5 Young Adult Novels Adapted Successfully into Movies or TV Shows
Lisa Freeman | The Children’s Book Review | May 9, 2017
Author Lisa Freeman’s Favorite YA Books That Have Been Made into Movies or TV Shows
There’s no escaping a well-written book. And having been an actor for many years, I enjoy watching a character be translated from the written page to the screen. I’m always curious to see how closely the original text will be honored, and find the movies that change very little of the author’s version are usually the most successful. I don’t want my vision of a book’s world distorted by a cinematic interpretation but, when done correctly, it can enhance and deepen my love for the story. Here are a few examples of successful adaptations that I’ve enjoyed:
Written by Jay Asher
I love 13 Reasons Why. I think Jay Asher is an amazing author, but I am the kind of reader who has trouble with multiple first-person narrators in fiction. Maybe that’s why I enjoy Netflix’s recent rendition of the book so much. (Don’t worry, no spoilers here.) What makes the show so irresistible is that one main character tells the entire story. It’s almost as if he’s talking directly to the viewer. And even though I’d read the novel, I felt like I was hearing Hannah’s secrets for the first time.
Ages 12 and up | Publisher: Razorbill | June 14, 2011 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-1595141880
Written by Stephen Chbosky
Stephen Chbosky’s book is written in a series of letters instead of chapters, which set me free as an author who loves to write in fragments. I think his book was a frontrunner for so many firsts in YA. He and Jay Asher both write about some of the intense hardships and struggles of being a teenager. Two of the things that make the film version spark are the amazing actors and Stephen Chbosky’s sensitive direction.
Ages 14 and up | Publisher: MTV Books | Aug. 14, 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-1451696196
Written by Orson Scott Card
When I read Ender’s Game, the pace and energy of the dialogue made it a real page-turner. This book by Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite YA novels turned into a movie. The film version is visually extraordinary and an example of fantasy at its best, but the special effects served to enhance rather than diminish my imagination of the story, and deepened my emotional response.
Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Tor Teen | 2014 (3 edition) | ISBN-13: 978-0765378484
Written by Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins’ book is written and presented in what is now considered classic YA form. It’s accessible and something a reader wants to devour in one sitting. What works for me so well in its translation to film is the way it takes on a more mature and all-encompassing story that young and old can instantly relate to. What hasn’t been said about The Hunger Games? Except—Jennifer Lawrence! Jennifer Lawrence! Jennifer Lawrence!
Ages 12-17 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | 2008 | ISBN-13: 978-0439023481
Written by Ransom Riggs
Ransom Riggs, in my humble opinion, blew the cork off of YA literature with his mixed genre series about time travel and love. The bizarre and never-ceasing-to-amaze photography comes to life in Tim Burton’s interpretation of the peculiar. I am so looking forward to reading the new books in the series and hopefully seeing more films, too.
Ages 12-17 | Publisher: Quirk Books | 2013 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-1594746031
Written by Lisa Freeman
Publisher’s Synopsis: The year is 1973, and Nani is firmly established as one of the top girls in the State Beach lineup. She’s looking forward to a long, relaxing summer of days spent in the sun with her surfer boyfriend, and to secret nights with Rox, the lineup’s queen supreme.
But when surf god Nigel breaks her heart, and Rox reveals a secret that tears their friendship—and the lineup—apart, Nani is left to pick up the pieces. If she can’t recruit new Honey Girls to the lineup, the friends will lose their reputation as the beach’s top babes.
With the summer spiraling out of control, Nani starts to question everything she’s always believed about how to rule the beach. Maybe it’s time to leave the rules behind, starting with the most important one:
Girls don’t surf.
Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Sky Pony Press | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1510711679
LISA FREEMAN is the author of RIPTIDE SUMMER (May 16, 2017; Sky Pony Press) and HONEY GIRL (2015; Sky Pony Press) and resides in Santa Monica, California, only miles down the road from State Beach, where HONEY GIRL and RIPTIDE SUMMER take place. Lisa grew up amidst the Hollywood scene and emerged as an actress in such films as Back to the Future, Back to the Future II and Mr. Mom. It was here that her love for storytelling was born. After receiving her MFA and Pedagogy in the Art of Writing degrees from Antioch University, Lisa’s career as an educator and author flourished. On a typical afternoon, you’ll find her writing in her studio under the shade of a 100-year-old pepper tree, tea in hand and three small dogs at her feet. You can visit her at lisa-freeman.com.
This article, 5 Young Adult Novels Adapted Successfully into Movies or TV Shows, was written by Lisa Freeman, the author of “Riptide Summer.” Discover more article and books by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Best YA, Brigid Kemmerer, and Young Adult Fiction.
We may receive a small commission from purchases made via the links on this page. If you discover a book or product of interest on this page and use the links provided to make a purchase, you will help support our mission to 'Grow Readers.' Your support means we can keep delivering quality content that's available to all. Thank you!