With the popularity of the movie franchises of “Harry Potter” and “Twilight,” there has been a boom in young adult books being turned into movies. Several YA books were released as movies in 2013, with more to come in 2014.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was one such movie released in 2013. This is the second movie based on the runaway bestselling series by Suzanne Collins. In this series, the twelve districts of Panem are ruled by the Iron Fist of the Capitol. Every year, each of the twelve districts must select one boy and one girl to represent their district in the annual Hunger Games, where they will fight to the death on live TV until only one victor remains. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen of District 12 volunteers to take the place of her sister, who is chosen for the games. The books and movies are not stand-alones, so be sure to watch “The Hunger Games” first, or you will be lost. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until March to view “Catching Fire” if you missed it at the theater. The third book in the series, “Mockingjay,” will be split into two movies, the first of which will be released in November of 2014.
“Ender’s Game” based on the award-winning science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card was also released in theaters in 2013. The book tells the story of Ender Wiggin, a boy who is recruited by the military to attend an elite battle school, where he undergoes rigorous, sometimes brutal, training to defeat the “Buggers,” an alien race poised to annihilate mankind. If you missed it in the theater, catch it on DVD when it is released. Read the book while you are waiting!
One of my all-time favorite books was also released as a movie in 2013. “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak, published in 2005, has won numerous awards. The book is set in Nazi Germany and narrated by Death himself. When Liesel Meminger steals her first book, “The Gravediggers Handbook,” it begins a habit of book thievery. During this tumultuous period, the books bring her and others around her (including the Jew her foster family is hiding in their basement) comfort as she reads from them. You will have to wait for the DVD on this one, too.
A couple of other 2013 movie releases worth mentioning are “Beautiful Creatures,” based on the series of the same name and “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.” Both of these series have been very popular with teens. If you are a Twilight fan, be sure to check out the books and watch the movies.
One of the first YA adaptations being released in 2014 is “Divergent,” based on the popular trilogy by Veronica Roth. In a future dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to a particular virtue. On one day each year, all sixteen year olds must select the faction to which they will belong for the rest of their lives. Beatrice Pryor must make a difficult decision whether to stay with the faction she was born into, or choose a different one. To complicate matters, Beatrice has a secret she has not shared with anyone, one that could get her killed. If you are a dystopian fan, read the books, then see the movie when it is released in theaters on March 21.
Two more highly anticipated dystopian YA movies coming out in 2014 are “The Maze Runner,” based on the book by James Dashner, and “The Giver,” adapted from Lois Lowry’s novel. If you haven’t read these two books (or the rest of their respective series) they are some of the most popular dystopian out there. “The Maze Runner” is set to be released in theaters in September 2014, while “The Giver” is slated for August.
If you are sick of dystopian YA novels, plan on heading to the theater in June to see “The Fault in Our Stars,” based on the book by John Green. This award-winning book is impossible to keep on library shelves even two years after its release. Hazel, a sixteen-year-old terminal cancer patient, is made to attend a cancer support group by her parents. There she falls in love with a fellow cancer survivor, Augustine Waters. Have some Kleenex handy when watching the movie or reading the book!
You can find all of the books mentioned (and a few of the movies that have already been released to DVD) at the library.