7 Kick-Butt YA Books That Inspired Freeform TV Shows

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By this point, most of us know that Pretty Little Liars, starring Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell and Ashley Benson, was based on a book series written by Sara Shepard and by now a lot of us have read the books, too.

But actually there are so many YA novels that inspired Freeform television series that you didn’t even know about (especially when they change the name of the TV show to something totally diff than the book title)! Books are a great place to start from when it comes to creating a TV show because a lot of the times when turning a novel (or series) into a movie, the screenwriter has to cut a lot out (like most of Voldemort’s backstory in Harry Potter). On small-screen programs, not only can the writer keep every detail that they like, but they can also add interesting new dimensions and dynamics to the characters and the plot lines.

Freeform is a super-popular network with a bunch of great shows that we love, so a lot of these TV programs you’ll recognize, but how many of the OG books have you read? Keep reading to find out:


The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

TV Show: Shadowhunters (2016 - )

The Mortal Instruments was initially intended to be a film franchise in line with other popular YA movie series this decade, like The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games. However, when the first movie, called The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, starring Lily Collins as Clary Fray, didn't perform as well as expected, the film sequel got the axe.

Luckily, people still believed in the story of The Mortal Instruments and decided to turn it into a TV show for Freeform.

Unlike the flick, the television series has been really successful and has attracted a lot of viewers. Although the show has a different cast than the big-screen adaptation, it features new fan favorites, like Kat McNamara, Dom Sherwood and Matt Daddario.

Photo: Freeform

Famous in Love by Rebecca Sterle

TV Show: Famous in Love (Coming April 2017!)

Disney Channel star Bella Thorne is set to star on this upcoming TV adaptation on Freeform. Tyler Posey's GF will play a college student who unexpectedly gets cast in the movie adaptation of a mega-popular book series (LOL!) and her world gets flipped upside down.

The author, Rebecca, worked with I. Marlene King (you probably know her as the creator of PLL) to transform the book for the network. Neither writer has spoken about how far they'll stray from the book's plot line, but you still have a couple of months to pick up the YA favorite from the bookstore before the show comes out — then you can compare yourself!

Photo: Snapchat (@BellaThorne)

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

TV Show: Pretty Little Liars (2010 - )

This show is a huge hit and Freeform's longest-running original series. The story of Hanna, Spencer, Aria and Emily is one that fans cannot seem to get enough of. It's going on to Season 7 and has 16 books in the series with three companion novels! Only the first six books were written prior to the beginning of the series — the other thirteen were written after I. Marlene King started to develop the books for the small screen.

Photo: Freeform

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

TV Show: The Lying Game (2011 - 2013)

Sara Shepard did it again when she created another interesting and dramatic written story that translated great onto TV. There were six books written by Sara, but, unfortunately, the show got canceled after just two seasons and left things off with a MAJOR cliffhanger. So that sucked. There is also one major difference between The Lying Game as a book series versus its TV remake: The main character, Sutton Mercer, is dead in the books, but very much alive on the TV version (which is why actress Alexandra Chando had to play multiple characters on the same program!).

Photo: Freeform

The Nine Lives of Chloe King by Liz Braswell

TV Show: The Nine Lives of Chloe King (2011 - 2011)

Liz's book was picked up by Freeform in 2011, but, unfortunately, only lasted a few episodes before it got nixed. There were three books that followed Chloe as she explored her cat-like superpowers and tried to solve the mystery of her missing father. While its debut was pretty popular, attracting around two million viewers, the show had decreased in popularity after just a few episodes, which explains its cancellation.

Photo: Freeform

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson

TV Show: Recovery Road (2016 - )

This book-turned-TV-show is a little bit more serious than the others on this list and follows a young woman named Maddie Graham, who goes to a rehab facility to get over a drug and alcohol addiction. She winds up meeting another person in recovery with whom she begins a romantic relationship. In the book, Maddie's love interest, Stewart, is not as committed to his sobriety as her TV love interest, Wes Stewart, is. While there is a lot of TV documentation about people struggling with drug addiction, this Freeform show has a much more optimistic take on the whole situation.

Photo: Freeform

Huge by Sasha Paley

TV Show: Huge (2010 - 2010)

The same creator of popular '90s teen show My So-Called Life, Winnie Holzman, adapted this YA novel for the small screen with her daughter, Savannah Dooley. Nikki Blonsky from Hairspray brought Sasha's main character, Willamena "Will" Rader, to life on the show about a young woman who goes to a weight-loss camp for the summer. Despite thinking that "fat camp" is for people who hate their bodies, the book and TV show use Will's perspective to explore some serious issues facing teens, including eating disorders, body image and mental health.

Photo: Freeform

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