If you love reading mystery-thrillers that are mixed with romance, passion, controversy, a scandal, and murder, then the Pretty Little Liars book series is for you. This Buzzle article lists all the books of this series in chronological order.
“Never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret.”
― Sara Shepard, Author
Sara Shepard, the author of this series, is an acclaimed writer who has many more popular books to her credit. Her other series, The Lying Game, was also made into a TV series that aired for a brief period. She attended high school in Pennsylvania, where she currently resides. She also has a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Brooklyn College. The following paragraphs are a list of her book series Pretty Little Liars, set in chronological order, along with brief summaries of each book. The series is divided into four arks of four books each.
Set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pretty Little Liars is a book series about the lives of four pretty little girls telling some not-so-pretty lies. Emily Fields, Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, and Aria Montgomery, are four rich high schoolers who form a clique, with the popular and beautiful Alison Di’Laurentis as their leader. She knows their secrets, and so they can’t leave her. But nothing is as it seems, and soon things begin to get out of control for the liars. With no one to believe them and someone set out to destroy them forever, what are they going to do? Read the following list of the series to know more.
Main Characters Introduction
The story basically revolves around Alison’s character. She forms the crux of the plot. Alison Di’Laurentis is a manipulative, extremely-popular, ultra-rich girl, who comes to Rosewood in the seventh grade, and forms a clique with Emily, Hanna, Spencer, and Aria. She knows secrets about them that could very well destroy their lives, so they have no other option but to bend to her dominating ways. The story begins with her disappearance, and then jumps ahead three years, showing how the lives of these four girls change forever.
Hanna Marin is a typical teenager who has severe issues with her appearance. In flashback, she is described as an overweight teenager who is desperate to become thin and ‘fit in’. Factor in bulimia and anorexia, and her eating issues just become a lot more serious. She is severely prone to stress eating, which is responsible for worsening her bulimia. She is often careless and impulsive, and goes along with everything Alison says or does.
Emily Fields is a character with many facets to her personality. She is an ace swimmer, a bisexual, comes from an ultra-conservative family who actually try to ‘cure’ her bisexuality, and she is trying very hard to discover herself. She falls in love with Alison, then with another friend named Maya, then with a boy named Isaac, all the while trying to figure out who she really is. The main aspect of this character is her inner battles, which cause her to do things that harm her and others.
Spencer Hastings is a serious overachiever who does anything to win. She has anger issues, image issues, strives to be the best at everything, and is severely intimidated by her equally-ambitious older sister, Melissa. She is a bit cynical and is very quick to make assumptions about anything or anyone. Her constant friction with Alison shows that she is not someone who will just listen to and go along with what someone else asks her to do.
This character is an independent girl who is dealing with a family crisis involving her parents, and also battling with her love life. She knows of her father’s affair and promises to keep it a secret, but consequently ruins her relationship with her mother because of it. She has an attraction to older men instead of guys her own age, which leads to additional problems in her life.
Pretty Little Liars
Released – October 2006
The first book introduces us to the five main characters, Alison, Hanna, Aria, Emily, and Spencer. Alison gets the four together and forms a clique. It shows the experiences the girls have, and also describes their relationships with each other. For example, Hanna completely giving in to whatever Alison says, and Spencer’s dislike of Alison, which causes a lot of disagreements between the two. The flashback ends with Alison’s mysterious disappearance during a sleepover.
The story then jumps three years ahead, when the four girls are leading separate lives. Aria returns from Iceland, transformed into a sophisticated and classy lady. Hanna loses weight, and she and her best friend Mona Vanderwall become the most popular girls in school. Emily falls in love with a girl called Maya and kisses her, despite having a boyfriend. Spencer begins to have feelings for her sister Melissa’s boyfriend Wren.
One day, they all begin getting messages from someone called ‘A’, threatening to destroy them. This ‘A’ person knows just a little too much about the girls’ pasts, secrets that they would rather take to the grave. They believe that ‘A’ is their missing friend Alison, until one day, her dead body turns up. The final scene in the book is at Alison’s funeral, where the four receive a text from ‘A’ saying,
I’m still here. And I know everything. – A.
Released – March 2007
The second book shows the girls still being tormented by ‘A’. Now that they know it’s not Alison, they begin their hunt to find out his real identity. They suspect that it is Toby, the step-brother of their former schoolmate Jenna, who is accidentally blinded in an incident involving Alison. However, it turns out that they are wrong.
‘A’ continues to blackmail the girls. He tells Aria to tell her mother about her father’s affair with his student. When she doesn’t, ‘A’, of course, does. This shatters Aria’s family, and also her mother’s trust in her. She is thrown out of her house. He makes Hanna admit her eating problem and her bulimia to her parents. He threatens to tell everyone about Emily’s secret kiss with Maya. At the same time, Spencer gets into a relationship with her sister’s now ex-boyfriend, causing tension between the two. All the while, the girls are desperately trying to find out who ‘A’ really is so that they can put an end to his game. But can they find him before he finds them?
Released – August 2007
In the third book, Aria, who has been dating her teacher Ezra Fritz for a while, goes to live with her boyfriend Sean Ackard. But ‘A’ reveals the affair between Aria and Ezra to Sean, who then goes to the cops. Ezra is put under surveillance, and Sean asks Aria to leave.
The girls have strict instructions from ‘A’ not to go to the cops. When Emily tries to, he discloses her kiss with Maya to the whole school. Emily’s parents refuse to accept this, and order her to attend a ‘de-gaying’ program. Spencer steals her sister’s essay, which gets nominated for an award. ‘A’ tells her family about this. Meanwhile, Hanna gets into a fight with her friend Mona, on Mona’s birthday. Afterward, Hanna gets a text from ‘A’. But this time, it’s not a blocked number, it’s one she recognizes! She calls the other three and asks them to meet her. But on the way there, she meets with an accident. The book ends with the girls getting a text saying,
She knew too much. – A.
Released – May 2008
In the fourth book, Hanna is in the hospital and does not remember anything of the last two days. Emily makes a round trip to Iowa, to her conservative aunt and uncle, and back home, when her parents decide to accept her as she is. Spencer’s relationship with her sister improves, and she also becomes good friends with Mona, much to the relief of Hanna.
Aria, finally having had enough of the threats, tells a cop about ‘A’. It turns out that ‘A’ is threatening Mona as well. Aria runs into Jenna, who tells her the truth behind the entire incident that made her blind, and the real reason for Alison’s involvement in it. Another suspect in the hunt for ‘A’ emerges in the form of Spencer’s sister, Melissa. However, in the meantime, while having a chat with Aria and Emily, Hanna suddenly remembers who ‘A’ really is. She and the other girls text Spencer, asking her to get away. But that night, somebody dies in Rosewood. Is it Spencer? Was she able to get away? Or is it the real ‘A’?
Released – November 2008
Either ‘A’ didn’t die, or there is a new ‘A’ in town. But either way, the threats are still coming, and they are still real. Emily is still as confused as ever when she begins to fall for a guy named Isaac after her split with Maya. Hanna is having trouble getting along with her stepsister Kate, the daughter of the woman her father marries. Aria falls for a guy named Xavier, who meets her mom through a dating site. To save her relationship with her mother from breaking again, Aria moves in with her dad. Spencer begins having issues with her family, which lead her to believe that she may be adopted.
The girls’ next suspect as ‘A’ is Melissa’s new husband, Ian Thomas, who had been cheating on her with Alison when they were dating. The four think that he has killed Alison. However, his body is discovered one night in the woods, but when the girls get the cops to the scene, it’s not there. Can the liars find out who killed Ian, before they get themselves silenced for good?
Released – June 2009
Although the girls believe that Ian is dead, it may not actually be so. The sixth book shows the girls’ relationships with other people. Emily begins dating Isaac, who knows of her bisexuality, but accepts her for who she is. Spencer is scammed by a woman who pretends to be her birth mom and steals all her money. Hanna and Kate both fall for Mike, Aria’s brother, and Aria begins having feelings for Jason, Alison’s brother.
Emily finds out that Jason was admitted in an institution for troubled youth, and begins to suspect his involvement in his sister’s murder. There is a revelation, there is a fire, and Alison returns from the dead! Can the liars trust anyone around them? Will they be able to figure out who is really involved before it is too late?
Released – January 2010
Although the girls saw Alison, nobody is ready to trust them on this. They soon begin to gather some clues about Alison’s murder. Emily thinks that it was not Ali who really died, but a girl named Leah, who looked like her. Hanna, who is admitted to a clinic for her eating disorder, suspects that Iris, a girl who is also admitted there, may have known Ali and the truth behind who that girl really was. Aria visits a psychic, whose readings make her believe that Ali killed herself. And ‘A’ hints to Spencer that Ali may really be her half-sister.
However, in the end, they cannot solve the mystery, and Ali’s murder is pinned on the four of them. They later realize that ‘A’ has led them in different directions to find the killer, and has eventually gotten them all falsely implicated. How will the liars convince everyone that they are innocent? Or has ‘A’ finally triumphed?
Released – June 2010
This book takes the readers deeper into the mystery. Alison’s twin sister Courtney comes to town. It turns out that she has been in and out of institutions for health reasons, and that she is a part of the troubled youth institution, not her brother Jason. She begins to befriend the girls and tries to fit into Alison’s life.
One day, Courtney reveals her true identity! She is the real Alison, and Courtney had her sent off to the institution by pretending to be Ali. Hence, it’s Courtney who has died, not Alison. Happy to meet their friend, all five girls make plans to have a sleepover at Ali’s Poconos family home. While heading there, Spencer’s mom calls and tells her that Melissa is missing. When they reach the house, they find a tied up Melissa and a dead Ian inside. That is when they realize Ali’s real intentions, and all the pieces begin to fit together. A’s identity is revealed. Suddenly, the house catches fire. The girls escape, but Ali cannot. Her body is never found. Did she survive? Is the girls’ nightmare over, or did the game become just a little more dangerous?
Released – July 2011
The ninth book shows that the girls take a vacation in Jamaica. But something happens there, something awful, and they do not want anybody to know about it. The book also shows the various problems that the girls face in their lives.
An exchange student tries hard to steal Aria’s boyfriend Noel; Emily befriends and comes close to Chloe, but Chloe’s dad makes a pass on her; Hanna messes up big time during her father’s senate campaign and has to steal, lie, and falsely accuse an innocent person to get out of it; and Spencer gets her mother’s boyfriend’s son into big trouble over a small misunderstanding. ‘A’ begins texting the girls, threatening them with the Jamaica incident. Then one day, the girls turn on the news, only to realize what a horrible mistake they made. Can they salvage the situation before they get caught?
Released – December 2011
This book describes the tumultuous lives the girls are now leading, owing to all the lies they have told, and the ever-lurking danger that is ‘A’. Spencer frames her college roommate Kelsey, to get herself out of drug trouble. Emily and Kelsey meet and hit it off, to the dislike of Spencer. She also begins to suffer from hallucinations due to all the pressure she is under.
Hanna begins dating a guy whose father is also campaigning for the senate, thus making him her own father’s rival. She consequently breaks up with him. Meanwhile, Aria gets into an on-off relationship with Noel. The girls try to foil A’s plans by telling the truth about their misdoings, but it backfires. ‘A’ tries to kill Emily by pushing her off a hill, and also sends Spencer an email of the ‘Jamaica incident’. They will never find him, he says. Is he right?
Released – June 2012
In the happening town of Rosewood, where nothing is really as it seems, and secrets run deep and dangerous, the four girls have gotten themselves into serious trouble because of their unwillingness to come clean, which keeps taking them deeper and deeper into this treacherous web of lies.
‘A’ is back with full force in this novel, getting the girls into more and more dangerous situations. A woman named Gayle turns up at Rosewood, and begins hounding the girls. Soon, Hanna, Spencer, and Aria find out that she has a rather unpleasant past with Emily, which involves a payoff and deceit. They begin to think that Gayle is ‘A’, until she winds up dead. ‘A’ also sabotages Spencer’s trip to her college, Aria’s relationship with Noel, and humiliates Hanna in front of everyone. How will the liars be able to stop ‘A’ and get their lives back?
Released – December 2012
The circumstances have led the girls to believe that ‘A’ may actually be a pair, working together to destroy the girls and make them pay for what they did. One of the suspects is a girl named Naomi, who suspiciously turns up at Gayle’s funeral. She is actually the cousin of Madison, a girl who is with Hanna when she meets with an accident. She makes friends with Hanna when all the girls are on a school cruise to the Caribbean.
The second suspect is a guy named Graham, who befriends Aria. Turns out, he is closely related to the ‘Jamaica incident’. The girls’ lives are in danger once more when their ship blows up. Although they get into a lifeboat and out of the ship, they soon realize that ‘A’ has messed with the boat, stranding them in the middle of nowhere. They face danger, threats, and a near-death experience. What will the liars do this time? Can they save themselves?
Released – June 2013
The Rosewood Day prom is fast approaching, but the liars are more keen on finding ‘A’ than the perfect dress. They begin their search, more determined than before. By now, they are sure that ‘A’ is a pair, and not just one person. The first on their list is Aria’s boyfriend Noel. Though she does not want to believe it, it does seem possible. He has a history with Alison; he was in love with her and would even visit her when she was institutionalized.
Emily talks to Ali’s friend Iris, the girl who was in the clinic with Hanna, trying to get more information. At the same time, Spencer finds a blogger who may also know something about Alison. When their boat blows up in ‘Burned’, Graham survives but suffers serious burns. Hanna volunteers at the burn ward, hoping to get something out of him. But sadly, he dies before he can say anything. At the prom, Noel confesses his love for Ali, which flips Aria out, causing Noel to get a little rough with her. But he runs once the other girls see him. The next day, the four, along with the cops, go to the school shed on receiving a message from ‘A’. They find Noel tied to a chair, unconscious. They receive a text saying,
You found nothing; it wasn’t Noel. Now you are back where you started. – A
Released – December 2013
Alison Di’Laurentis is indeed alive. She is, in fact, working with someone, someone who helped her escape from her burning family home. The girls are contacted by a cop called Agent Fuji, when they are arrested for the previous charges. They finally come clean to the cop about ‘A’, and ask her to provide them and their families with protection. But ‘A’ is always a step ahead and frames them for murder. The girls are arrested and let out on bail, set to go on trial the next day.
Once out, the girls meet up and set out to find ‘A’. They spot a house next to Mr. Marin’s office, and go in to investigate. Suddenly, a man bursts in, pointing a gun at them. His real name is Nick Maxwell, but he has interacted with all the girls pretending to be different people, setting them up. Suddenly, Alison enters with a gun, and the girls realize that Ali and Nick are working together as ‘A’. They are taken to the basement by the two, who then wear gas masks and release poisonous gas into the basement. Will the liars survive? Or was this A’s last game?
Released – June 2014
The liars are living their lives, while the trial goes on. Everyone believes that things will be fine now. Nick is caught and arrested, but nobody knows that Alison was there, and nobody wants to believe it.
Hanna has received an offer for a movie about her life, and she has been presented with the lead role. Aria begins to successfully sell her paintings online, and Spencer starts an anti-bullying blog which becomes quite popular, while Emily goes to jail. However, they all know that it isn’t over yet; that their worst nightmare is just waiting to repeat itself. What will be A’s endgame? And will the liars be able to survive it?
Released – December 2014.
Aria, Emily, Spencer, and Hanna are on trial. They are being charged with the murder of Alison Di’Laurentis. It is the biggest event Rosewood has experienced to date; a scandal they will be talking about for years after. The girls know the truth, the real murderer, the puppet master of this entire scam; it’s just that nobody is ready to believe them.
They try different methods to deal with it. Aria tries to run away, but can’t handle it. Spencer finds a way to disappear, but a blast from her past puts her into a dilemma again. Hanna is ready to get married, and Emily is still behind bars. However, they have to stop Alison, turn her own game upon her. They will not be punished for something they haven’t done. But can they overthrow ‘A’? Will the pretty little liars finally win?
Pretty Little Secrets
Between Unbelievable and Wicked
Released – January 2012
This book is not a part of the main story, but is written from Alison’s point of view. It is actually a compilation of four short stories, one each about the four girls. Alison follows each of them during their Christmas vacations, spying on them and keeping a record of all their secrets.
She follows Emily to the mall, where Emily has been spying on four girls, who are pretending to be elves, and have been suspected of vandalizing the mall’s property. She follows Hanna to boot camp, and hence knows about Hanna’s feelings for her trainer. She follows Spencer all the way to Florida, where she witnesses her affair and then revenge on an older tennis player, who lies to both Spencer and her sister to go out with them. She also follows Aria and her family on their vacation, and then to Atlantic City, where Aria runs off with her old boyfriend and pretends to be older to marry him. In this way, she is able to get all their secrets and blackmail them.
Ali’s Pretty Little Lies
Prequel To the Series
Released – January 2013
This is the prequel to the entire series. It shows how Alison gets the four liars together, and how she ensures that they cannot leave her and go. It also shows how the girls become popular, and how they continue to stay under Ali’s reign. But what they don’t know is that this fifth pretty little liar is no saint, and that she has a secret that is capable of destroying her whole life if anyone finds out. Her desperation to protect it is not enough though; someone, somewhere finds out, and makes her pay for it. The book is set in the few weeks prior to Alison’s disappearance, and shows us Alison Di’Laurentis as she really was.
These were all the books in the Pretty Little Liar series, in the order that they were published. These books have become very popular, and have even been made into a TV series, which is just as famous. So, if you want your daily dose of excitement, then get the books and start reading!