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Why Your Inner Teen Should be Ecstatic About 2014: Young Adult Novel to Film Adaptations This Year

Maria Millage ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

It’s no secret that Hollywood’s new obsession is adapting novels into films.  Over 25 were released in 2013 alone.  These have come from a variety of genres, but some of the most notable have been members of the young adult genre.  Ever since the success of series like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, studios have been searching in earnest for the next blockbusting earner of millions.  2013 brought us The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Ender’s Game, The Book Thief, The Host and several others all striving for this elusive title.  2014 introduces even more book to movie offerings with an army of young adult novel adaptations.

Februrary 14 – Vampire Academy

Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry and Sarah Hyland in Vampire Academy. Photo Credit: Laurie Sparham / The Weinstein Company.

Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry and Sarah Hyland in Vampire Academy. Photo Credit: Laurie Sparham / The Weinstein Company.

Author: Richelle Mead

Directed by: Mark Waters

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Sarah Hyland

The first in a series of six popular novels in the ever-growing vampire sub-genre, Vampire Academy is the story of Rose Hathaway, Dhampir (half-human, half-vampire) tasked with the job of protecting her best friend and Moroi (peaceful, mortal vampire), Lissa Dragomir.  Her job is complicated by feelings of love for her mentor and the growing realization that their enemies are stronger than they thought.

March 21 – Divergent

Shailene Woodley and Theo James in Divergent. Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Summit Entertainment.

Shailene Woodley and Theo James in Divergent. Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Summit Entertainment.

Author: Veronica Roth

Directed by: Neil Burger

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet

Beatrice Prior, a teenager with a special mind, finds her life threatened when an authoritarian leader seeks to exterminate her kind in her effort to seize control of their divided society.

June 6 – The Fault in Our Stars

Movie poster for The Fault In Our Stars.

Movie poster for The Fault In Our Stars.

Author: John Green

Directed by: Josh Boone

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern

Boasting the tagline “one sick love story,” this is the first of prolific author John Green’s novels to be adapted for the silver screen.  It’s the story of two teenagers, Hazel and Gus, who meet and fall in love, their relationship complicated by Hazel’s other constant companion, an oxygen tank, Gus’s jokes about his prosthetic leg, and the fact that they met at a cancer support group.

August 15 – The Giver

Movie 4

Author: Lois Lowry

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

Starring: Taylor Swift, Alexander Skarsgard, Meryl Streep

Lowry’s classic tale about the “perfect” community, one without war, pain, or suffering and the one boy who is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.

September 19 – The Maze Runner

Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Alexander Flores, Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien and Ki Hong Lee in The Maze Runner. Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Alexander Flores, Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O’Brien and Ki Hong Lee in The Maze Runner. Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Author: James Dashner

Directed by: Wes Ball

Starring: Thomas Broodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario

In a post-apocalyptic world, young Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

November 21 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Movie 6

Author: Suzanne Collins

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Sam Claflin, Liam Hemsworth

The Hunger Games franchise is widely considered by many to be the biggest and most successful young adult franchise behind Harry Potter and Twilight.  2014 brings to the screen the first film installment of the third novel, chronicling the fight that Katniss and her allies will stage against The Capitol in search of a better world, free of the Hunger Games.

December 17 – The Hobbit: There and Back Again

Movie 7

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Starring: Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch

The final installment in The Hobbit film franchise, prequels to the popular Lord of the Rings movies, this film will answer of the questions posed by the second released just last month: can Bilbo and the dwarf company take back their treasure from the dragon Smaug?  And can they keep the vengeful dragon from harming anyone else in the process?

There is no doubt that Hollywood has found a working formula to draw in a big audience with adapted novels from the young adult genre, and we can definitely expect to see more and more of them in the coming years.  However, there is a common trend with these adaptations. The studios tend to not stay true to the novels they were derived from.  Hollywood has taken this route on many young adult novel adaptations (the most significant that come to my mind include Eragon, last year’s Beautiful Creatures, and the two movies based off of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) using the books as more of a template that can be fussed with and changed.

However, it seems as though this trend is beginning to change: the second Hunger Games film was much closer to the original book than the first and the script for The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes was rewritten before production began because of its inaccuracies.  Though the trailers for the first two releases this year (Vampire Academy and Divergent) make it appear as though Hollywood hasn’t learned from its past mistakes, trailers can be misleading and they might be some of the best adaptations from the young adult genre as of yet.

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