Hollywood is turning a fat ton of young adult books into movies, hoping to find the next “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” or “Hunger Games”-level franchise. Since there are a ridiculous number of optioned or greenlit books, I’ve picked 10 titles for Top Ten Tuesday that don’t seem to have any immediate film or TV prospects (at least according to IMDB Pro).
1. “The Lumatere Chronicles” by Melina Marchetta: EPIC mini-series. I could see it becoming a a show on Starz, a network that appreciates fantasy worlds, beautifully costumed characters and sweeping romances. I can’t tell you enough how much I adore the love story between Finnikin of the Rock and Evanjalin of the Monts, and seeing it play out on screen would be a dream come true.
2. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell: It would make an excellent independent drama ala “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” or “The Spectacular Now.” It could be financed rather inexpensively (most of the action takes place in homes or on a school bus), and it would be a great role for up and coming young actors to take as Eleanor, Park and the other teen roles and well-established character actors as the parents. Plus, it would have one helluva soundtrack, and it’s definitely time for an interracial teen romance featuring a big red head and a swoony Asian guy!
3. “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah Maas: Maas’ page-turning series is ripe for an adaptation. Celaena Sardothian is a kick-ass heroine/assassin; she has not one but two dreamy suitors in the form of gorgeous heir apparent Dorian and a sexy rogue captain of the guard, Chaol. Maas’ story if full of fantasy, adventure, fabulous fight sequence, and did I mention the heart-racing romance?
4. “Saving Francesca” by Melina Marchetta: People love prep-school stories, and “Saving Francesca” is a lot more “accessible” than Marchetta’s magnum opus “Jellicoe Road” (which is already in the works as an Australian film). Frankie has an amazing group of quirky best friends, and her opposites-attract romance with Will Trombal is one of my favorites in all of YA. And on the bright side, there are so many adorable young Aussie actors, it should be a cinch to cast.
5. “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” by Morgan Matson: Roadtrip movies are awesome, especially if they feature a couple of young (almost) strangers who drive cross-country and slowly but surely fall in love as each mile and conversation passes. The music, the witty and deep and revealing conversation, and the utterly real romance would make a great teen-targeted film.
6. “How to Save a Life” by Sara Zarr: A writer of beautiful, character-driven stories, Zarr’s tale of two completely different but equally as strong-willed girls who come together and form the unlikeliest of sisterly bonds, is hands-down terrific. There is so much heart in this book, and its themes about motherhood, grief, teen pregnancy, first love, and unconditional friendship would translate into a touching film.
7. “All These Things I’ve Done” by Gabrielle Zevin: A crazy future where chocolate and caffeine are illegal and sold via a mafia-run black market? Yes, please. Zevin’s protagonist Anya Balanchine is smart, selfless and willing to do anything she needs to do to keep her siblings safe.
8. “Five Flavors of Dumb” by Antony John: Any book that can feature a deaf teenager as a rock band manager is sure to make for a compelling movie. The music, the high-school relationships, the self discovery — it all makes for a fun little film.
9. “Red” by Alison Cherry: This book hasn’t officially come out yet, but the premise is fabulous: after centuries of being oppressed and mistreated, red heads form a ginger-friendly town in the midwest called Scarletville, where the redder your hair, the greater your social status. But of course there’s a dirty little secret in town — not all of the red heads are “real,” and only the undercover hairstylist knows the truth about one of the most popular girls in town. Funny, cleverly written and socially relevant, this book would be a great ginger-loving treat.
10. “You Look Different in Real Life” by Jennifer Castle: Clearly I’m a fan of contemporary fiction, and this book, about a group of teenagers who’ve been the subject of a documentary series since they were kindergarteners, is exactly the sort of self-referential story (especially the documentary style) that could be a cool current TV series. With a show, the book could continuously flash back to the kids at 6 and 11 while fleshing out their lives at 16.