Even though I’m in my early twenties and that my teenage years have recently started to feel like a thing of the past, I still can’t help but reflect back on my childhood memories of reading young-adult (YA) novels. They were a huge part of my pre-teen and teenage years growing up, and they were the reason why I remain a huge reader today.
…speaking of reasons why, this post is inspired by the upcoming Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why, which is based off of the 2007 YA novel by Jay Asher that is a deep, introspective book about suicide, acceptance, and belonging. I grew up reading this book, and so I was quite surprised that it was finally going to be made into a TV series. You can check out more info about it here.
That said, I was inspired by that as means of creating my own list of other YA novels which I grew up reading and enjoying, but have not been adapted into film or a TV series. However, I think they are great candidates for doing so, and perhaps you might agree as well!
Without further ado, here’s my list (and commentary) on my top-five YA books that should become films/TV series!
1. Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger). A huge 20th-century classic, this coming-of-age novel by the late J.D. Salinger has over the years been attempted to be adapted into film, but it never came about. While the character Holden Caulfield (let alone Salinger himself) might find this action as a “sell-out” to the “phony” media as described in the book, I would be curious to see how it can possibly turn out on the big screen.
2. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes (Chris Crutcher). Since first reading it as a freshman in high school, I continued to return to it year after year, and even almost ten years later, I always find something new in the story. I love all of Crutcher’s books, but this one has particularly stuck with me, considering that it’s rich with themes of friendship, suicide, and self-acceptance. There is also plenty of humor and heart, and I can definitely see it being a good sports-drama/comedy film for young adults.
3. Good Enough (Paula Yoo). With the recent complaints from the Asian-American community of the lack of representation in the entertainment industry (with which I concur), I could definitely see this novel from Korean-American author Paula Yoo breaking through that barrier, for the protagonist is also Korean American and has to face pressures from both her parents and white society, which tell her “good is never enough” to succeed. The Asian-American activist in me would love to see this film become a reality, and hopefully, it’ll happen!
4. Gravity (Leanne Lieberman). Although it’s becoming more of an accepted thing in society today, identifying as LGBTQ+ still hasn’t quite translated over to books (although progress has been made in TV shows and films in the past five, six years). That said, Lieberman’s novel was one of the first LGBTQ+ YA novels that I’d read as a teenager, back during a time when I myself was coming to terms with my sexuality. Deep, quiet, and reflective, the novel’s tone could definitely translate well over to the big screen as a sort of romantic drama for people to appreciate its message of self-love and acceptance.
5. Love, Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli). A follow-up to the 2000 novel Stargirl, this book is told from the other character’s perspective, the titular Stargirl herself. Written in an epistolary style, each letter entry is filled with quirky, thoughtful anecdotes of her life, and I can really see this novel in the form of a Dear John film, although with more humor and eccentricities. Why not make it fun, eh?
…that’s about it for me! Do you have any YA books you would love to be adapted into film/TV series? Let me know! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic