5 YA Books That Made Classic Movies

A Guest Post by Cassie

There are many great stories that have successfully made the transition from page to screen and others that probably shouldn’t have been attempted. Whether it’s down to picking the perfect tale, assembling the best creative team or simply luck of the draw, there’s undoubtedly a scale to be found in the world of book-to-screen adaption.

These five books all provided readers with page-turning thrills but were equally loved by the fans of the big screen.

1. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

The first in a series of twelve books, “How to Train Your Dragon” follows a young Viking named Hiccup as he attempts to navigate the treacherous world of his people. This is a place where dragons are very real, and the men of the town have to find a way to live alongside them.

For fans of the film, the story is significantly different. Instead of being taught to kill dragons, in the book, villagers are forced to adopt and train the creatures as part of a rite of passage ceremony. However, you’ll be pleased to know the charming Hiccup-Toothless relationship, so perfectly captured by the Disney film, is still just as prominent in the books. If you want a more detailed analysis, check out this review.

2. The Clueless Series by Various Authors

Initially based on Jane Austen’s classic coming of age tale “Emma,” “Clueless” was a smash hit when it arrived on screens in 1995. Its timeless themes were made more accessible to a modern audience through the mischief and shenanigans of the lead character, Cher.

In a surprising turn of events, a story that started on paper before being modernized for film then created an incredibly successful spinoff book series published by Simon & Schuster. While written by a range of different authors, fans of the movie jumped at the opportunity to continue their journey with the outrageous yet loveable characters.

Although it’s not exactly an adaptation, it’s worth seeing the film before you dive into the series. Luckily, it’s currently streaming on U.S. and U.K. Netflix. For viewers overseas, this Secure Thoughts Netflix guide will show you how to gain access.

3. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 

Legendary both on the page and on screen, this masterpiece series by J.K. Rowling is a wonderful example of fiction done right. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last ten years, here’s the basic rundown: Harry Potter is an orphaned boy staying with his hateful aunt, uncle and cousin. His strange lightning scar tells stories of a past he doesn’t remember, but he can sense something is out of the ordinary.

On his 11th birthday, a magical giant shows up and tells him he’s a wizard. From then on, his life is never the same. The series is an epic saga of adventure, love, friendship, suspense and fantasy. Within the books is a comprehensive universe that is loved by fans of all generations. Rumors of three new books have also been cropping up lately after the release of the play script “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” destroyed Rowling’s claims that the saga was over after book seven.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This 2014 movie release was such a smash hit that the book it was based on immediately shot up the best-seller lists. The powerful story succeeded in capturing the hearts of all those who experienced it. No matter which medium you choose to enjoy it through, you’re guaranteed an emotional and inspirational ride.

The story follows two young cancer patients. Their lives are uncertain and their outlooks contrasting. However, amid all the craziness of medical examinations, prognoses and health equipment, the pair finds their escape in a passionate and whirlwind love affair.

Before the film, this book was a phenomenon in itself, with over 10 million copies in print. These figures transferred to the box office when the film grossed over a whopping $48 million.

5. Holes by Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar was a prominent YA writer during the 1990s, and the jewel in his crown, “Holes,” was a favorite with teenagers worldwide. The unique tale is a chronology-jumping masterpiece that expertly switches between the story of Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to juvenile detention after he is falsely accused as a thief, his 19th-century ancestors and the legend of feared outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow.

2003 saw the release of the film adaption, and it was just as successful as the books. With lead roles taken by Sigourney Weaver and a then very young Shia LeBoeuf as Stanley, it had all the ingredients to be a success. Luckily, the release lived up to expectations. The quick wit, stark settings and skillful handling of the varied chronologies and flashbacks make for a cinematic classic.

If you’re looking for a good book to pick up or a film to settle down with, each one on this list provides a fantastic option. If you know of any others you feel deserve a place, be sure to leave a comment below.


About the Author: Cassie is an entertainment blogger and hardcore bookworm. She always has a great novel on hand and a fountain of recommendations for anyone who will listen. She’s currently writing for Culture Coverage.