Many popular young adult fiction novels and series have been adapted into movies we all know and love. The growth of YA fiction as a place for movie inspiration continues in an age where teen books continue to inspire readers of all ages.
Many keen readers will know how uniquely special it is to see the written word transformed on-screen. A film adaptation can give the book new life, or illuminate aspects of the story that even the author might not have fully conveyed. That’s why it can be a special experience to read it before you see it.
But of course, you should always read the book first, not the other way around! That in mind, here’s a run-down of a few favourites that you need to get reading.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Unless you've been living under a rock, chances are you've seen the Netflix film starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, but did you know it all began with a book by Jenny Han? The story follows romance-novel buff Lara Jean Covey, who starts her junior year content to spend lunch in the library reading. Her love life goes from imaginary to out of control when her secret box of love letters is unexpectedly delivered to the various boys she’s had crushes on throughout her life. To avoid confronting them, Lara Jean fakes a relationship with one of them — but starts to realize that she may not be pretending.
To all the Boys I’ve loved before put Jenny Han on the map. If you haven’t read the book; you should, it is single-handedly reviving the romantic-comedy genre. The best thing is, it doesn’t just stop at one book. Get your fix and read the entire To All The Boys series.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel Ready Player One, combines America’s obsession with pop cultural references and the unstoppable push of technology. These themes form into a single vivid story, centred around an unlikely young hero on an action-packed quest for a digital Easter egg in a dystopian future.
The movie version of the film, was helmed by no less than Steven Spielberg. Both Cline’s book and Spielberg’s film are mission-driven stories mostly set in the wild world of the OASIS. Although there are some departures from the book, overall, the film received rave reviews.
The Princess Bride By William Goldman
It might surprise you to know that The Princess Bride was initially a novel. It combines elements of comedy, adventure, fantasy, drama and fairy tale following the sweet romance of Westley and Buttercup. The film was only a modest box office success. With time, the postmodern fairy tale has become a cult classic that pretty much everyone adores more than life itself. It’s true to say the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you'll find in the pages of the book.
- Read the book
- Borrow the eBook
- Borrow The Princess Bride on DVD or better yet, watch this magnificent star studded Princess Bride ‘remake’
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
This international bestseller was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film about a young girl in the Nazi era who lives with her adoptive German family, who begins sharing books with a Jewish refugee.
The screenwriters adapted Zusak’s The Book Thief to create a film that is triumphant, tragic and visually stunning. Of course movies are never exactly like the book, however this one feels very true to Zusak’s extraordinary vision. Read the book to give you an up-close and personal view of the worst, and best, of humanity.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower By Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a short, tidy novel, with protagonist Charlie narrating the story through letters to an unnamed friend. In the film adaptation Charlie’s tale is opened up to his viewers, showing him from more of an outside perspective while still maintaining the integrity of the letter-writing format.
The movie came out in 2012 and was directed by the author, Stephen Chbosky. A modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up and all the love, loss and fear it can bring.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games film series is easily one of the most successful and acclaimed book to movie adaptations. Author Suzanne Collins was on board for writing the screenplays so there wasn't much room for error!
Witness Katniss Everdeen’s amazing journey as she transforms from an underdog to a fierce heroine ready to fight for her life, her family, and humanity. Many people consider the books equal to the movie. They both have their respective advantages. But, if you haven’t yet done so, read and relish the books. This series will be relevant for a long time to come.
- Read the books
- Watch the DVDs
- Continue your Hunger Games journey and check out the prequel to the series – The ballad of Songbird and Snakes
- Discover why dystopian literature is so popular on Kanopy with author Suzanne Collins.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
There are some movies that you just know are going to be an emotional experience you'll never forget. The book-to-movie adaptation of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, is exactly that kind of movie. It takes its audience on a thought-provoking journey that tackles race, police brutality and black identity. Starr Carter narrates her story as she deals with the aftermath of witnessing her friend Khalil's death at the hands of the police and the repercussions it has on the lives around her.
While the film is a faithful telling of the novel, there are some significant changes and omissions too. Author Angie Thomas thinks of the book and movie as fraternal twins. You be the judge.
Novels allow us to enjoy the things that would be boring on the silver screen, while cinematography and great acting make up for the cuts that were obviously made for the time and pacing of the film.
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