Warning: Spoilers for The Perfectionists book series by Sara Shepard ahead.
The highly-anticipated Pretty Little Liars spin-off The Perfectionists is headed to Freeform, with brand-new characters, drama, and, of course, secrets. If you’re the kind of person who prefers to know some of these secrets in advance, you may think you can get ahead by reading the book upon which the show is based. But just how similar is Sara Shepard’s duology The Perfectionists to the upcoming spin-off? Sorry, but you probably won’t glean too many details from reading these novels.
Sara Shepard’s The Perfectionists is about a group of high school girls (the titular “perfectionists”) who each attempt to excel in their specific craft. They think they have nothing in common — until they’re thrown together for a group project and learn they have a common enemy in Nolan Hotchkiss. They joke about the best way to kill him...and then, that’s exactly how he dies. Gulp. The drama continues in The Good Girls, which concludes the twisted mystery.
The general premise of the show is similar to the book, albeit with some important twists. For one thing, while there are five Perfectionists in the books (all women), there are only three here: Ava (Sofia Carson), Caitlin (Sydney Park), and Dylan (Eli Brown). Instead of high school, the action takes place at Beacon Heights University.
As for Nolan, he’s played by Chris Mason and, yes, is as much of a jerk as in the books. He’s more than just a generic rich kid with an attitude problem, though: In the show, he’s also the son of the wealthy founders of Hotchkiss Industries, a tech corporation with deep ties to BHU. In the trailer, Nolan (or, well, someone who certainly looks a lot like Nolan) is found impaled on a fence.
While we don’t know exactly how the show will diverge from the books, there is one big change that seems inevitable: the final twist. (For the record, I’m about to drop that spoiler here, so if you want to be surprised, stop reading now.)
In the Perfectionists book series, two of the main characters are revealed to be the same person. Parker, whom book readers believed to be just another one of the Perfectionists, is actually the alternate personality of Julie, Parker’s best friend. Parker was a real person, but died at the hands of her abusive father. Julie felt so guilty over Parker’s death (Julie denied Parker’s request to sleepover at her house that night) that she created another persona to cope. Julie was the murderer all along, though did not remember any of it because she committed the crime as Parker.
The other big change that we know will be different from the books is the addition of Pretty Little Liars TV characters Mona (Janel Parrish) and Alison (Sasha Pieterse). Mona and Ali are now working at BHU alongside the titular Perfectionists — and when these two get together, we know there will be drama.
If you're in the mood to stretch your sleuthing muscle, definitely pick up a copy of Shepard's The Perfectionists. Just know you're in for a whole new journey when the PLL spin-off drops on Freeform March 20.