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Time For More Teen Angst

With some of the Young Adult novels that have been turned into movies lately, it can seem that the post-apocalyptic future is here already. Or maybe it just feels like that would be preferable to having to endure yet another overwrought teen mooning over their tragic paramour with special powers who’s hopelessly conflicted about how, after a busy day of running, jumping, yelling, and using sophisticated weaponry, they never get to have a nice long lie-in the next day. Next up is Allegiant (2016), the first half of the final part of the Divergent trilogy.

Of course my teenage daughters are tremendously excited about this. Me less so. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good dystopian romp. One of my all-time favourite movies is the peerless Blade Runner (1982) and I quite liked the various Hunger Games movies. It’s also pretty neat that many of the recent YA novels/movies have such strong female characters.

Upcoming Young Adult Novel Movie Adaptations

When I asked my daughters which books they’d recently read they were most looking forward to seeing turned into movies, top of their list were:

  • The School for Good and Evil, a fantasy book trilogy by Soman Chainani with two BFF female protagonists living in a fairytale universe.
  • The Darkest Minds, a dystopian trilogy by Alexandra Bracken set in a world where a plague has wiped out nearly all children.
  • The Selection, the first book in a series of five young adult novels by Kiera Cass, and apparently kind of like The Hunger Games but with less explosions.

These are all in various stages of pre-production, but a few YA novel/movies that have caught my eye that will be released soon are:

  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), directed by Tim Burton and based on the first book in a dark fantasy trilogy by Ransom Riggs. The books feature vintage photographs alongside the narrative text.
  • A Monster Calls (2016), based on the fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, about a teenage boy in present-day England dealing with his mother’s imminent death.
  • Nerve (2016), based on the thriller about an online game of Truth or Dare by Jeanne Ryan.
  • Fallen (2016), based on the first in a four-book paranormal romance series by Lauren Kate. Hopefully better than Twilight (2008) and its sequels.

Classic Young Adult Novel Movie Adaptations

I hope that some of the movies above fulfill their promise, since all too often the film adaptation of a good book can fall short. However, there have been some outstanding movie adaptations of young adult novels in the past. Some that I’ve particularly enjoyed include:

  • The Book Thief (2013), based on the 2005 book by Markus Zusak about a nine-year-old girl living in Germany during World War II.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), based on the 1999 coming-of-age novel by Stephen Chbosky.
  • Hugo (2011), directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the stunningly illustrated 2007 historical fiction book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick.
  • Harry Potter series (2001-2011), based on the books by J. K. Rowling. We loved reading the book as a family and the subsequent movies didn’t disappoint.
  • The Princess Bride (1987), based on the 1973 fantasy romance novel by William Goldman (who also wrote the Oscar-winning screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969, and All the President’s Men, 1976).
  • The Outsiders (1983), directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the 1967 coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton.
  • Rumble Fish (1983), directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the 1975 young adult novel by S. E. Hinton.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), based on the classic 1960 novel by Harper Lee.

Iain Pardoe is an online university instructor who enjoys the movies of Hayao Miyazaki even more than the kids and loves rewatching favourites from his youth with his family when he’s not playing soccer or skiing.