With the release of The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the sequel to last year’s Divergent, I thought I’d rundown the Top 5 Young Adult Novel Adaptions. I’m also doing this list because I’ve heard a pretty negative reaction towards Insurgent thus far, and wanted to offer up some alternative choices!
Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)
If you haven’t seen the Harry Potter series yet, I’m surprised. On the other hand, I’m hoping this recommendation gets you to sit down and finally watch the series. This is the grandaddy of them all, the series all YA Adaptions are held up against. Over the course of 8 films in a decade we watch young Harry grow from confused youth, to brave, strong savior of the wizarding world. Some people argue the series didn’t hit a stride until the 3rd installment, but I for one think each film has its own merits.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Forget the first Hunger Games (at least I try to). Catching Fire is where the series displayed it’s full potential. The story of Katniss hits full throttle in the second installment of the series, as we watch a neat twist on the games tear apart the characters we find ourselves attached to. I personally wasn’t crazy about Mockingjay Part 1, but I’m hoping with Part 2 completing the story that it will raise Part 1 to greater heights. Unlike many of it’s YA counterparts, Hunger Games deals with heavy themes and in many ways isn’t for a younger audience. Catching Fire is currently on Netflix Instant so add it to the queue!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)/The Spectacular Now (2013)
I know this one’s a cheat but I just couldn’t help myself. 2012 and 2013 did a double dose of awesome with two beautifully realized young adult romance films. Both of these movies have killer casts featuring some of the best and brightest in young stars. Both have subversive plot lines that twist the general cliches we often see in the YA romance genre. Both are simply great films that deserved a mention. I only lump them together because they share some similarities but don’t think for a second they are the same film with different actors. Each has something amazing to say about youth, and both deserve to be seen.
I’ve read Holes a lot. The first time I must have been in elementary school, and most recently was just last year. While the adaption may not be the best film on the list, it’s one thats incredibly near and dear to my heart. Also it’s one that’s appropriate for basically all ages. The story of falsely accused Stanley Yelnats and his time in a youth correctional “camp” digging holes is one of the most magical and elegantly told stories I’ve come across. It will warm your heart as well as tickle your funny bone. If you like the movie, I’d also highly recommend reading the book (which is true of all these entries really). This one is also on Netflix Instant Watch!
This is the only entry on the list where I haven’t actually read the source material. Fear not, though, Hugo is an absolute essential when it comes to this category. It’s directed by none other than Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, The Departed), and is in essence, his love letter to film making. I don’t want to give away any plot details because it’s all such a unique and magical experience. It needs to be seen to be understood and fortunately for us, it’s available on Netflix Instant Watch! Hugo is also a-okay for all ages so gather the kids or the parents or the grandparents and just enjoy.