Search This Blog

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book adaptations to get excited about!

The Hunger Games’ movie is still ruling the box office. The adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s addictive dystopian young adult series is the most recent book-to-film adaptation success story. In fact, in recent years it has been these adaptations which have ruled the box office, and the box.

JK Rowling kicked off the money-making trend, when her ridiculously popular ‘Harry Potter’ series was turned into one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’ has been embraced by tween’s the world over, who were delighted with the adaptation of their favourite vampire love story (and Robert Pattinson as their leading man). ‘The Hunger Games’ is just another instance of popular reading translating into movie profits. For one thing, these books come with their own built-in fan-base, who rabidly anticipate the film’s release and lend some much-appreciated hype.

But it’s not just the movie box office that is being ruled by the book. Television has also been reaping the benefits of adaptation. From Cecily von Ziegesar’s ‘Gossip Girl’ series, to Charlaine Harris’s ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ (aka; ‘True Blood’). Not to mention the incredible surprise success of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, ‘Game of Thrones’.

I thought I'd try and get ahead of the trend, and look at some upcoming TV and film adaptations of popular books. Some of these I have read, others I am curious about since discovering their intended adaptation. All of them should be on your radar (so at the very least you can act blasé and superior upon release, when you say ‘of course it’s based on a book, duh!’).

‘Perks’ was the 1999 debut young adult novel from Stephen Chbosky, which continues to be a rite-of-passage read for young people. It is the modern equivalent of JD Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’, telling Charlie’s coming-of-age tale as he finds his first friends and confronts traumas of his past. The film has been highly-anticipated for a long time now – since the book came out in 1999, young people have been speculating that it would make a wonderful film (and easier to adapt than Salinger’s supposedly un-adaptable ‘Catcher’).  English Rose actress, Emma Watson (most famous as Hermione Granger in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies) is playing the critical lead female role, which has delighted fans. This one is guaranteed to be a popular indie film, and is slated for a 2012 release.

This is a special one for Aussies! 'Puberty Blues' was the 1979 novel by Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette (written when the girls were in their teens), it was made into a successful film in 1981. Channel Ten recently announced that they would be adapting the book for the small screen, and that Claudia Karvan was on board for the TV show. Now, once upon a time I wouldn't have cared too much about a 'Puberty Blues' remake. HOWEVER, since discovering Kirsty Eagar's incredible books, all of which explore the territoriality and male dominated world of surfing in some capacity, I am beyond psyched for this TV show! And I do like that Claudia Karvan is involved (it gives me hope that this will be a quality show with intense storylines). I think this is going to be a hit for Channel Ten - but only if they make it nitty-gritty (they should really read 'Raw Blue' to get further inspiration!) and don't aim to be a 'Home and Away' type show. 


Based on the 1981 novel by Judy Blume, 'Tiger Eyes' is about a girl recovering from the death of her father, who was killed in a hold-up. She and her family travel to New Mexico, where she befriends a young man who helps her through her grief. I confess, I have not read 'Tiger Eyes' - but I am thrilled with the prospect of a Judy Blume adaptation! I can't believe Blume's books haven't been adapted into films before now!

The story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper's son who finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

‘Life of Pi’ was the Yann Martel fantasy adventure novel, published in 2001. It won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2002, and for a few years there it was all anybody could talk about. The film will star Tobey Maguire (‘Spiderman’) and is being directed by Ang Lee (‘Brokeback Mountain’). This film is also expected for 2012, and I predict this one will be ticked for a few Oscars.

Adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beloved novel about Nick Carraway, who ventures to Long Island and becomes entangled in the lavish and tragic life of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby.

Of course this adaptation is highly-anticipated – it ticks all the boxes. It’s an adaptation of an American literary classic, which has enjoyed movie success in the past (Robert Redford’s 1974 film). It’s being directed by beloved Australian director, Baz Luhrmann who is again pairing with Leonardo DiCaprio (in the title role of Gatsby), and the cast includes old favourites (like Tobey Maguire) and hot-new actors like Carey Mulligan. Not to mention early set photos look spectacular (the 1920s costumes - *drool*!)

‘The Great Gatsby’ is one of my all-time favourite books. I first read it for my Literature class in high school, and I fell head-over-heels in love with Fitzgerald’s tangled shambolic love story (slash social commentary). Again Oscars will abound when this film comes out later this year.

‘The Goats’ was the 1987 young adult novel by Brock Cole, about two kids who are stripped naked and left abandoned on a remote island by their bullying summer camp peers. Instead of succumbing to the humiliation the children, a boy and a girl, run away together and form a strong bond.

I had never heard of this book until the 2012 movie adaptation came on my radar. . .  but now I am intrigued. In a time when bullying has morphed and seemingly worsened (thanks, in part, to the ready brutality of cyber bullying) I think ‘Goat Island’ could offer a really interesting commentary on the consequences of bullying, and overcoming it.

Truth be told, I have little love for Leo Tolstoy’s epic and tragic tale of unlucky-in-love, Anna Karenina. I had about ten false-starts in reading the book, but could never get a happy reading groove going. However, I do like Keira Knightley. I saw her 2002 movie ‘Doctor Zhivago’ (based on Boris Pasternak’s book) and I really liked her in that. So I am looking forward to ‘Anna Karenina’, hopefully I enjoy the movie more than the book (blasphemous, I know!)

‘Uglies’ is based on the Scott Westerfeld YA dystopian series – about a society where people are turned ‘pretty’ for the supposed betterment of society. Little is known about this adaptation – I’m still not even sure if it’s going to be a movie or TV show (the book series is a trilogy). I haven’t read the series, but I was gifted the lovely box-set a couple of years ago, and I think when more information about the adaptation comes out, my curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll finally get around to reading them!

Based on Carrie Ryan’s YA dystopian/zombie series, ‘The Forest of Hands and Teeth’ is sure to be a Gothic/horror splendour. I read the book back in 2009, and loved it! The first book introduces us to a world crippled by plague – where religion reigns once again, and everyone has regressed because of The Unconsecrated (i.e.: zombies). When I read the book, I did compare it to M. Night Shymalan’s ‘The Village’ crossed with ‘28 Days Later’ – it read with a very cinematic quality, and I think it’s going to be a brilliant movie adaptation (especially with TV shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ being so hot right now). I also love the title, and know from reading the book that there’s going to be some lovely/gruesome imagery to play with. . .  look out for this one, people! It’s going to be big.

Further proof that vampires are so 2010!, and zombies are the new supernatural du-jour! ‘Warm Bodies’ is a film based on the Isaac Marion YA novel about a zombie who falls in love with an uninfected girl. Yes, it sounds icky (especially if you’re a fan of ‘The Walking Dead’!) but I have heard nothing but great things about this book. I have been meaning to read it for a while now, and since seeing official photos of Nichols Hoult (who rose to fame in series 1 of ‘Skins’, and most recently for dating Jennifer Lawrence) I am doubly-intrigued. I think a love story between a flesh-eating zombie and a healthy girl will have a lot of undercurrents and room for a more thoughtful romance. . .  so I am really keen for this one to come out, and I’ll definitely be reading the book before seeing the film.

Based on the Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows 2008 novel. This is another book that I heard nothing but good things about, and which has consequently been languishing on my TBR pile. I am so intrigued by this book (for the title alone!) mostly because when people told me to read it, they couldn’t quite explain what it was about . . . I think it’s always a good indicator when there aren’t enough words to describe why a book is so brilliant! But I do get the impression that this will be a hard one to adapt, and if done wrong the whole thing could fall apart (*cough* ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’! *cough*). Still, this is another instance where I will push myself to read the book before the movie comes out.

Based on the Stephenie Meyer stand-alone book, which came out in 2008 (amidst the hubbub of ‘Twilight’). This is yet another book that I own but haven’t read . . .  and, to be honest, I never had any inclination to read it. However, the movie trailer has me intrigued. And the casting of Saoirse Ronan in the lead role adds a certain clout to a movie I would have otherwise been dismissive of (since Stephenie Meyer’s writing doesn’t exactly ‘wow’ me). The movie has been bumped to a 2013 release, but hype has already begun.

Undoubtedly the most anticipated film of 2013. This is the second book in Suzanne Collins’s ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy, and after the success (and craft) of the first film, fans are absolutely frothing at the mouth for the second instalment adaptation. And, having read the book, I know this second outing will be a doozy (not least of all because of Finnick Odair – loincloth, loincloth, loincloth!). Jennifer Lawrence showed her mettle in ‘Hunger Games’, and the adaptation proved yet another success for the box office – the second film will have a lot of expectation weighing on it, but I’m confident it will be as-good-as (if not better) than the first movie – bank on it.

Adaptation of the young adult paranormal series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I absolutely loved the first book when I read it back in 2010. It’s set in America’s Deep South, about a small-town untrusting of a local witchy family – and the local boy who falls for a destined witch. The book had a lovely ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ Gothic, paranormal feel- which sounds utterly hodge-podge and horrific, but made for a captivating novel. I was especially excited for this adaptation when it was announced that Jack O’Connell (of ‘Skin’ fame) would be in the lead role – but he has since been replaced, and I am slightly deflated but still excited for this sure to be brilliant adaptation.

'American Gods' is the HBO television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s highly-successful novel. I read ‘American Gods’ for the first time last year, and loved it. I described it as ‘Jack Kerouac meets Homer’, and I am so excited that the adaptation is being left in HBO’s capable hands. I can guarantee you ‘American Gods’ will be as successful as ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘True Blood’ for the cable network. The novel has everything – a tormented protagonist, mythology, mystery . . . . it’s hard to explain, but trust me – it will be glorious!

Based on the photographic novel by Ransom Riggs, which was a surprise hit last year. I flipped through a copy of this and was really intrigued by the story – which couples black and white photos with the tale of a school for ‘gifted’ children (among them an invisible boy and two-headed man). There is really only one person who could do this adaptation justice – and that is Tim Burton . . . fingers-crossed that rumours of Burton being on board are true, because his magic touch could turn this into adaptation perfection.

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is the classic 1962 children’s fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle. This will be a hard one to adapt (but it has been done before), as anyone who has had the pleasure of reading the novel will know. . .  but I’m excited for this movie, because I think it will introduce a whole new generation to this beautiful classic.

Based on the Meg Rosoff debut novel, which won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2005. Truth be told, I didn’t love this novel when I read it. It’s very short, but very odd (no quotation marks, for starters) but I actually think it might translate really well to film. It’s a novel about a girl who finds herself in the middle of a war (and in a complex relationship with her cousin – did I mention that it was odd?). I honestly don’t know who read this and thought “screen gold!” but I think if it’s done well, it could be great and a surprise hit.


  1. I really hope that the Guernsey book gets made because the book was fabulous.

    The Host is my favourite Stephenie Meyer book! Much better than the Twilight books.

  2. I'm loving the books becoming movies! Definitely can't wait for Catching Fire (The Hunger Games was AMAZING), and The Perks just looks really good :)

    I'm having a giveaway on my blog if you'd like to check it out!

    Confessions of a Readaholic

  3. @ Marg - Gah! I have got to read this 'Potato Peel Society' book! That's it, I'm bumping it up in the TBR pile!

    @ iLuvReadingTooMuch - 'Catching Fire' and 'Perks' are probably my top two most-anticipated movies. High expectation though, hope it doesn't backfire! I'll def check you're blog out!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

| More