So The Mortal Instruments has just been released, and Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, The Book Thief, and Vampire Academy are in the pipeline. It’s clear that now’s the time for Young Adult book adaptations. So as we reread and wait, I thought I’ll take a trip down memory lane and look at the explosion of adaptations that have become a phenomena in my life so far.
I guess my story, as many others my age, starts with the unforgettable series that is Harry Potter. I read The Chamber of Secrets in 1999, after seeing the press surrounding The Prisoner of Azkaban. And before you say anything, yes I read the second one before the first because my mother brought me back the wrong book. At age 6, it gave me nightmares, and I didn’t touch another Potter book for two years, until the movie release of The Philosopher’s Stone. Harry Potter was a big part of many people’s childhood, and in my case I literally grew up with it, with the last film being released when I was 17. I think the key reason why people loved it so much was because even though it was about a fantastical world, it was so relatable. And the world was astonishing! The amount of detail that was in it made you really connect with the world, and dare I say it, believe it could exist.
The year was 2006, and I was in a bookshop when I saw a mysterious black book with white hands and an apple. I was 13 and new to YA, and this book grabbed my attention with how adult it looked. I picked it up and saw the words “vampire” and put it straight back down. For me, vampires were something out of a horror story, completely terrifying (flash-forward seven years and I still can’t watch horror films). Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the story and bought it. And I was obsessed. Back then, only Twilight and New Moon was out, so I was counting down the days to Eclipse. Honestly, I cannot remember for the life of me why I loved it so much. Maybe it was the forbidden love idea. Maybe it was because I had never read paranormal romance before. In fact, two years later, I was completely off it, so much so that I didn’t go see the movie. Not that one person’s changed attitude to it mattered, because the rest of my all-girls school had gone nuts. On the opening day, I swear my whole class flocked to the cinema. If you want to know about my current opinion of Twilight, look at my Goodreads rating for it.
The Hunger Games
Okay, I was late to the Hunger Games party; I heard about it a few months before the film was released. I have to say, I wasn’t quite as into it as other people were, I don’t know if it’s because I hadn’t read the books that long before I saw the film. But I was blown away with how different it was to all the other YA I had read before. I think the reason The Hunger Games took off like it did was because it came at the right time. Twilight-mania had died down, and after years of Bella Swan being thrust in our face, Katniss Everdeen was a breath of fresh air. There was a female heroine girls could aspire to, and an incredible action packed story for everyone to get behind. It was dark and moving, and I’m not surprised it did so well.
The Common Denominator
Nothing. Well, there is something. People buy into a good story. Oh, we’ve had flops. Beautiful Creatures and The Host being this year’s ones. I think something to note is that all of these “crazes” have happened with good time between them. Yeah, there’s been some overlap, but none of them have happened too close together. Also all three are remarkably different from each other, which is why movie people (though I doubt any of them are reading this), should be less focused with looking for “the next…” and get something original out. I know the reason I didn’t see/ read Beautiful Creatures was because I saw the trailer and thought, “it looks like they’re trying to sell this as the next Twilight”. One other link is that people know about the book before the film. I think that’s quite easy to forget in the book community because we are always talking to people who have read the books, but an example is, despite nearly everyone I know online having read Divergent and for sure, TFioS, I know a few of my friends haven’t even heard of the books, but would definitely enjoy them.
What I’m saying is… Well, I don’t really have a point here. Since I’ve grown up with the boom in book adaptations and mania, and have been part of it, I’ve always been interested in it. It’ll be great to know what everyone else thinks on the whole matter, so leave some comments below!