With the film adaptation of the epic dystopian novel, The Hunger Games, coming out in theaters this Friday, I thought it might be fitting to talk about a couple of other great young adult books made into movies. Personally, I love when my favorite books are even talked about being turned into movies (Uglies, where are you?). Many people don’t, because these people have the tendency to be very picky and end up getting increasingly frustrated with each line, character, or scenery change. I am definitely one of those people (
Harry Potter 1-6), but it is fantastic to see the things you once could only imagine displayed on the big screen.
First, there’s Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: I remember watching this film for the first time in my Peer Counseling I class in high school, and then hearing that the main actress was going to play Bella in the Twilight franchise. The film and book deal with some heavy issues, including rape, bullying, and abuse. It’s an easy read with an not-so-easy subject to handle, but if you can, I recommend it. Laurie Halse Anderson has a way of writing that makes you believe she is the character. In each of her books I’ve read, I would have to remind myself that I’ve read from this author before. I think that’s a sign of a good writer. The film is a great adaptation of the book. Some emotion and tension was missing, but the artwork and the dialogue (especially that of Kristen Steward) is wonderful. Even though it was a Lifetime TV release, it’s definitely worth the watch, and not just for people who have read the book.
Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story…
Is my favorite young adult book of all time, and consequently, one of my favorite movies now as well. The book introduces us to Craig, a New York teenager dealing with more than the average amount of stress faced by most young adults in America; he goes to one of the best pre-professional high schools in the nation, he’s in love with his best friend’s girlfriend, and oh yeah, he has clinical depression. The novel follows Craig as he goes from a suicidal night on the Brooklyn Bridge through a week in the adult psych ward of Algernon hospital. As movie versions go, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, the movie, blew my mind. It was hilarious and cerebral, just as much as the book had been. The characters were just as lovable and relatable as Vizzini had written them to be and the narration of Craig’s thoughts was straight from the pages. Though, not everything from the book was the same in the film, it was one of the acceptable examples of taking elements from the novel and from the screenwriter’s own ideas. It was perfect (even Zach Galifianakis, surprisingly), and if you are one of the unfortunate people who hasn’t seen it yet, do it now; I’m serious.
The last movie and book I am going to talk about is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Now, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have high hopes for it. Those of us who have seen the trailer and read the book know already one of the changes they made, though it’s minor (MADGE!). I’m excited to see what they’ve done with the book. I am also crossing my fingers that they show quite a large chunk of the actual “games” and that they don’t focus on the romantic elements of the novel. There are so many more important themes in the book, including: poverty, rebellion, and sacrifice; if they don’t show up in the film more than a vapid love triangle, I will have lost my faith in the scrap of Hollywood that I still trust to produce worthy entertainment.
In closing, I hope to hear what most of you thought about The Hunger Games movie next week, and I’d like to hear about your own favorite movie adaptations.
The trailer for The Hunger Games, if you have yet to see it: