It’s been a few months since Rebecca and I did an AW article, books we’re reading and loving…or not so much. It’s not that we haven’t been reading. The issue, or gift, is that we’ve been reading a ton!
Not all of these books are scheduled for movie adaptation, but some of them should be. And some you should just pick up and read.
I’ll start with my favorite book I read in 2017: The Forgetting by Nicole Maggi. I was fortunate this year to read three books I couldn’t put down; The Forgetting though left me breathless. Teenager Georgie Kendrick wakes up from a heart transplant with an odd catch to the rhythm of her new heart. As Maggi writes in her novel, Like my heart wasn’t beating for me. It was still beating for its old owner. Thus starts a suspenseful, supernatural journey to discover who her Jane Doe donor was and why she died. Before you groan that this is new spin of the awful Madeleine Stowe movie Blink, I’m telling you it isn’t. This YA novel is fast-paced, original, and tackles subject matter that most teens don’t think about but should, especially in our increasingly dangerous world of social media and accessibility. High adaptability rating!
Infandous by Elana K. Arnold was the book that surprised me. It’s a relatively short YA novel, only 189 pages. I picked it up at a YA book event where the author was speaking. I don’t know why, but I thought it was going to be a fantastical story dipping into fairy tale lands. I was wrong. It wasn’t what I expected at all, which may be why I liked it so much. A huge departure from what I read and write. Sephora lives at Venice Beach with her former model mom and no clue who her dad is. The story follows her peculiar, obsessive relationship with her mom and her own struggles through teen life. The ending is shattering and will polarize readers. I loved it. Readers on other forums find it disturbing and morally wrong. Guess that depends on how you interpret what you read. What you will read is one of the few beautiful, accurate depictions of Venice Beach, CA. Low adaptability, maybe in the hands of the right indie director.
Rounding out my top favorite reads are Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. Yes, I was late to pick up Cassandra Clare’s latest Shadowhunters installment as I wasn’t overwhelmed by the fairy letter at the end of City of Heavenly Fire. I’m still angry at the Seelie Queen for teaming with Sebastian. The idea of seeing this world I’ve grown to love plunge into the same mistakes that lead to the rise of the Nazis and WWII made me hesitant. And that’s exactly what Clare is setting up with this series. But I’m falling in love with all the Blackthorns and Emma and new side characters like Cristina, Kieran, and Gwyn. Also, I respect that Clare never shies away from characters grappling with nontraditional sexual orientations and the stigmas related to being transgender or bi. Shadowhunters is already a TV show, so, yeah, pretty high adaptability rating here.
Another fun read a friend handed me last year was Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. It’s a little like taking the Jedi order and dropping them into a Russian fairy tale, but you don’t know if the order is really Sith or not. I enjoyed getting lost in a culture I don’t typically read. The novel isn’t set in Russia, but it’s heavily influenced by the country’s folklore and landscape. And for readers of The Hunger Games who hated that she chose Peeta over Gale, you’ll get your victory with this book. Great thing about this book, it’s a series! Can’t wait to read more. Medium adaptability. In the wrong hands or low production value, film adaptation would fail.
I also had the privilege to not only read but interview a handful of amazing authors last year. (Read all our interviews here.)
With her debut novel, Elsie Moody wrote one of the few romance books I appreciate. I love a little romance mixed in with my action, fantasy, and some good sword fighting. Buzzworthy: A Hollywood Romance doesn’t have any of that. But it has well-rounded characters and an honest insight into Hollywood. Discover Elsie Moody here.
For your dose of inspiration, check out my interview with Martha Brookhart Halda, author of the memoir The Fragrance of Angels. After what was reported as her fatal car accident, Martha returned from a Near Death Experience with a new lease on life and grit and determination that will leave you reflective and hopeful. If you haven’t had a chance to check out my interview with Martha, go here.
2018 looks to be a brighter year than 2017 in adaptations. The highly anticipated Ready Player One is scheduled for a March release as is A Wrinkle in Time, starring the apparent presidential hopeful, Oprah. 12 Strong: Horse Soldiers starring Chris Hemsworth is currently in theaters. The Alienist TV show on TNT, starring that guy we all hated yet sympathize for in Captain America: Civil War, Daniel Bruhl, and Luke Evans airs this month. Also scheduled to release later this month is Monster, the film based on Walter Dean Myers’ YA novel, and Ophelia, starring Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts, based on Lisa Klein’s novel and, yeah, Hamlet. February brings us The Tale of Peter the Rabbit and the adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. And that is only the first three months!
I can’t wait to hit the theaters this years and the library/bookstore. Be sure to follow Novel2Screen to keep up on all the excitement!
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