Adapting a book into a movie is just another way to tell the same story. While I’m not above a little book snobbery -the book is almost always better – that doesn’t mean I don’t love watching the movie, too. While some die-hard book fans might disagree, I always look forward to a film adaptation. Who will they cast? What will they change? Will I love it? Will I hate it? Will I get popcorn or candy? Only time will tell.
YA book adaptations are all the rage in Hollywood these days. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to read the book ahead of time, so I’ve compiled a short list of the upcoming adaptations I’m most looking forward to:
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
This gem is already in theaters. It stars Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller as Aimee and Sutter, two teens who start an unlikely romance. Aimee is shy and flies under the radar. Sutter is popular, outgoing, and a functioning alcoholic. Full disclosure: I wasn’t over the moon about this book and I had a hard time relating to Sutter, but I really think the subtle nuances of their budding relationship will translate better on screen. It doesn’t hurt that this film, which premiered at Sundance, is racking up glowing reviews.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Shailene Woodley is back at it again, this time playing Hazel, a young girl who has been battling cancer since she was 13. While at a cancer support group Hazel meets a boy named Augustus and they quickly form a friendship, and that friendship quickly evolves into something more. I don’t want to say too much, but this book was exceptional. As the first of John Green’s novels to be adapted for film, a legion of loyal fans will have a lot to say about this one, no matter how it turns out.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
This upcoming adaptation of the popular Veronica Roth novel stars, wait for it, Shailene Woodley. Yes, again. Divergent, the first in a triology, is billed as a Hunger Games read-a-like. While they are both dystopias, and feature a strong female lead, the stories are quite different. I have a feeling that Roth’s story can hold its own on the silver screen, and unlike some recent YA film flops (City of Bones, anyone?) this film has some serious star power behind it: Kate Winslet will star as the big bad in this one. Isn’t that alone worth shelling out ten bucks?
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
This adaptation is still in its early stages. After being shopped around for awhile, it seems to have found a home at MGM and a lead actress in the young, but capable Chloe Grace Moretz. Moretz will play Mia, a 17 year old girl who finds herself in a coma after she and her family are in a serious car crash. With friends and her loving boyfriend Adam tethering her to life, Mia must choose whether to wake up or let go. Told through series of flashbacks, I think this novel will translate really well on screen. While in the book we only get to know characters though Mia’s memories, in the movie we’ll see characters own their own scenes.
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
This series has it all – great female characters, forbidden romance, strong friendships, and a fairly fresh plot. While the story suffers from predictability at times, it’s an overall fun and juicy read. Its film adaptation is slated for release next Valentine’s Day, and Mark Waters, the genius behind Mean Girls, is back in the directors chair to give us what I’m sure will be a smart and satirical ride. This movie is also a family affair with Mark’s brother, Daniel Walters, screenwriting the adaptation. Daniel is also the writer behind the 80’s cult classic Heathers which is just another indication of the places this adaptation might go. I was really surprised by the trailer, but I will reserve my judgement for now. We wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so let’s not judge a movie by its trailer!
Lastly, a few parting words of wisdom: always remember that a bad movie can’t actually ruin a good book. While you may feel that a beloved story and characters are being done a disservice when Hollywood comes a-calling, a movie can’t ever really compare with a book. I think Stephen King said it best:
“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.”