For readers all over the world, the classic film adaptation of their favorite book can be the greatest news, or the worst, depending on whom you ask. Hollywood has been turning books into films since the invention of the movie, and they show no signs of slowing down in 2014 and beyond.
In response to the growing market for Young Adult (YA) novels, Hollywood has taken to adapting popular books from that genre, and as a result are reaping the financial rewards of doing so. Of course, you can’t exclude the giants of that genre, like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and the recently released Divergent, but filmmakers are now looking beyond the blockbuster best-sellers, and opting for more diversity in the books they bring to the big screen. Below you’ll find some of the most highly anticipated YA books making their way to the big screen this year.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
This film, based off Lowry’s best-selling 1993 novel, is in a similar dystopian vein to The Hunger Games and Divergent, but relies more on storytelling, as opposed to action, to capture the readers interest. It will be interesting to see how filmmakers try to convey the nuances in Lowry’s book to the big screen –hopefully they are able to do so without losing the core of the story.
The Giver’s journey to the big screen has been a lengthy one that started nearly 20 years ago, when Lowry sold the film rights to Bill Cosby. Like so many other projects in Hollywood, it switched hands, people came in and out of the project, and it was picked up and dropped from too many producers to name. However, Jeff Bridges was always interested in being a part of it, so he signed on both as the producer and as the titular character. Joining him is the phenomenal Meryl Streep as Chief Elder and Australian newcomer Brenton Thwaites as Jonas. Rounding out the cast are Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Swift. The film is set to hit theaters this August in the US.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This emotionally charged teen love story is slated to become something of the teenage Notebook if it lives up to expectations set by the book’s fans. Starring the newly crowned YA queen Shailene Woodley (star of other YA adaptations Divergent and The Spectacular Now) alongside Miles Teller (also her co-star in the latter film), this book tells the story of two teens brought together by the cancer they are each fighting.
The film, set to premiere in theaters on June 6th, tracks the journey of two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group for teens. Naturally, their shared experience with illness brings them closer and a relationship soon develops. However, as far too many of us know, cancer isn’t predictable, and living with it is an emotional rollercoaster. Pair that with teen love, and it’s set to be one wild, emotional ride.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Maze Runner is much more in line for fans of the more action packed YA adaptations. The book is set in a strange place called the Glade, where no one knows how, or why, they got there. Our protagonist is Thomas, whom we follow as he tries to figure out what exactly the Glade is, why he’s there, or even who he is.
The film is slated for a September release, and the cast will likely provide a new batch of teen heartthrobs –especially since there are only two females in the entire cast! It’s clearly something geared towards a more male audience, which is an interesting move to make considering the predominantly female focus of many YA books and films.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 by Suzanne Collins
Of course, we can’t discuss YA film adaptations without talking about the reigning king of them all, The Hunger Games. The franchise is the most successful teen franchise in years, and one of the most successful film franchises in history, so Mockingjay should prove to be just as big as it’s predecessors.
This time around the series focuses on the growing unrest in Panem, which Katniss is at the forefront of. She bows to the pressure put on her and becomes the “Mockingjay” or face, of the revolutionary movement. As with any revolution, things get messy and intense. The book has been broken into two films, taking a page from Harry Potter’s previous model, and the first half will hit theaters this November, just in time for the holiday season.
About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment and pop culture blogger for Direct-Ticket.net. He always loves it when his love of book and film come together in fantastic ways, but isn’t above being bitter about the flops. He lives and works in Chicago where he can be found with his nose in a book or having mini film marathons.