In August 2008, Hale made her big screen debut in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 portraying Effie Kaligaris, the younger sister of Lena Kaligaris (played by Alexis Bledel). One month later, Hale starred in The CW series Privileged as Rose Baker, with co-stars JoAnna Garcia and Ashley Newbrough. The series is based on the book How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean and was cancelled by the network due to low ratings. Hale had auditioned for the two characters in the first two The Twilight Saga films, both were lost to Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen in Twilight and Dakota Fanning as Jane Volturi in The Twilight Saga: New Moon. In 2009, Hale appeared in two films, the comedy-drama Sorority Wars and the mystery-thriller Fear Island. In October 2009, Hale was cast as Aria Montgomery in Pretty Little Liars, based on the book series of the same name by Sara Shepard. The television series lasted seven seasons from 2010 to 2017, with Hale's performance being praised by critics. She also received a number of awards and nominations.