Page to Screen: Upcoming YA Movie Adaptations

In between reboots of this franchise, spin-offs to that one, and vaguely worded continuations of another, Hollywood often turns back to the books for creative inspiration for new movies and television shows. While not every book gets its screen debut after the rights are purchased, those that do are immediately held to a higher standard by we book people, who hope the film or TV show will honor the original while showing us something awesome that we didn’t even know we wanted.

Here are five upcoming movie or TV adaptations of young adult books that both scare and excite me.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Release date: August 3, 2018

By the time you read this, The Darkest Minds will have made its theater debut. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and starring Mandy Moore, Bradley Whitford, and Amandla Stenberg, among others, the story takes place in the near future where a plague kills most children; those who survive develop special powers that adults fear. Ruby (Amandla Stenberg), the main character, falls in with a group of teens searching for a safe haven after breaking out of the detention facilities in which they were kept by hostile adults. Here’s hoping it’s another Hunger Games and not another Mortal Instruments.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Release date: October 19, 2018

Amandla Stenberg stars in another YA book adaptation that will release just a few months after her role in The Darkest Minds. Here she plays Starr Carter, a black teenager who witnesses the fatal shooting of a childhood friend by a white police officer and decides to speak out about the injustice. Directed by George Tillman, Jr., the movie is a high-profile adaptation of a must-read book—already in the news from being challenged by law enforcement agencies—that addresses an important topic with authenticity and empathy.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeves
Release date: December 14, 2018

Peter Jackson, famed Lord of the Rings director, has wanted to make this Philip Reeves novel a movie since 2008; though he isn’t directing (Christian Rivers is), he is producing it and rumor has it the movie will have his signature style. The post-apocalyptic dystopian series takes place in a world ruled by Municipal Darwinism, a system where cities are mobile—called Traction Cities—and roam the world attacking and devouring each other, with the more powerful cities coming out on top in the resource war. Teens Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw (played by Robert Sheehan and Hera Hilmar) become unlikely allies after Tom foils Hester’s attempt to assassinate a powerful political figure; both are eventually thrown from London to their presumed death, but of course they survive long enough to unearth a huge conspiracy. This series is one of my favorites, but it’s never achieved the kind of popularity I felt it deserved; here’s hoping the movie garners sequels and makes the books explode.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Release date: March 2019 (in post-production)

I can’t wait to see how Hollywood adapt Ness’ wholly original dystopian novel, the first in the Chaos Walking trilogy. The series is set on a colonized planet called New World that is beset by The Noise, a virus that broadcasts the thoughts of every living thing in an endless stream of sound and image. Though The Noise drives some men crazy, the virus has killed all of the women. Todd Hewitt, the only young person living in Prentisstown, discovers the unthinkable—a completely silent hole in the Noise, and at the heart of it, a girl named Viola—and they are both forced to flee for their lives before she is found. Directed by Doug Liman, the movie will star Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, a power team-up if I’ve ever seen one, and even though there’s been some bumps to its schedule, it’s may still make an early-to-mid 2019 release.

Here are some others buzz-worthy adaptations in the pipeline. What about you? What book are you most excited to see on screen?

–Krista Hutley, currently reading A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge