There’s no sense in arguing that Young Adult literature provides the perfect scripts for Hollywood. Movie after movie is being made and surprise! They’re based on Young Adult literature. As grown up readers of YA lit, we’re always skeptical of movies based off of our favorite books (although I think this holds true for anyone). What if they mess up something? (I’m looking at you Twilight) What if they add a scene that has nothing to do with the book? (I’m still looking at you Twilight) What if the cast is completely wrong?! (Twilight, did you notice I’m looking at you?)
But there’s an upside to making movies based on books. It gives us, the viewers, a chance to get exposed to a book we may have never picked up (I am Number Four, anyone?). And sometimes, this can be the best thing for apprehensive readers who aren’t sure what they like. For me, discovering movies that are based on books is like Christmas because it gives me yet another book to add to my ever growing list. Because I’m NOT an apprehensive reader – I’ll read anything, from the back of the shampoo bottle while I’m in the shower to the cooking directions for high altitude, which most definitely do not apply to me.
Here is my list of movies based on books that inspired me to read the books (and I’m so glad I did):
1) Ella Enchanted
Say what you will about this movie, but I love it. I watch it every time it comes on TV and I really wish I could find it in the $5 bin at Walmart. The story was cute, the casting was fresh and fun and it was just a good, easy-peasy movie. But the book? Oh, the book! Although it probably was something I could have (and most definitely should have) read during my middle school years, it didn’t stop me from falling absolutely head over heels in love with it. Once I read it I could immediately understand why Ella Enchanted lovers despised the movie version. The book was sweet, and charming; I’m fairly certain I sighed over it. I might have hugged the book when I finished. Hi, I’m Candice and I’m a book hugger.
2) Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief
Thanks to my sister checking this movie out from the library, I stole it and got to watch it. I LOVE things to do with Greek mythology, so this movie was right up my alley. I actually loved this movie and was excited to find out that there was not only one book it was based off of, but a whole series! I quickly ran to the bookstore and bought books 1-3 of the series and I’m pretty sure polished them off in a weekend. The Percy Jackson series is one of my favorites out there. I know, I know… it’s really written towards middle grade boys, but there’s just something so refreshing about it. The series is funny, smart, and easy to get into. Add in some Greek mythology and those awkward teenage years and you’ve got me hooked!
3) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I know what you’re thinking: But this is the 5th movie. Why the 5th? Why not the 1st? The truth is… I never cared to read the Harry Potter books and was content with what I saw in movies 1-4. But then I saw HP and OOTP, easily my least favorite of the bunch (which isn’t saying much since I love them all). I left the theater confused, not really sure what was going on, and lacking understanding. So I decided to read the books so I could actually understand what the movie was really about. Boy, oh boy… was I glad this movie left me wanting something more! I couldn’t read the Harry Potter books fast enough. There weren’t enough hours in the day to read them. How had I not gotten into these books sooner? What would I have done if I had and had to wait a year to get my hands on the next one? The pain would have been ridikilous! I would have avada kedavra’ed someone right then and there!
I know, I know… you thought you were reading a good review site, huh? One where there ISN’T Twilight over-reviewed? But I will say that I loved the books. Yes, I drank the Twilight Kool-Aid and it was tasty. Miiiiiiighty tasty. After months shunning the Twilighting world and saying “Okay, the plot sounds stupid. How is this even good?” But, one dull evening, I decided to watch the movie to see what all the hubbub was about and thought it was okay. I enjoyed it. So then I decided to read the book. I sat for 7 hours straight reading it from cover to cover. I couldn’t believe how much I loved it and had fallen in love with it. The books became special to me and I started getting overprotective, hesitant to loan them out or leave them anywhere. It was a crazy obsession, one which I’m glad I finally overcame (thanks to Eclipse’s epic awfulness).
5) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Although this movie isn’t out yet when I saw the casting (Emma Watson and Logan Lerman) I KNEW I had to read the book. It was one of the most difficult, poignantly real books I’ve ever read. And I loved every page of it. Maybe this particular book and movie combo doesn’t need to make the list, because now I want to see the movie because of the book… when before I wanted to read the book because of the movie. Quite the conundrum.
So there you have it: the movies based on books that made me want to read the book. Of course, not all movies based on books that made me want to read the book are good… but these certainly were!