If you had to think about young adult books that were turned into movies, chances are Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight are some of the first titles that pop into your head. There are many mainstream novels that have had film adaptations. This list is the opposite of that. Here are ten lesser-known young adult book-to-film adaptations.
Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak is the 1999 book and the 2004 movie starring Kristen Stewart. The book/movie is about high school freshman Melinda Sordino. Melinda stops speaking and becomes isolated after she busts the end-of-summer high school party by calling the cops. Nobody will talk to her or acknowledge her. Only art class gives her some relief and therapy. There she is able to work through what really happened at that party, that an upperclassman raped her and is still a threat to her daily life. While trying to heal, Melinda learns the importance of speaking up for yourself.
The Spectacular Now – Tim Tharp
The Spectacular Now is the 2010 book and 2013 movie of the same name featuring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. This is the story of Sutter Keely: he’s a people person, the type of guy everyone wants at their party. He has no plans for college or work; he’s happy as long as he has plenty of ladies and Seagram’s. This all changes when he wakes up on a strange lawn, Aimee’s front lawn. Aimee is the opposite of Sutter, a social disaster. Sutter decides it up to him to show Aimee a good time and then let her go. But before he knows it, Sutter is in over his head. He realizes he can make a difference in someone else’s life or ruin it forever.
The Fallen – Lauren Kate
Fallen is the 2009 book and 2017 movie of the same name. The movie features Jeremy Irvine, Addison Timlin and Harrison Gilbertson. The story follows Lucinda, “Luce”, Price as she arrives at the Sword and Cross boarding school for troubled teens. She meets some other students at the school, but she is instantly drawn to Daniel. He seems so familiar to her. Daniel, however, wants nothing to do with Luce, and he makes that clear to her. Luce will do whatever it takes to find out what Daniel is hiding from her, even if it kills her.
Cirque Du Freak – Darren Shan
Cirque Du Freak: A Living Nightmare is book one in the Darren Shan saga. The Vampire’s Assistant is the 2009 movie based on the books, starring John C. Reily, Josh Hutcherson, and Chris Massoglia. When the freak show Cirque Du Freak comes to town, Darren and his friend Steve sneak out to attend a show. In the middle of the show, Steve realizes one of the performers is a vampire. Steve stays after to confront the vampire while Darren hides in the shadows watching. Soon Darren is in the middle of the dark and dangerous world of vampires and monsters.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is the 1847 novel and 2003 made for TV movie starring Erika Christensen and Mike Vogel. This is Emily Bronte’s only published novel, a passionate love story between Catherine and Heathcliff. After Heathcliff’s adopted father’s death, he is bullied by Catherine’s brother. Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights but returns years later. He is now a wealthy man who seeks revenge for the past wrongdoings done to him. The movie is a modern twist on this classic tale.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the title of both this classic teen novel and the 2012 movie, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. Charlie is a high school freshman that is dealing with his best friend’s suicide while managing his mental illness. Sam and Patrick are two high school seniors who decide to take Charlie under their wing and show them what real life truly is.
Stardust – Neil Gaiman
Stardust is the fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman and 2007 movie of the same name. The movie features Michelle Pfeifer, Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Cox, and Claire Danes. The story follows young Tristan (Tristran in the book) and his adventures in the land of Faerie. Tristan has fallen in love with Victoria, and as a birthday gift offers to go fetch a fallen star on the other side of the wall.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
This book and 2015 movie of the same title stars Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, and Olivia Cooke. Greg is a part of every social group at school without having any actual friends. That is, until his mom makes him befriend Rachel. Rachel is a girl he used to go to Hebrew school with who has been diagnosed with leukemia.
Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy is the first book in the Vampire Academy series; the movie was released in 2014, featuring Lucy Fry and Dominic Sherwood. Vampire Princess Lissa and her guardian in-training Rose return to St. Vladimir’s Academy after a horrible incident made then run two years ago. One is focusing on mastering magic while the other studies physical training while trying to avoid the cliques, gossip, and plots of the other students.
I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
This 1948 book and 2003 movie starring Romola Garaj and Bill Nighy tell the story of Cassandra. For six months of 1934, Cassandra tries to hone her writing skills. She fills her journals and notebooks full of stories of her rundown family castle home and her poor family. By the time she writes her last entry, Cassandra’s life has changed greatly. The most important change is falling in love.