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I spent a long time this last week digging around, trying to pull together a comprehensive list of YA books being adapted for the big screen this year. It wasn’t easy — there’s a lot of half-way information about production schedules, release dates, release territories and so forth. Hollywood operates much differently from the book world that trying to get answers as an outsider, even with a paid subscription to a tool like IMDB Pro, is challenging.
Which is to say, if the information I did find is accurate, it seems to me that there are fewer YA adaptations this year than in years past. Perhaps more than 2016, where we saw more flops than we saw hits, but it’s still a rather small number for what seems like were an endless number of deals and rights acquisitions for adaptation in the last few years. A lot of those deals, though, are still marked as being pre-production or in some other similar status, so we might see them pop up later in the year or in future years.
To make this list a little bit longer, I’m including the adaptations going to the smaller screen. Think Netflix series and made-for-TV productions. Again, this isn’t comprehensive but what I could verify through more than one source.
Descriptions come from IMDB, since those offer the most interesting and succinct look at how the book is being reimagined for film, and I’ve included the book cover from which the adaptation is coming, with the title linked through to the book’s Amazon listing.
Please note that release dates can change and some titles don’t yet have a final release date. If you know of other adaptations, especially those hitting smaller screens, I’d love to know the titles and release dates. As the year progresses and we learn more about what to expect in the summer and fall, I’ll pull together another similar round-up.
On The Big Screen
I’ll start with my cheat title.
Hidden Figures (release date: currently playing)
Based on a true story. A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.
*I consider this one a cheat title, if only because the adaptation is from the adult version of the book, rather than the Young Reader Edition. But since there’s a Young Reader Edition, it’s counting.
A Monster Calls (release date: currently playing)
A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mum’s terminal illness.
Before I Fall (release date: March 3)
February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s in danger of losing.
Break My Heart 1,000 Timess (release date: May 4)
Set nine years after an apocalyptic event that killed millions and left the world inhabited by ghosts.
Everything, Everything (release date: May 19)
A teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.
Let It Snow (release date: November 22)
In a small town on Christmas Eve, a snowstorm brings together a group of young people.
Ashes In The Snow (release date: unannounced)
In 1941, an aspiring artist and her family are deported to Siberia amidst Stalin’s brutal dismantling of the Baltic region. In a seemingly hopeless place, love is the only means of survival.
*The change in title on this one makes sense, as it would be far too easy to get Between Shades of Gray confused with another ‘Grey’ franchise.
Fallen (release date: unannounced)
A young girl finds herself in a reform school after therapy since she was blamed for the death of a young boy. At the school she finds herself drawn to a fellow student, unaware that he is an angel, and has loved her for thousands of years.
*This one’s been released in some countries already, but there’s been no date set for a US release. Last year, the director had mentioned something about waiting to see what the interest was in the States before a date would be given, but so far, there’s still no date for either a theatrical or DVD release.
My Friend Dahmer (release date: unannounced)
Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by John Backderf, Jeffrey Dahmer struggles with a difficult family life as a young boy- and during his teenage years he slowly transforms, edging closer to the serial killer he becomes.
*This Alex Award winning graphic novel has massive appeal for YA readers, so I’m including it on the list since I didn’t know it was going to be adapted.
On The Small Screen
A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix, current)
After the loss of their parents in a mysterious fire, the three Baudelaire children face trials and tribulations attempting to uncover dark family secrets.
*Probably technically more along the middle grade lines, but it has such great YA appeal, I’m including it.
Trollhunters (Netflix, current)
Based on a book by del Toro, Trollhunters tells the story of friends who unearth a mystery underneath their hometown.
Famous in Love (Freeform, April 18)
An ordinary college student gets her big break in a Hollywood blockbuster and must navigate through an undeniable chemistry with her two co-leads, while uncovering the truth about a missing popstar.
The Divergent Series: Ascendant (no network listed, June 17)
Tris and Four fight to end the Bureau of Genetic Welfare’s authoritarian reign over the United States.
*This one has so much information and so little at the same time. There’s a release date but I couldn’t find the network it would be released on. We don’t know who Tris is, either.
13 Reasons Why (Netflix, no date listed)
Thirteen Reasons Why, based on the best-selling series by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush Hannah’s decision to end her own life.
*No release date yet but we know it’ll be this year. It feels like this one has been talked about for years and years (it might have even been the first YA acquired for Netflix).
And there you have it! Anything that you’re looking forward to seeing? Anything you’re surprised will be making the leap to the big/small screen?
We’ll be back next week with more YA talk. Until then, snuggle in with a good YA book — or a good YA adaptation!