to Floating Man's Quarry, where she explains that she saw what happened on the night of The Jenna Thing, and when Maya moved in, she found Alison's diary, which contained the girls' secrets. Using the information to her advantage, she got a new phone and became "A" to get revenge on the girls for blinding Jenna. Spencer accuses Mona of killing Alison, but Mona says that it was Ian who killed her, as Alison had blackmailed him about their relationship.

Spencer secretly calls Darren, who overhears her conversation with Mona and learns of their location. Mona tells Spencer that she originally planned to frame her for Alison's murder, but recently grew to like her, and thus decided to frame Melissa to do Spencer a favor. She then offers Spencer her life in return that she becomes "A" with her, as they could pin the blame on someone else. Spencer refuses and Mona attacks her. They fight on the cliff's edge, and in the struggle, Spencer accidentally pushes Mona off the cliff to her death. Aria, Emily and Hanna arrive on the scene with Darren and police, and find Mona's body and an unconscious Spencer

Second arc[edit]

Book # Title Publication date ISBN Pages
5 Wicked November 25, 2008[14] 978-0-06-156607-3 310[14]
A new "A" begins making threats. Ian denies being Ali's killer.

Emily finds herself confused about her sexuality once again, as she now has feelings for a boy she met at church, Christian singer Isaac. Emily tries to date Isaac without him finding out about her orientation, though "A" keeps interfering. Emily tells Isaac about Maya and he then hugs her and tells her that he accepts her for who she is.

Hanna, still overcome with shock after discovering Mona Vanderwaal was really "A", can't seem to catch a break. She now has trouble with her stepsister Kate Randall. At a party at a hotel opening, Hanna and Kate continue to fight over title of "Queen Bee". Hanna and Lucas break up after Hanna tells everyone that Kate has herpes at a party to sabotage her. Eventually, Hanna's father forbids her from talking to anyone except Kate.

Aria has feelings for a man, Xavier, who she met at an art show; however, he ends up meeting and dating her mother through an online match site. This puts her at risk of hurting her mother again and further damaging their newly repaired relationship. Aria moves in with Meredith and Byron to avoid Xavier as his true intentions will jeopardize Aria and Ella's relationship.

After a shock at her gran's will reading and her family neglecting her, Spencer comes to believe that she is adopted and starts searching a reuniting website for answers.

In the end, Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Hanna find Ian's body in the woods behind Spencer's house, but when they return with the police, the body is missing. Wilden sort of pushes it off, and begins the search hours after the girls had shared their story.

6 Killer June 30, 2009[15] 978-0-06-156611-0 321[15]
The girls discover that the person they think is Ali's murderer — Ian Thomas — has actually been framed, and they start to wonder if the new "A" really wants to threaten them or just to solve the mystery.

Spencer meets a woman named Olivia Caldwell who she thinks is her real mother, and attempts to move to New York, but it turns out to be a scam and she loses her college money.

Hanna and Kate compete for the affections of Aria's brother Mike Montgomery.

Aria falls in love with Jason DiLaurentis again.

Emily has sex with her new boyfriend Isaac, whose mother finds out and banishes Emily from their house without Isaac knowing. At the opening party for Radley, a former so-called "haven for troubled youth", Emily finds proof that Jason DiLaurentis had been a patient there, and soon Hanna, Aria, and Emily all come to believe that Jason and Darren Wilden had something to do with Ali's murder.

Ian Thomas confirms their suspicions about Darren and Jason right before someone sets the woods behind Spencer's house to fire. Although at first they had their doubts about Ian being alive, they are now confident he is.

While Aria is trying to get to Spencer's barn to show them Ali's flag from 6th grade, she finds someone caught in the woods because of the fire, saves this person, and then they all recognize her as Ali.

7 Heartless January 19, 2010[16] 978-0-06-156614-1 274[16]
After the fire, no one believes the girls when they insist that they saw Alison.

"A" sends Emily to Lancaster, where Emily comes to believe that Ali was not the girl in the hole, but that Wilden has murdered a girl named Leah and covered it up by making it seem like it was Ali.

Aria begins a relationship with Noel Kahn, after he defends her at a party. She visits a medium, who produces a message in Ali's handwriting that states that "Ali killed Ali." This leads her to believe that Ali might have committed suicide.

Hanna's father sends her to a clinic to prevent her eating disorder from reappearing due to stress, where she befriends a troubled girl named Iris. Hanna has more dreams about Ali, which causes her to suspect that Iris had something to do with Ali's death.

"A" reveals to Spencer that her father had an affair (and that Alison is Spencer's half-sister), making her suspicious of her mother.

The Liars are arrested for Ali's murder. They realize that "A" has tricked each of them into believing someone else killed Ali. However, a man named Billy Ford is soon arrested for murdering Alison and Jenna Cavanaugh. Everyone now believes Ian is dead.

8 Wanted June 8, 2010[17] 978-0-06-156617-2 259[17]
Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer are shocked to learn of the existence of Alison's twin sister, Courtney, when she's introduced at a press conference. Courtney had spent her life in institutions due to "health issues" and her existence was kept secret by her family. It is revealed that Jason was not a patient at the Radley but instead he was visiting Courtney. She was finally released and went home to Rosewood, where she attempts to resume her sister's life and begins tentative friendships with Ali's old friends. She later reveals that she's actually Ali, the real Courtney had pretended to be her on the night of Ali's disappearance, and she was the one who was killed. When she had tried to tell her family who she was, they didn't believe her because Courtney was notorious for pretending to be Ali, and sent her back to the institution in Courtney's place. The girls are thrilled that Ali is back, and jump at the chance to go with her to the family's house in the Poconos after a school dance.

On the way there, Spencer gets a frantic call from her mother telling her that Melissa has disappeared. Spencer had begun to believe that her sister was the one who killed Ali and that she may be after the rest of them, but once they arrive at the house it's revealed that Ali is the killer. They discover that the girl they were friends with years ago was actually Courtney, and the real Ali was stuck in an institution. She had killed Courtney for ruining her life, attempted to kill the girls in the forest fire, tried to have them arrested, and is now going to kill them by setting the house on fire.

They're able to escape after stumbling onto Ian's body hidden in a closet and releasing a bound Melissa, who Ali had kidnapped and was planning to kill as well. Ali is trapped inside the house and it's assumed she died in the fire, although her body is never found.

After learning that her ex-husband shipped Hanna off to a mental institution, Ashley Marin transfers back to Rosewood and kicks Hanna's father, Isabel and Kate out of the house, thrilling Hanna. Hanna and Mike get back together.

Meredith goes into labor, giving birth to a girl named Lola. Aria and Noel get back together after it's revealed that Ali kissed him, not the other way around, and Ella breaks up with Xavier after learning of his inappropriate behavior towards Aria.

Spencer's father proclaims that even though he and her mother may not get back together, things are going to change for the better in their family, and Spencer and Melissa grow closer after almost being killed.

Emily buries everything she can find that reminds her of Ali at Courtney's grave, hoping she can finally find closure, but is unsure of whether the noises she hears at the cemetery are real or imagined. And somewhere, a new girl starts her senior year at an anonymous school, a girl whose name just so happens to be an anagram of Alison DiLaurentis. The reader is left wondering if Alison is...alive?

Third arc[edit]

Book # Title Publication date ISBN Pages
9 Twisted July 5, 2011[18] 978-0-06-208101-8 305[18]
The book begins with the girls vacationing in Jamaica and Emily seeing a girl who she believes is Ali. Throughout the rest of the book, details about that fateful vacation emerge.

In the meantime, Noel, Aria's boyfriend, has an exchange student, from Finland, come to live with him. Instead of being the nerdy boy, Klaudius, that Noel expected, the exchange student turns out to be a gorgeous blonde, Klaudia, who tries to steal Noel from Aria. Aria ends up accidentally pushing Klaudia off of a ski lift as an act of self-defense; however, Klaudia uses that information against Aria. By that point, Aria and Noel's relationship is shaky and uncertain.

Emily meets a new girl, Chloe, who moves into the Cavanaugh's old house. They immediately become good friends, bonding over Chloe's baby sister, Grace. Emily has now given up hope of getting a swim scholarship, her only option for college. Chloe's dad offers to help but also hits on Emily, even making sexual moves towards her. Chloe walks in on her dad kissing Emily, but thinks that it's Emily who is wrecking her family (her father had previously been cheating).

Hanna's dad runs for senator of Pennsylvania. Patrick, somebody who's helping out at the set, offers Hanna a modeling job, but he takes some naughty pictures and threatens her with them, saying he will release them to the public and ruin her dads' chances of becoming senator, unless she gives him $10,000. Hanna steals money from her dad and frames Jeremiah, a mean man who is also working on set.

Spencer's mom has begun to date Nicholas Pennythistle, the father of snobby Amelia and her brother Zach, in whom Spencer develops a romantic interest. Hanna gets trapped in an elevator from A. When they go out dancing, she kisses him, only to find out Zach is gay. When the Hastings and Pennythistles travel to New York together, Spencer and Zach drunkenly fall asleep in the same bed. During the night, Spencer had kicked off her clothes because she was hot, leaving her in her blouse and underwear. The next morning Mr. Pennythistle wakes them both up by entering the room. Their indecent clothing and close proximity leads Mr. Pennythistle to believe that they had slept together and acts violent. Spencer tells him that Zach didn't touch her and that he's gay, hoping to help, but Mr. Pennythistle becomes furious and sends Zach to military school. Zach and Spencer's friendship ends, Zach leaving Spencer with the words "Rot in hell, bitch".

The girls start to get messages from a new "A", and believe it's Ali and that she somehow survived the fall from the building. In the end of the book, the news turns on and a teenage girl's dead body was found floating in the water in Jamaica. They identify this girl as Tabitha Clark from New Jersey. The cops believe her death was a tragic accident - not a murder. The girls realize they killed an innocent girl.

10 Ruthless December 6, 2011[19] 978-0-06-208186-5 338[19]
It is revealed that last summer while Spencer was taking AP courses at Penn, she began taking speed pills as a way to help with studying. After being arrested by the police for possession, she arranges for Hanna to help her frame her roommate, Kelsey, as a dealer, in order for Spencer to not face charges. After landing the role of Lady Macbeth in the school play, the stress and guilt begin to take their toll on Spencer, causing her to have frequent hallucinations in which she is haunted by Kelsey and Tabitha. She becomes paranoid and begins to believe Kelsey is "A" and is taking revenge on her for being framed.

Emily accidentally meets Kelsey at a party and is instantly smitten with her. She and Kelsey grow close, much to Spencer's disapproval. After Emily is hurt by Spencer's remarks about her love for Alison, she angrily tells Kelsey that Spencer framed her for the drug possession. Depressed, Kelsey overdoses and attempts to throw herself into the quarry where Mona died, but Emily saves her and Kelsey is sent to the Preserve for treatment. While visiting Kelsey, the girls realize that Tabitha was also a patient at the Preserve and was the same age as Alison and Courtney.

Hanna's father asks her to help with the social media aspect of his campaigning. She meets a boy named Liam, who she falls for, despite knowing he is the son of her father's political opponent. They break up when she learns he has been seeing multiple other girls while dating her, and reconciles with Mike.

After Aria is dumped by Noel, she seeks out comfort in Ezra, in hopes of rekindling their romance. However, things are strained between them, and Aria eventually goes back into a relationship with Noel, after discovering Ezra and Klaudia being intimate.

The Liars attempt to circumvent "A's" threats by coming clean about their secrets, with varied success. Meanwhile, "A" becomes more violent, shoving Emily down a hill at Stockbridge trail. "A" sends Spencer an email of Tabitha on the beach with a head injury, indicating that "A" was the one who disposed of Tabitha's body. "A" taunts the Liars, stating they will never discover "A's" true identity. Kelsey cannot be A. Emily and Spencer have their biggest rivalry.

11 Stunning June 5, 2012[20] 978-0-06-208189-6 302[20]
The Liars begin to suspect a woman, Gayle, might be "A", when she comes to Rosewood and begins to harass them; it is revealed that Emily backed out of a deal to let Gayle adopt her daughter in exchange for $50,000 paid under the table. Emily finds herself reconnecting with Isaac while attempting to tell him about her pregnancy, but she fears the repercussions of such a confession.

Spencer visits Princeton hoping to join an Eating Club, but "A" interferes and spikes Spencer's pot brownies with LSD and Ritalin.

Aria panics when she finds out Noel's father is a drag queen and ends up putting her relationship with Noel at risk when "A" threatens Aria to expose Noel's father photo publicly.

On a tip from "A", Hanna begins spying on Mike's new girlfriend, Colleen. Later she becomes publicly humiliated by "A" when she sends everybody a video of Hanna stalking Colleen, and her desperate ways of getting Mike back.

Gayle is murdered by "A" and it is revealed that she was Tabitha's stepmother. Tabitha's father speaks at Gayle's funeral, and announces that Tabitha's autopsy showed no trace of alcohol, meaning that she was murdered. He thus plans to re-open the investigation into her death, and threatens the killer that he will find him, both Gayle's and Tabitha's killer. The girls get very nervous about this.

12 Burned December 4, 2012[21] 978-0-06-208192-6 319[21]
It is revealed that prior to the events of Twisted, the Liars covered up Hanna's involvement in a car accident that left another girl, Madison, badly injured. While on a school-sponsored cruise in the Caribbean, the Liars uncover clues that suggest "A" is more than one person. They begin to suspect Naomi Zeigler of being "A", after she befriends Hanna (who is unaware that Madison is Naomi's cousin) and attempts to sabotage Spencer's new relationship. Aria becomes friends with a boy named Graham, only to discover he is Tabitha's ex-boyfriend, leading the Liars come to believe that Naomi and Graham are working together as "A". Meanwhile, Emily falls for a stowaway, Jordan, unaware that she is a thief on the run from the authorities.

After an explosion on the boat, the Liars go off on their own to bury "evidence" of their connection to Tabitha (Tabitha's locket, which "A" had planted for Noel to find). "A" tampers with their lifeboat, nearly stranding them in the middle of the ocean. The near-death experience pushes the girls into wanting to confess about killing Tabitha. However, as they make plans to come clean about everything, they discover that they were not responsible for Tabitha's death at all: She had been bludgeoned to death by "A".

The Liars finally come to believe that "A" is, in fact, Alison, as Emily reveals that she may have helped Alison escape the burning Poconos house in Wanted. Suspiciously though Naomi was at Gayle's funeral...

Fourth arc[edit]

Book # Title Publication date ISBN Pages
13 Crushed June 4, 2013 978-0-06-219971-3 340
Weeks before the annual Rosewood Day Prom, the four girls are put under much stress. They break down and try being one step ahead of "A" by marking off who their suspects could be. In this novel it is revealed there are two people working as A. Spencer, Hanna, and Emily agree that the main suspect is Noel Kahn, Aria's boyfriend. Aria doesn't want to believe it, but the facts tell her otherwise. He was on the trip to Jamaica, he went to Iceland. He was good friends with Ali (he loved her), and he visited her in the Preserve when she was there. He knew about the twins. He knew enough to make him look like A. Emily tries getting information of out of Ali's old friend, Iris (who we met in ''Heartless). Iris tells Emily little tidbits of Ali, and at Prom Iris recognizes Noel and confirms he was Ali's secret boyfriend who visited her. Spencer finds an internet blogger, who blogs about Alison DiLaurentis theories. She meets him and actually ends up liking him, finding his name is Chase. He helps Spencer get information on Alison. Hanna, in an attempt to get information on a burn victim from the last book, Graham, starts volunteering at the Burn Clinic. There, Graham is still in a coma; right when he's about to wake up, he dies -all the information is kept hidden for good. Aria, worried and paranoid about what happened last summer, is trying to handle Noel being A, even though she doesn't want to believe it. At Prom, Noel admits to loving Ali, and Aria, furious, freaks out and asks Noel if Ali is still alive. He says he doesn't know. Aria wonders if he has had contact with Ali since the Poconos explosion. As Aria attempts to run away, Noel gets her and pins her to the ground. Spencer, Hanna, and Emily arrive and Noel flees. The morning later, Hanna gets a text from A saying to go to the shed behind Rosewood Day. She and the three other girls go, and just in case bring cops. Inside is a supposedly unconscious Noel tied up to a chair. It is not revealed if Noel is dead or alive. The girls get a text saying they didn't find out anything, Noel wasn't A, and now they are back where they started. And of course, it was signed by A.
14 Deadly December 3, 2013[22] 978-0-06-219974-4 320
The book starts out as the real Alison DiLaurentis is limping out of her burning vacation home right after she tried to kill the liars. It's said in the start that she survived with the help of "Helper A," her boyfriend. Aria visits Noel in the hospital and it is shown that he is in fact still alive. Agent Fuji comes to the girls after they are arrested for the charges they have committed over the past year. The girls finally admit to Agent Fuji about "A" and tell her that all of their charges need to be dropped. They also tell her that they believe Alison is still alive and need 24-hour protection for them and their families. Agent Fuji tells the girls to give her all of the "A" notes and the girls do as they are told. As a result of telling the police, "A" gives the police a fake security video of the girls beating up Tabitha before she is killed. The police arrest all of them and tell the girls that all of the texts from "A" had come from their phones. The girls are put on bail and go home. Emily's family seems to hate her, and Emily and Carolyn get into a fight. As this happens Emily's mom has a heart attack. Hanna's father wants nothing to do with her because it will hurt his campaign. After their hearing the girls are sentenced to go to trial in Jamaica the next day. Determined to find "A," they go searching. They find a house by Hanna's fathers office and go inside. It is small and disgusting. As they are walking in, Nick Maxwell comes in pointing a gun at the girls. He is "Helper A," Real Ali's boyfriend. The girls all know him as someone else. Spencer knows him as Phineas, a guy at Penn's summer program who sold her study drugs. Hanna knew him as Jackson, the bartender who kept giving Madison drinks and refusing to get a cab, resulting in Hanna getting in a wreck with Madison. Emily knew him as Derrick, a friend she had at her job to whom she told all her secrets. Aria knew him as Olaf, a guy she stole The Starry Night with while vacationing in Iceland. Right as they realize what is happening, Alison shows up with a gun and tells the girls to get in the basement. They girls do as they are told. They see a mural of Ali on the wall and they are confused. Ali tells them that after she kills them that it is going to look like they did it to be with Ali because they were sad that she was gone. Astonished, the girls ask questions. Afterwards, Nick and Ali grab gas masks and turn on a poisonous gas. They girls wake up in the hospital and Agent Fuji tells them that Nick Maxwell was caught but not Ali. In the epilogue Ali is running away and goes to a little house that Nick didn't know of. She has money and reveals that she is going to lure someone else to kill with her again.
15 Toxic June 3, 2014[22] 9780062287014 336
It's finally summer in Rosewood, Pennsylvania, which means afternoons at the pool, high school graduation—and the end of the scandal that has rocked the town for years. Or so everyone thinks. It's been weeks since police caught the notorious stalker and murderer known as A. But Hanna, Aria, Emily, and Spencer know that the real A is still out there. And as long as A is on the loose, nothing can ever go back to normal . . . if there is such a thing as normal in Rosewood.

Hanna is offered the role of a lifetime—in a movie about her life. Aria's paintings go viral, until her fine art escalates to the art of war. Spencer starts an antibullying blog but finds that her homepage is as dangerous as her home life. And Emily goes behind bars to reconnect with the only girl who ever stole her heart.

But these little liars need to watch their backs. They should know by now that A never forgives and never forgets. And this time, A is determined to bring them down—once and for all.

16 Vicious December 2, 2014[22] 9780062287045
In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, reporters are lined up outside the historic courthouse, typing furiously at their iPhones with freshly manicured nails. Because the trial of the century is happening right here in Rosewood: the four pretty little liars have been accused of killing Alison DiLaurentis. Only Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily know that they’ve been framed. Ali is still out there, laughing as she watches the girls go down for her murder. But when your nickname includes the word “liar,” no one believes you’re telling the truth. . . .

Aria tries to run away from it all but finds that life on the run is even harder than life as a liar. Spencer gets in touch with someone who can help her disappear—but when a guy from her past reemerges, Spencer no longer knows what she wants. Hanna decides that she’ll hear wedding bells chime before she serves time. And in the face of prison, Emily does something truly drastic—something that will change her friends’ lives forever.

As the trial goes on and the outcome looks grim, the girls are in their darkest hour yet. But maybe they can finally figure out how to beat Ali at her own game. Because once upon a time, she was just a pretty little liar too.

Companion novels[edit]

Book # Title Publication date ISBN Pages
0.6 Alison's Pretty Little Diary September 6, 2010 978-0-06-223336-3 13

The content is almost a repeat of the prologue of Killer — The Liars tried to steal Ali's flag and the switch occurred. Courtney was pretending to be Alison so she has a bad personality when writing in the diary.

4.5 Pretty Little Secrets January 3, 2012[23] 978-0-06-212591-0 464[23]

Set between Unbelievable and Wicked, the book is told from the point of view of the second "A", Alison DiLaurentis, as she spies on the girls during their Christmas vacation. The novel is divided into a series of four short stories, with each one focusing on the exploits of a specific girl.

Spencer: Spencer and her family go to Nana Hastings mansion in Florida, and Spencer falls in love with a tennis player named Colin at the country club. Melissa seems to be helping Spencer win Colin's heart, but Colin ends up taking an interest in Melissa. During the trip, Spencer and her mother also run into Mrs. DiLaurentis several times, and Spencer is confused by her mother's strange behavior around Mrs DiLaurentis. Spencer also decides to fight for Colin. After Colin dumps Melissa to go out with her, Spencer and Melissa discover that Colin's actually 33-years-old and also has a wife and child. Spencer and Melissa decide to team up to get revenge on Colin by putting crushed Viagra in his Aminospa vitamin water right before his important tennis game. In the end, they all have a fun vacation, but Spencer worries that someone has been following her. Melissa and Spencer seem to briefly make up in this, hence the sisters' wary friendship in Wicked.

Emily: Emily is asked to go undercover as Santa Claus at the new mall, in order to catch 4 girls who work as elves there, who are suspected of vandalizing Christmas decorations around town, including Emily's mom's baby Jesus ceramic figure. The 4 girls, who call themselves the "Merry Elves", take a liking to Emily, and it's revealed that one of the girls, Cassie, was close with Alison. Emily accompanies the girls on their biggest prank yet, but Emily's mom uses her phone to track her, and the Merry Elves get caught. Eventually, the elves forgive Emily after she bails them out of jail. In the end, everyone realizes the true meaning of Christmas, but Emily can't shake off the weird feeling that someone is following her. It is revealed that A is blonde (she will later be revealed as Alison) as Emily sees a blonde figure run off.

Hanna: Hanna joins a boot camp after thinking she gained too much weight at a holiday party. She develops feelings for the instructor, Vince. She also develops a rival, Dinah, another girl who also likes Vince. After competing for Vince's affection, she and Dinah become friends after catching Kate making out with the mall's new Santa (prior to Emily), something which Hanna also photographs. After agreeing to stop chasing Vince, she celebrates by going out for drinks with Dinah, where Dinah admits she knew Alison. Hanna goes home drunk, causing her to oversleep. As she arrives at boot camp, she discovers Vince and Dinah kissing, revealing that Dinah only pretended to be friends with Hanna to have Hanna let down her guard. Hanna flees the scene, devastated, and is confronted by Kate, who, after receiving a tip-off, followed Hanna around, taking unflattering photos of her at boot camp, which she threatens to put on Facebook. Hanna counterattacks by showing Kate the pictures of her and Santa, causing Kate to back off. Hanna also improves her relationship with her father, who gives Hanna her grandmother's Cartier locket for Christmas. Hanna has a happy Christmas, despite the fact that she thinks someone other than Kate has been watching her every move. Some of what Dinah said may be true such as she knew Alison. But it is likely she made most of it up to get Hanna's trust.

Aria: Aria goes with her father and Mike to Bear Claw Resort, but leaves to go back home after finding out that Byron invited Meredith along as well. Upon arriving at home, Aria's surprised to see Halbjorn, an old boyfriend of hers from Iceland. Halbjorn tells her that he's running from the Icelandic police who're after him because he protested against the demolition of a puffin sanctuary. Unfortunately, his travel visa only lasts for a week. Aria proposes the idea of marrying him, and the two head off to Atlantic City to elope. At the hotel, they attend a magic show involving two panthers, which greatly angers Halbjorn, who cares a lot about the environment. After getting married the following day, which requires Aria to forge her mother's signature and lie about her age, they go to the place where the panthers are kept. After convincing Halbjorn not to release the panthers, they go back to the hotel. The next morning, Aria wakes up to find Halbjorn gone and his clothes missing as well. On the lobby's TV, Aria sees that Halbjorn ended up releasing the panthers anyway. Aria goes to the courthouse and confesses to lying about her age and forging her mother's signature, making the marriage null and void. Upon returning to Rosewood, she is joined by Mike and Byron, who know nothing about her marriage. As they watch TV, it shows that Halbjorn has been caught, and it also reveals that he's done these sorts of things in the past, including trying to blow up a demolition office. Aria's satisfied with breaking up with him, but is paranoid about someone following her. In Wicked, it's briefly stated that Aria and Meredith did converse about the baby.

The book ends with a sign-off from the new "A," (as always) who says that the Liars' lives are going to get a lot worse. All of which comes true...

0.5 Ali’s Pretty Little Lies January 2, 2013[24] 978-0062233363 304[24]
This novel is set just prior to Alison's disappearance, and chronicles her time as queen bee in Rosewood. The story is actually about Alison's twin sister, Courtney, who pretended to be Alison to avoid going to a psych ward.


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  10. ^ a b ASIN 0060887303, Pretty Little Liars.
  11. ^ a b ASIN 0060887338, Flawless.
  12. ^ a b ASIN 0060887362, Perfect.
  13. ^ a b ASIN 0060887397, Unbelievable.
  14. ^ a b ASIN 0061566071, Wicked.
  15. ^ a b ASIN 006156611X, Killer.
  16. ^ a b ASIN 0061566144, Heartless.
  17. ^ a b ASIN 0061566179, Wanted.
  18. ^ a b ASIN 0062081012, Twisted.
  19. ^ a b ASIN 0062081861, Ruthless.
  20. ^ a b ASIN 0062081896, Stunning.
  21. ^ a b ASIN 0062081926, Burned.
  22. ^ a b c "Betrayed (Pretty Little Liars #14)". GoodReads. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 308
  23. ^ a b ASIN 0062125915, Pretty Little Secrets.
  24. ^ a b ASIN 006223336X, Ali’s Pretty Little Lies.

External links[edit]