No Pretty Little Liars villain comes without a tragic backstory. Now, we're getting a sneak peek into how PLL's Original A came to be, straight from the first person to wear that black hoodie's mouth.
If there's one character I'm thrilled will score second life on the potential Pretty Little Liars' spin-off, it's Janel Parrish's Mona Vanderwaal. Sure, Mona may have spent several seasons of the show as A, but when she finally let go of her years-long vendetta against the Liars, she became the squad's awesome ally. Sadly, Sara Shepard's PLL book series had Mona meet a very sad fate: Shortly after being unmasked as A, Mona plunged to her death off a cliff, without earning even the slightest redemption.
Mona may be resting in peace in Shepard's book series, but that doesn't mean we can't still learn how things went down from Mona's POV. According to Teen Vogue, Shepard — who also penned the book the PLL spin-off will be based on, The Perfectionists, as well as The Heiresses, an ABC pilot in which Shay Mitchell has been cast — has released a new, Mona-centric short story that does a deep dive into why she became A in the first place.
The truth? It's a total bummer.
It's Not Easy Being "A" is told from Mona's perspective, and appears in the paperback copy of Shepard's book The Amateurs. (You may have seen a copy of The Amateurs on sale at The Brew in the final season of PLL.) In the excerpt available on Teen Vogue's site, Mona, who was tormented by popular girl Alison for years, reveals that she actually idolized the Liars at first — she didn't initially set out to ruin their lives as an omnipresent villain. Instead, she just wanted to be their friend, as the TV show Mona struggled to do for seven seasons of the Freeform series.
Sadly, "book Mona" was unable to connect with Spencer, Aria, and Emily. They rejected her just as they always had, even though, by this point Alison had disappeared. Mona was able to become friends with Hanna, but she never quite forgave her for standing by while Alison made Mona's life a living hell. Unable to shake off the pain of Alison's bullying, Mona became A — and the rest is history.
You can read the excerpt at Teen Vogue, but be warned: You may find yourself with a little more sympathy for the devil in the black hoodie if you do.