As Hollywood learned at least several years back with “Twilight,” books that are hits with teens are good bets to adapt into movies that will be equally big hits with teens.
Sure, there are the occasional ones that land in theaters with a relative thud – see “The Host,” “Beautiful Creatures” and “Vampire Academy.” But the success of the “Hunger Games” movies, as well as “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “Divergent,” ensure filmmakers will continue to mine young-adult lit for film fodder.
“The Hunger Games” was a smash among ’tweens, teens and adults, and its first sequel, “Catching Fire,” did even better, according to box office statistics. According to Comingsoon.net, “It set records for the biggest November opening weekend of all time ($158.1 million).”
The rest of this year brings at least eight more book-based movies to the big screen, though certainly not all – like the two Gillian Flynn adaptations – are geared to ’tweens or younger teens.
If you find yourself looking for something to do, especially this summer, try reading these books before they hit the big screen. (With the exception of “The Fault in Our Stars,” of course, because it’s already in theaters.)
‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ by John Green
This novel has been the talk of 2014, it seems. Its popularity is ever-growing, especially now that it has just been turned into a movie. Starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, this romantic film definitely has been prominent at the box office. The story follows these two cancer patients on their journey, containing both love and adventure. Hannah Relaford, a junior at Turlock High School, said the movie “was good at portraying the love and affections Augustus and Hazel had, but it didn’t emphasize the problems they had as much as the book. … Other than that, it was great.”
‘The Giver,’ by Lois Lowry
This novel is set in a futuristic time where absolutely everything is in complete harmony, according to Madonna Matta at Huffingtonpost.com. Although it may sound peaceful, the price is civilians’ free choice of destiny. A young boy named Jonas is given the task of being the new “receiver of memory,” meaning he keeps society’s past memories. However, conflict occurs when he meets the previous receiver – “the giver.” In the movie, Brenton Thwaites will play Jonas and Jeff Bridges will play the giver. Additionally, Taylor Swift and Meryl Streep will make appearances.
‘If I Stay,’ by Gayle Forman
In the movie portrayal of this novel, Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Mia, a young girl who’s been in a terrible accident. Shannon Vestal from buzzsugar.com summarizes that after the trauma, Mia struggles to remember what had happened, but she slowly tries to put all the pieces together in her mind. Her experiences and flashbacks make it an emotionally gripping story.
‘Dark Places,’ by Gillian Flynn
This thriller follows the life of Libby Day, whose mother and sisters were murdered at the family’s farmhouse when she was only 7. “Her testimony sent her older brother, Ben, to prison for life, and 25 years later, Libby decides to meet with the Kill Club, a group of crime enthusiasts who investigate the case and force her to rethink what really happened,” Shannon Vestal from buzzsugar.com summarizes. The cast includes as Libby, along with appearances from Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks and Chloë Grace Moretz.
‘The Maze Runner,’ by James Dashner
This intense sci-fi book is told from the point of view of Thomas, who wakes up in a lift, with a blank memory. He navigates a fantasy world called the Glade, a large space surrounded by tall, stone walls, with a group of boys. With another boy being delivered every 30 days, they must solve the mystery of the maze they’re in while dodging monsters and other danger, describes Arielle Calderon at buzzfeed.com. In its movie counterpart, Dylan O’Brien of MTV’s “Teen Wolf” plays Thomas.
‘Gone Girl,’ by Gillian Flynn
If you like twists in your stories, “Gone Girl” may be for you. This intense, thrilling novel features two perspectives: one from a husband whose wife suddenly goes missing and the other from the missing wife herself. In its movie adaptation, these two characters, Nick and Amy, will be played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Ashtyn Nichols, a junior at Turlock High School, describes “Gone Girl” as an interesting read. “The novel is certainly a thriller, which is not my usual genre. ‘Gone Girl’ provided enough plot twists to last my entire lifetime.”
‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,’ by Judith Viorst
This classic 1972 children’s book finally is getting its own time on the big screen! As the title says, Alexander experiences multiple events that add up to his worst day ever. This live-action adaptation will star Steve Carell and Bella Thorne. Ashtyn Nichols read this book for the first time in second grade. “I found the book really memorable,” she said. “It was relatable and charming. As far as a movie is concerned, I can’t picture how one would make a film out of a book with just a couple hundred words – but that’s Hollywood’s job. … Hopefully, this childhood classic delivers.”
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,’ by Suzanne Collins
In this third novel of the “Hunger Games” series, Katniss Everdeen begins to symbolize the mass rebellion that fights against the corrupt Capital while in the previously “nonexistent” District 13. Actors including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson will continue to portray their characters in the adaptation of the novel.