What young adult novel should Hollywood adapt next?

Catcher-Blue-Bloods-Artemis-FowlTalk about a hot read: Yesterday, Variety reported that Mandalay Pictures had snagged the much-coveted rights to Sophie Jordan’s young adult novel Firelight, a book that has been picking up sizzle ever since its release…on Sept. 7. Yes, as in Sept. 7, 2010, just two weeks ago.

Clearly, Hollywood has its eyes fixed on the young adult world, with every studio clamoring to release the next Twilight. (Or, as we will likely be saying soon, the next Hunger Games.) But while there’s certainly demand for a Firelight film — the book, about two teenage descendants of dragons, has been buzz-y since May’s Book Expo America — it’s a shame there’s so much focus on the new releases, especially when you consider how many untapped YA novels from the past are just begging to be adapted for the big screen. So, PopWatchers, we ask you: What young adult novel should Hollywood adapt next?

There are the obvious choices: The Catcher in the Rye — which has famously never made it to theaters, despite interest from the likes of Jack Nicholson and John Cusack — and A Wrinkle in Time, which was made into a TV movie, but come on — fantastical world-hopping awesomeness belongs on the big screen. (In 3-D, no less!) But where is Hollywood’s take on, say, Will Hobbs’ Downriver, Megan McCafferty’s Sloppy Firsts, Christopher Collier’s My Brother Sam Is Dead, Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, and Go Ask Alice (and no, that ABC TV movie doesn’t count)? And while Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School seems more fitted for the small screen (there’s already an animated TV series and movie, but surely Todd and the gang deserve live action), who wouldn’t want an adaptation of Artemis Fowl, which has been at an impasse since the WGA strike, Lois Lowry’s The Giver — which has a director in David Yates attached, but doesn’t appear to be making any more movement — or Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, which has remained in limbo since rights were grabbed in 2006? And, personally, I’d be shocked if Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods went ignored for much longer.

Of course, there are certain YA books whose stories should remain on the page. Though The Westing Game ranks in my personal top 5 book list, young adult or otherwise, I can’t imagine anyone could carry the unabashed fun and quirky flavor of Ellen Raskin’s mystery classic into theaters. (And don’t even try to convince me to watch the 1997 TV movie. Blasphemy, I tells ya!) And though both Mel Stuart and Tim Burton have proved they could adapt Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with great success (even if Roald Dahl famously hated the 1971 version), Dahl’s The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar belongs as far away from overpriced candy and popcorn as possible. (I can’t help wondering, however, what Burton would do with The BFG.)

So what say you, PopWatchers? Are you wondering why Hollywood has no love for Choose Your Own Adventure? Should Hollywood turn Betsy Haynes’ The Fabulous Five into a Mean Girls-esque teen comedy and make Taffy Sinclair’s name synonymous with Regina George’s? Do you want to see a film version of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, which was supposed to be adapted by Danny DeVito, but has been delayed by a lawsuit? And Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl? (Abigail Breslin isn’t getting any younger, Hollywood!) Are you, like me, hoping Diablo Cody’s Sweet Valley High adaptation makes it to theaters, even if news of the film has screeched to a halt? And isn’t it almost unfathomable that Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret hasn’t scored an adaptation? Let’s play, PopWatchers!

Comments (610 total) Add your comment
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  • Ktct

    The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. James Bond for kids.

    • Jose

      The first film came out years ago.

      • Ktct

        Thanks- I guess my kids came to the series late.

      • Jennifer

        It was British made though, and only went straight to DVD in America. I would love to see Alex Pettyfer (who played Alex) or some one else start the series up as a series in America.

      • fritanga

        Pettyfer is waaay to old to play Rider now, and anyway, the UK adaptation was very dull – that’s why it went straight to DVD here.

      • best pick

        This is not a young novel-but I will say it anyways: Olive Kitteridge.

      • EmotionsBooks

        Well actually young people can read Olive Kitteridge. It’s not a hard book to read, it’s just not a teen book-it’s a mature adult book.

      • miki

        it was’nt a good film.
        What about the septimus series? they would make faboulos movies!

    • kathy thomas

      They should make a movie of Sara Dessens “Just Listen”, good book, good message.

      • Liz

        Any Sara Dessen book!! Swoon!!!

      • hiii

        Sara reddening is the best I’ve read many of her books another good book to be turned into a movie is the shiver series by Maggie stiefvater there’s three and I love them

      • Holly

        Why did all three of you call her Sara? Her name is Sarah.

  • KVL

    I always enjoyed the books where young women defy the standardized expectations of others such as The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

    • Josie

      I would love to see Witch of Blackbird Pond, or any Tamora Pierce books (the Alanna series for sure). There are some great stories in YA – which is why I still read them in my twenties.

      • Emily

        Yes! Definitely need some Tamora Pierce on the big screen. And I’m still reading YA in my twenties too :)

      • Mocha

        I’m kind of surprised that the Alanna series hasn’t already been made into a movie (or movies); I think they’d translate very well onto the big screen. Same with the Artemis Fowl books.

      • Francis

        Yeah, it is surprising, considering how popular that series is/was. Well, relatively popular, back in my day (like, barely a decade ago), when 13 year old girls who read fantasy books were considered nerdy bookworms.

      • E

        Ooooh, The Witch of Blackbird Pond! Great book, great idea.

      • I loved The Blackbird Pond!

        In line with young women defying expectations, THE TRUE CONFESSIONS of CHARLOTTE DOYLE was amazing. I would love to see a snobby little rich girl set sail for America, learn her finances are in disarray once she’s on open water, and then find herself forced to perform manual labor to pay for the rest of her journey. I loved that a.) her baby-soft hands become worn with bleeding callouses by the end of the novel – b.) she contracts lice and is forced to cut her beautiful goldy locks with a blade – and c.) she becomes a human by the end of the novel. THAT was a good book. The ship battling the storm with the b-i-t-c-h in the crow’s nest was a great image.

      • I loved The Blackbird Pond!

        I just Googled ‘The True Confessions’… apparently it’s been a long time since I read that one (I guess I thought the main character was less “naive” and more of a b-i-t-c-h back in the 7th grade). How about ‘ISLAND of the BLUE DOLPHINS’.

      • Megan

        Tamora Pierce all the way!!!

      • Ellie

        @ Josie, the books in the Alanna series were my all-time favorite YA reading. Those and the Lois Duncan books, one of which Hollywood has already ruined, so I’m hesitant to recommend Locked in Time or one of the others, although they could be great(if not also made into stupid slasher films!!).

      • Lee

        I vote for the Alanna series as well. I love those books growing up and always thought they would make a great movie or series.

      • Melissa

        Definitely the Alanna books. Those are ones that I think even if Hollywood tried to cram stuff together, they’d still end up with a good film.
        On some of the others mentioned though, I don’t think I’d want to see “Catcher in the Rye” as a movie. I know too many people who have gained different insight from the book. A movie would cheapen the book’s impact.
        A Wrinkle in Time would be the first movie I’d be excited about seeing in 3D.
        Can we have a Mortal Instruments movie, now? Please!
        What about Patricia Wrede’s “Dealing with Dragons”? Good stuff.
        “Uglies” debatable. If done right, excellent. If done wrong, Eragon. (But worse because Uglies is actually a good book to start from)

      • Mona

        If they butchered the Alanna series I’d be out for blood… casting would have to be perfect! I adored all of Tamora Pierce’s books as a teenager… still waiting for more now!

      • Tan

        Oh! My! Goodness! Yes! Lois Duncan! I read my first LD book when i was 13/14 Locked in Time. Loved it. Love Her.

        I’m not pushing Alanna and Co. aside It’s just that I’ve always to see a true blue LD Book2Movie that didn’t become a Scream copycat.

        Back to Alanna. I don’t know about you guys but the BellaEdwardJacob triangle of love is nothing compared to the AlannaGeorgeJohnathan one.

      • Loramir

        I love the Alanna books, but my problem with them is that the first one is perfect for 10-11 year old girls…but by the fourth one she’s slept with three different guys.

        I know my cousins (8 and 13, and pretty sheltered) would love the first couple, but they’d definitely want to read the rest and I don’t think their parents would approve (especially for the 8 year old, obviously, and she reads most of what her sister reads). I guess that could be sidestepped somewhat in a movie, though.

    • melissa

      Whoa, I remember that book! That was the book that everyone made fun of in fifth grade, but it turned out to not even be that bad.

      Hollywood should definitely adapt any book by John Green – Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, or Paper Towns. I think the rights have been bought for some of them, but nothing’s really happened with them yet. Definitely some of the funniest and most interesting young adult books I’ve ever read.

      And YES, Uglies!! I love that series. I haven’t read those books in several years, but I still remember them being awesome.

      • east28

        JOHN GREEN FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Francis

        Yeah, the Uglies series…It’s like everyone’s forgotten (in like 3 years) that the popularity of fantasy/sci-fi books for (female) YA readers was actually kind of a build up-that actually it took a few years for Twilight to be popular, and series like Uglies, and before that, Tamora Pierce, were really popular, and all cause bookstores started putting up displays of “Read this While You’re Waiting for Harry Potter and The…” between every HP book. And some of those other series were pretty good. Though they couldn’t make the Uglies series into movies without it costing way more then anyone probably willing to spend right now.

      • katie

        THAT WOULD be fantastic.

      • Cin Salvatore

        That’s exactly who I was going to say. I think John Green’s stories could be this generations John Hughes films. I absolutely think both Paper Towns & Looking for Alaska would be fantastic on the screen.

      • ally c

        YESSS! Definitely need to make Paper Towns. One of the best and funniest books I’ve ever read.

    • Susan

      I was going to suggest this! I’m so glad other people think so.

      • Susan

        By this, I meant the Witch of Blackbird Pond. I apparently replied to the wrong post. It has everything you need to make a great film; drama, conflicts of the heart, conflicts of religion… conflicts aplenty. It also boats a great cast of characters that are well fleshed out and unlike some other popular YA novels of today (cough) Twilight (cough) we actually get to see the characters change and grow.

    • Dee

      Yes to this. The Witch of Blackbird Pond was a favorite of my youth – and something that I will dig out from storage obscurity every couple of years to read now that I am an adult. I would also vote for Island of the Blue Dolphins.
      Also yes for Hatchet. And My Side of the Mountain – FANTASTIC book with loads of possibilities.

      • jules

        Hatchet is already a movie, under a different title…”A Cry in the Wild”..

    • Cris

      Hush,hush by becca Fitzpatrick and the immortal instruments series by cassandra Clare (city of bones, city of glass, city of ash) and some of Sarah dessens books mostly this lullaby.

  • Bartman

    Man, I’ve wanted a movie version of “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” since I was 9 years old!!!

    • MissVampireDiaries

      Charlotte Doyle is coming out next year.

      • anonymous

        Seriously? Nice! (Well, I hope.)

    • rj631

      I LOVED that book as a kid. I’ve thought for a long time that it would make a great movie and didn’t realize they were actually doing it.

  • kate

    I know there are already talks of Perks of Being a Wallflower getting made but i really hope it does. However I don’t like the cast that has been in talks for it.

    • bill

      That was my thought exactly when I was reading this article! The book is fantastic and could be adapted beautifully into a movie in the right hands

      • Heather

        I totally agree, I loved that book! I also agree with Witch of Blackbird Pond!

      • Heather

        What about all the Fear Street books? Growing up I was obsessed with those and thought a lot of them would make a great movie or tv series

      • Tan

        OO yeah Fear Street. I’m like a kid in a candy store right now. Fear I always thought would do better as a tv series. but either way I’d love to see it.

    • katie

      i’m definitely hoping perks of being a wallflower gets made.
      logan lerman is not a bad choice for charlie…
      and i’m liking elizabeth olsen for sam.

    • James

      Oh, my God! This is one of my all time favorites. They better not screw it up or there will be blood (:

  • yo

    Audrey Wait

    • Kiki

      Oh, good choice! It’s not only a really good book, but very cinematic…

      • Misha Fitt

        my fav book. period. Audrey rocks!

    • Allison M

      Among my favorite YA books

  • Jose

    Anything by Judy Blume and the Artemis Fowl series minus the last two books in the series.

    • gigi

      Totally agree with the Judy Blume books Why hasn’t someone made “Are you there God, It’s me Margert” or “Tiger Eyes”. C’mon Hollywood!

      • Melissa

        They are filming “Tiger Eyes” now, according to Judy Blume’s Twitter feed :)

      • TrP

        As much as I love AYTGIMM and view it as a rite of passage book, I can’t help how her obession with starting to menstruate would translate on screen, you know? But I agree, Judy Blume books would be awesome!

    • alex

      Otherwise known as sheila the great!

      • JOEBECCA

        GREAT IDEA!

  • Brittany

    You read my mind! I check IMDb at least once a month to see if there’s been any movement on Charlotte Doyle. How long will they make me wait??

    And of course, Stargirl.

  • Molly

    Beautiful Creatures. It just came out last year and is fantastic. Although I believe it’s already been snagged, I would like to see production move more quickly.

  • Molly

    oh and The Gemmo Doyle trilogy. The first one, A Great and Terrible Beauty was supposed to be made by now. What gives?!

    • Emily

      Yes! I’ve been wondering about that too!

      • megs

        Libba Bray said that no one wanted to continue with it. Plus, it cost too much. :( I wanted that to be made. I hope Going Bovine gets made into a movie!!

      • Jennifer

        Me too! With the trend in having supernatural themed movies, you would think this movie would be the next hot thing.

    • tipsy

      I LOVE these books! Guess what, Mel Gibson of all people wanted to make movies out of them in 2006 but the deal fell through, according to Wiki.

      Anyway, there may not be interest on studio`s part because the books are set in Victorian times as opposed to present? Maybe?

      So miffed!

  • Jennifer Pinkasavage

    Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater has been optioned, but I’m afraid it will just sit on the shelf and not get picked up again. It really is a great book w/ excellent writing that deserves to be a movie.

    • mgracer8

      Yes! I would love to see Shiver on film. Sam is so much better than Edward Cullen any day (though I’m not sure if I like him more than Jacob).

      • Tess

        Shiver was picked up by a film company a few months ago. The author announced it on her website. :)

  • MissVampireDiaries

    Vampire Academy, DUH!

    • Ang

      I second that…. Along with the House of Night series. Although, that could possible work as a tv series. Shiver would be a great movie!!!!

      • Renae

        I just discovered the House of Night series 2 months ago and have already read all the books. I really liked the books and I think it would be a great TV show!

      • Alyssa

        Vampire Academy diffidently! but i really didnt like the house of night. i thought that it just kept getting worse and worse.

    • Jason

      No, enough with the vampires…

      • K

        I think VA would make good TV

      • s

        if you read the book, you’d realize that its completely unique take on vampires.

      • El Gigante

        So is every other vampire show/movie.

      • Tan

        House of Night made me begin to lose interest in twilight. But I have to agree with El Gigante on this one another Vampire-esque tv/movie franchise would be over load maybe in a few years when it’s died down a bit.

        And Gigante HoN isn’t at all like the other vamp stuff out there. It’s a mix of scientific, and spiritual themes nothing like the others.

  • Erik

    Island of the Blue Dolphins could make a great movie!

    • California

      I just reread this a few months ago! Definitely would make a great movie!
      And I loved My Brother Sam is Dead, that was very good too.
      What about Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series? Disney made an animated hybrid of the first two books (and I actually do like that movie) but I think each book would probably make a good movie. I reread them over the summer too, and you know, in Taran Wanderer there is almost a precurser to the idea of a Horcrux!! Totally crazy!

      • BuffyJunkie

        Thank you! I really hope they make film versions of the Chronicles of Prydain as they were some of my favorite growing up. I also really want Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. It scared the crap out of me in the fourth grade and I’m sure it still would today.

      • Kelmar

        ITA! I loooove the Chronicles of Prydain, and each one would make a great movie! Lots of action and humor as well as character growth and romance.

    • Zoe

      There is an Island of the Blue Dolphins movie. 1964. Check IMDB. I remember seeing it when I was little on some TV or cable channel.

  • Jill

    The Dark is Rising books by Susan Cooper!

    Please, goodness please, don’t let Catcher in the Rye be made into a movie…I just can’t imagine anything doing it justice.

    • Emily

      They tried to do The Dark is Rising a few years ago but they transported it to modern day and it kind of sucked. No justice done to the books. And I agree on Catcher in the Rye, too. It’s good enough on its own.

      • Jill

        Aw man! I didn’t know they had done this! That’s a shame that it wasn’t good! They’re such great books!

      • Cal

        The Dark is Rising movie was awful. Such a travesty. Completely muffed the story until it wasn’t recognizable. But done well, those books would make fantastic movies.

      • TBFan

        Oh come now. They can always redo the Dark is Rising Sequence. Studios had no problem redoing Hulk (although both incarnations stunk). I’m completely onboard for a remake, as long as they keep Ian McShane, who I thought was brilliant as Merriman.

      • Melissa

        I don’t see why people try to modernize fantasy stories. Part of the beauty of fantasy is that you can transport a reader into another world while still imparting valuable life lessons. Trying to modernize them just sounds odd. And most of us like the romantic ideal of quests & missions and a hero/heroine of integrity just as much (if not more) than vampire stories. There’s a reason a book is a bestseller. Don’t change it!

  • Lisa Simpson

    I just keep hoping that Hollywood will make a few more movies for grown-ups.

    • Desmo

      Ahh Lisa… Always such a b!tch. Do you have anything nice to say ever?

      • manx

        ia with lisa not everyone wants to see more stories with high school protagonists.

      • Lisa Simpson

        I said something nice on another blog. Once a day is enough. :-)

      • Blah

        Is there really such a shortage of films with adult protagonists? There’s one teen movie and one kid movie that just came out, the rest are geared toward adults.

    • Melissa

      As a grownup, I prefer YA books to adult ones. In book form, most YA books are more complex, dark, and mature than a lot of the crap on the adult shelves. Plus you have fully rounded characters, even supporting. Even some of my favorite adult book series have some seriously one-dimensional characters.
      That being said, I think the problem is more that the movies try to make YA novels too kid friendly. I mean anyone who reads Mockingjay can tell you, there are a heck of a lot of adult novels who are scared to touch on that subject matter.

      • Tan

        Touche mon amie. I cried (on the inside of course) when I realized that I was of the age where I had to start branching out of the YA genre. Apart from James Patterson’s Women’s murder Club and Swimsuit I haven’t really made an effort. I’m tirelessly clinging to my love of YA Fiction. And Might I add that I find it so unfair where were these authors when I was growing up?

  • Jessica

    I think that really good movies could be made from “True confessions of charlotte Doyle”, as well as any of the Tamora Pierce books. I also think that Phillip Pullmans Ruby in the smoke could be made into a movie as well and but “13 reasons why” by Jay Asher would make a great idea for a movie.

    • Jen

      Ruby in the Smoke was already a Brit made-for-tv flick that was shown on PBS starring Billie Piper from Doctor Who. They also did a sequel.

      • BM

        Sadly, there’s no development yet on The Tiger in the Well, despite the associations of the tv series with TWO Doctor Who names (Billie Piper and Matt Smith, the newest Doctor). Meanwhile, the day will come when a non-butchered His Dark Materials comes to the screen. TGC was just made in really bad theocratic times.

      • TBFan

        @BM: Despite its failings, I thought the casting for TGC was great. The little girl who played Lyra was spot on I thought and Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliot..fantastic.

    • L

      I agree with the any Tamora Pierce book comment

    • Josie

      13 Reasons Why was not a great book, but it would make an AMAZING movie if they did it all dark and intelligent like Brick

    • katie

      thirteen reasons why was SUCH a fantastic book!
      excellent idea!!

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