When I started watching the TV show, I found that the Pretty Little Liars characters were really relatable. I got so addicted to the show that to fill in the gaps between seasons, I started reading the books as well! While the show and the books are equally as good, they are shockingly different in terms of the plot and characters. So for those of you who are considering reading the books after watching the show, keep in mind how these Pretty Little Liars characters differ between the show and the books!
Of all the Pretty Little Liars characters, the character of Aria seems to be the most consistent between the books and the show. Slight nuisances exist (such that Aria is described as being really tall in the book, but is rather short in the show), but in regards to personality and mishaps, both seem to be rather similar to each other. One of the main differences in the books is that when Aria's parents get divorced (after her father cheats on her mother with a student), Aria's father actually winds up marrying his student, Meredith. Aria even lives with her father and Meredith for a while, which is something that never occurs in the show.
Spencer Hastings is an overachiever in both the books and the show. One of the main differences, however, is that she gets in much more trouble in the books for stealing her sister's Economics paper and turning it in as her own, than she does in the show. In the books, Spencer gets nominated for a Golden Orchid Award for the paper, but gets in a ton of trouble when she admits the paper was not her own. She almost gets expelled from school, and takes summer classes at UPenn to help her college transcript look better. Spencer gets involved in drugs during this summer, and when on the brink of being caught, she places the blame on her friend Kelsey. Unfortunately, this comes back to haunt her. Too bad they left this drama out of the show!
Out of the four best friends, Emily seems to have the most differences between the show and books. In the books, Emily is said to have red hair, and two sisters, while in the show she is an only child with dark hair. Emily also struggles with her sexual identity in the books, but even after declaring that she is gay, she begins dating a guy (and she again questions her identity). During the time she is dating this guy, Emily becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. This would never happen in the show, since once Emily discovers she is gay, she has a string of relationships, all with girls.
The character of Hannah in the books is very similar to Hannah in the show. They both used to be somewhat chubby and unpopular, but blossom in high school. The biggest difference between these two characters is that Hannah in the show is fairly exclusive with Caleb (who is not even a character in the books), while Hannah in the books dates many different guys including Lucas and Aria's brother, Mike. Some other minor details include the fact that Hannah is very close to her dog, Dot, in the books and she is described as a brunette, whereas Hannah does not have a dog in the show and is very clearly blonde.
We all know what a cute couple Spencer and Toby make in the show, but this would never happen in the books, since Toby actually dies very early on! Very little is mentioned about Toby in the books, which is quite shocking since he is such a major character in the show. (I don't know about you, but I am glad they kept him in the show -- he is so hot!)
If you've been keeping up with the shows, you know that Mona Vanderwaal is the original A. In the show, she gets thrown into Radley (the mental hospital) after revealing her identity, but in the books Mona actually dies after falling off a cliff the night she reveals her identity. (Crazy, huh?) After getting out of Radley (in the show), however, Mona goes on to live her life and even winds up dating Aria's little brother!
Through the TV series, we know that Mr. Hastings cheats on Mrs. Hastings with Mrs. Dilaurentis (Ali's mom), and thus Spencer and Ali are half-sisters. In the TV series, Mrs. Hastings chooses to forgive Mr. Hastings, but in the books, Mr. Hastings is not so lucky. As soon as Mrs. Hastings finds out about the affair (which is many years later), she divorces Mr. Hastings and goes on to date a wealthy man with two children of his own. They move in together and Mrs. Hastings continues on with her life. (Good for her!)