YA books have become the go-to for movie-making material. But long before producers snatched The Hunger Games, Twilight, and I Am Number Four for film, television networks adapted well-known teen reads into episodic shows. In 1999, the WB took Melinda Metz’s YA alien series, Roswell High, and created the cult TV show, Roswell. Currently, the CW airs The Vampire Diaries, a blood-lusty show based off of L.J. Smith’s 1991 novels of the same name.
What other YA books would make excellent television shows? Here’s the list:
by Wendy Higgens — “What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?” Uh, yes please! The Son of Lust lives up to his name and seduces a plethora of women – and it doesn’t hurt that he’s the star in a rock band. Set in a southern Georgia town, Anna Whitt must control her urges to do bad things. As the Daughter of Substance Abuse, she is highly addicted to alcohol and drugs. The catch? She must influence others to use them without imbibing herself. We haven’t seen many demons and angels shows since, well, Angel, but even that focused more on vampires.
by Cynthia Hand — Angels, galore! Clara struggles with her 1/4 angel side. Her hair is shockingly vibrant – garnering some unwanted stares – and she hasn’t even managed to figure out how to fly yet. A war wages between angles and the fallen, but beyond the plot, the Wyoming setting of Unearthly makes this angel story a unique one. Snowboarding angels? Check. Bear encounters? Check. Hiking? Of course. Add in Unearthly’s dynamic characters, and this one is a perfect fit for television.
by Brigid Kemmerer — The Merrick brothers share a secret. They can control the elements: water, fire, earth, and air. Storm is an under-the-radar YA novel that I highly recommend. I propose the adoption of this giddy (and oh so hot!) read because it includes a kick-butt heroine (thanks to Becca Chandler’s efforts to learn Krav Maga), cool powers and five hot boys.
by Simon Holt — “When dark creeps in and eats the light, bury your fears on Sorry Night. For in the winter’s blackest hours, comes the feasting of the Vours. No one can see it, the life they stole. Your body’s here, but not your soul…” A horror show! The Devouring is the best YA horror novel I’ve ever read. The Vours feed on fear and once you learn of their existence, they’ll make your worst nightmares come to life. With the winter setting and a town called Cutter’s Ridge, this series needs to be packaged with a tight little bow and all the creepy things sealed inside.
Anna and The French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins — Anna is shipped off to boarding school in Paris – leaving behind her best friend, a great job and a super-hot crush all in Atlanta, GA. Then she meets Parisian (and English-American), Etienne St. Clair. The only problem; he’s taken. While Anna and the French Kiss has a simple premise, Anna’s witty voice will keep any reader interested. And if the right writers came on board, that most definitely could be translated into television.
by Julie Cross — 19-year-old Jackson Meyer can travel back through time — which is useful when a stranger unexpectedly shoots his girlfriend. Jackson must return to 2007 and find out why someone wants to kill Holly. Dr. Who doesn’t have a monopoly on time travel and Tempest already reads like a movie thanks to Julie Cross’ vivid writing.
What’s your books-into-television wish list?
- Becca Ritchie