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Monday, December 2, 2013

Top 10 YA Books Made into Movies

by Jenny Ramaley

One of the highlights of Thanksgiving break was when our entire family went to see the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. Even though our youngest turned 20 in October, YA books are still bring us together. How cool is that?

Those teen years were tough. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about, and if you’re not there yet, accept my sympathies for what’s coming. But no matter how challenging things got at our house, books gave us something to share and to talk about – and the resulting movies gave us something to do together. Being able to ask a teen if they preferred the book or the movie, and the discussion that follows – priceless!

Here are my favorite YA books that have been made into movies. I’d love to hear your favorites!

1.     The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins. The first book made a great movie. The second is even better. Usually I prefer the book, but “Catching Fire” does a great job of capturing the fear and horror that’s driving the people in the Districts to revolution.

2.     The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer – although people seem to have strong ‘love it or hate it’ feelings about the books, the movies are great fun. And what’s not to like about Robert Pattison’s hair?

3.     The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. An oldy but goody made even better when you tell your teens it was written by a 16 year old girl. The movie pales in comparison to the written word, but it’s fun to see how the young cast of characters turned into a who’s who of big name actors.

4.     The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Amazing book, amazing movie with incredible performances. WRITTEN BY A PITTSBURGHER, PLUS THEY FILMED IT HERE! That tunnel where she stands up in the back of the truck? We drive through it all the time.

5.     The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares. Loved the books and the movies, too. Deals with some tough topics (like how sex too soon and too young can be awful) but not in a preachy way.
6.     Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Another story that deals with a tough topic (rape). Both the book and movie are well done, but if the writing style doesn’t appeal to your teen, skip the written version and go straight to the film. Just don’t skip this story – it should be read or seen by every young person before they start high school.
7.     To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This book, which was required reading in our school district, presents a writing style that’s quite different from today’s often more casual approach. Follow the book with a family movie night – a surefire way to an interesting discussion on race and justice in the U.S.
8.     Holes by Louis Sacher.
9.     The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
10. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. No list of books-to-film would be complete without the story of Harry, Hermione and Ron. Our girls had the joy of reading the books as they were published – and long before the movies came out. I hope today’s families can encourage their sons and daughters to read this series before seeing the movies. But that’s just my two cents.

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