Check out some of my favorite YA book to movie adaptations!
I fell in love with books in middle school when I first discovered Sarah Dessen and then again when I finally decided to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon. Even though I’m 28-years-old, I still have a soft place in my heart for YA novels, and to this day, they tend to be my favorite genre of books to read. I feel like an old lady wandering into the YA (that’s Young Adult for people who aren’t familiar) section of bookstores and libraries, but that doesn’t stop me from engrossing myself into every YA book I decide to dive into.
When I was growing up, the YA genre didn’t really exist in the way that it does today. There were children’s books and adult books, and not much in between. I remember its popularity growing when I was in high school, and I remember spending hours in the small YA section at Barnes & Noble and falling in love with not only Sarah Dessen and J.K. Rowling, but also Scott Westerfeld, Meg Cabot, and Megan McCafferty.
I love that the genre continues to grow and encourage young people to read, but selfishly, I love the feeling that reading a YA novel gives me in that it transports me back to a time where reading was such a top priority for me and things like bills and jobs and buying groceries didn’t exist in my mind yet. But because reading isn’t as much of a priority for me as it was back then (so sadly, and I’m still trying to change that), I love that some of my favorite YA novels from the past and present are turning into or have been turned into movies.
These are some of my favorite YA book to movie adaptations, not in any kind of order because I can’t. I love them all too much. I also only included books/movies on the list that I’ve actually both read the book and seen the movie.
I’ll just go ahead and start with Harry Potter because by now, I’m sure you know the Harry Potter obsession runs deep. Just do a search of “Harry Potter” on my blog’s search bar, and many, many posts will pop up.
Admittedly, I was late to the game when it came to Harry Potter. I didn’t jump on the bandwagon until I was in middle school and talks of the movie adaptation started to come out. As soon as my sixth grade English teacher told me I should read the books, I was in it, and I haven’t looked back since. I remember going to midnight book release parties at Barnes & Noble and staying up all night to read the book and waiting outside of the movie theater to watch all of the midnight movie releases. What a time to be alive!
Even though my favorite book is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, my favorite movies (which change all the time) are probably the first and the last, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Part 2. Every time I watch the first movie, it reminds me of how excited I was to see the magic of Harry Potter come to life on the screen. The last movie was just so action-packed and emotional as everything comes to the conclusion that you already knew was coming.
The magic of Harry Potter will stay alive in my heart forever, and it’s something I can’t wait to share with my kids in the future. I have a Harry Potter marathon at least once a year, and I reread the books and listen to the audio books often.
THE HUNGER GAMES
I remember when my friend, Mandy, introduced the Hunger Games series to me in college, and I was absolutely hooked from the first chapter. This was one of the first book series to spark my love of dystopian YA novels. This is also another series that I willingly waited outside of the theater to watch the midnight premieres.
When it comes to YA trilogies, my pattern is usually that the first book in the series is my favorite, the last book is my second favorite, and the middle book is my least favorite. It was the same with the Hunger Games series. Even though Catching Fire was my least favorite book, it was actually my favorite movie. I’ll randomly get on a Hunger Games kick where I just want to watch the entire movie series, and I always get excited when it’s time to watch Catching Fire again.
THE PRINCESS DIARIES
I always do my best to read books before I see the movie, but this was an exception. I remember seeing Princess Diaries at the bookstore, but the title and book cover never intrigued me enough to pick it up. I don’t remember if I saw the movie in theaters or on DVD, but in either case, I fell in love with Mia Thermopolis and her (spoiler alert) journey to claim her throne. I don’t recall how many books in the series I read before I abandoned it, but I became a big fan of other series by Meg Cabot, including the Mediator series and the 1-800-WHERE-R-U series.
TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE
I freaking love Jenny Han, y’all. The first book I fell in love with of hers was actually a collaborative series with Siobhan Vivian called Burn for Burn. I read the first book and bought the second book, Fire with Fire, at the Texas Teen Book Festival (then called the Austin Teen Book Festival) so I could meet the two of them and have them sign my book. Jenny said she remembered me from Twitter, and I fangirled so hard.
I was so excited when I finally picked up To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Even though I didn’t love it nearly as much as the Burn for Burn series, it was still a cute YA love story. Admittedly, I still haven’t finished the series, but it’s been on my TBR list to do so.
I knew movie deals for this book were in and out and there was some drama behind it because people wanted to make the characters in book white instead of having an Asian main character, and I’m glad that Jenny stood her ground because the Netflix adaptation of the movie was absolutely adorable. I watched it as soon as it came out, and I’ve seen it multiple times since. I’m so excited for the sequels, both the books and movies.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Real talk: I only wanted to see this movie because Emma Watson was in it. I hadn’t even read the book until I saw the trailer for the movie, but as soon as I did, I downloaded the audio book and listened to it ASAP so I would be ready for when the movie came out. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is such a great book, and I wish I had read it when it first came out. Even though I waited, I still found myself engrossed in the story and having my heart break when the harsh realities came to light.
Personally, I believe the movie absolutely did the book justice. While watching the story I knew and loved unfold, I felt my heart breaking all over again, and I’ve read the book and watched the movie several times since.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
This is the first book I ever read by John Green, and it will probably always be my favorite. I don’t cry in many books, but to say The Fault in Our Stars was a tearjerker would be an understatement. I bawled like a baby. I love the movie almost as much, and I was so satisfied watching the book I loved so much come to life. Although, I didn’t cry while watching the movie. It was such an awesome movie adaptation, and I’ve watched it so many times since seeing it in theaters and my boyfriend even agreed to watch it with me because he knew I loved it so much.
THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS
I remember thinking this was such a strange name for a book series, but my middle school best friend and I decided to read it. I believe I only read the first two and then years later I read the last book in the series, which took place a decade after the original books in the series ends.
One of the things I love most about this book is that it hardcore focuses on friendship. There are so many YA novels that center around love, even in some dystopian novels. While there were some love stories intertwined in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, the main focus was on the friendship between the four main characters.
Being someone who always felt like the odd one out in a group of friends in one way or another, whether it be race, family background, vast differences in interests, or even just being the only person who hadn’t lived in one place my whole life, this book spoke to me in a way that other YA novels hadn’t. I identified with these characters so personally, and anytime I had a group of close girlfriends in my life, we would pick out who was who in the group. I was usually Carmen.
The movie adaptation was so great, and I find myself randomly wanting to watch it from time to time. It’s hard for me to get through the conversation that Carmen has with her dad. #imnotcryingyourecrying
To this day, I’m still so in love with the storyline of the Divergent series. While I didn’t love it as much as I’ve loved other trilogies, I still consider it to be one of my favorites.
After the movie came out, I read a lot of reviews that said people thought the movie adaptation was better, but that didn’t ring true for me. It’s rare that I think a movie is better than the book, and the same was true for this series. As per usual, with a trilogy, I usually like the first book best, the second book the least, and the third book sits in the middle. Divergent was definitely my favorite book in the series, and I think Insurgent might actually be my favorite movie, but I’ll need to watch all three again to be sure.
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
This book only got on my radar when I went to the Texas Teen Book Festival a few years ago. I saw a panel with people talking about books adapted for the screen, for both TV series and movies, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was one of them. The movie hadn’t come out at this point, but the things Ransom Riggs was talking about on the panel really interested me. Plus, I thought Ransom himself was a fun and quirky person, and it made me want to read his book even more.
I thought the movie adaptation was so interesting, and it was neat to see these characters imagined in the book come to life. That’s always one of my favorite things about movies – when something is a little confusing to me, whether it’s a physical characteristic about a character or certain attributes about their personality or something supernatural, it’s awesome to get that clarification when it comes to the big screen. That’s something I especially enjoyed about this particular film adaptation.
This was another book that I quickly wanted to read before the movie came out. I actually didn’t know the premise behind the book the movie is based on, Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda, but the trailer for the movie looked like something I would want to see, so I picked up the book on a whim. I thought the book was so adorable, but I ended up missing the movie in theaters. I actually didn’t watch Love, Simon until Kyle and I were on a plane to Seattle, and both of us thought it was super cute.
I don’t remember exactly why I decided to pick up this book, but after reading it, my mind was just blown by the twist because, are you freaking serious?! I don’t want to give anything away in case you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, so I’ll just leave it at that. Cryptic, I know.
I actually really enjoyed reading this book, and I found myself frustrated during so many parts of it. I went to see this movie by myself because it’s something I do enjoy doing, and I was not at all disappointed by the movie adaptation. While they did leave some key elements out of the book that I would have liked to see onscreen (because they really played up that isolation to almost an extra disturbing way in the film), that’s to be expected, and overall, I was satisfied by how the story played out in the movie.
I feel like I was the only person who didn’t have The Giver as required reading while I was in school. This was another book I didn’t decide to read until after it was being made into a movie. Because it continues to be such an iconic and well-loved book, I used the movie as a perfect excuse to pick up the book.
I know the movie received a lot of criticism, but I actually enjoyed it. I think it may have to do with the fact that I was such a new reader that I hadn’t spent years imagining what this world would look like in my head. The more and the longer you build something up like that, the more likely you are to be disappointed when someone else’s vision of the movie comes to life. I, however, didn’t have this issue, and I liked watching this gray world get some color. It also didn’t hurt that my girl, Taylor Swift, made an appearance.
What are some of your favorite YA book to movie adaptations?