Book to Screen: Teen Novels

unnamedHollywood LOVES teen novels/series.  I’ve seen some of the movies and some I haven’t.  Last year I gave a pretty detailed review of Ender’s Game the movie so I won’t bother covering that one again and Harry Potter will get it’s own post. Now to decide if I should go favorite to least favorite or the reverse, or maybe just back and forth 🙂

Let’s start with one I will NOT see.  The Giver, I LOVE the book.  I convinced a kiddo to read it last year and then the book spread through the grade level, so exciting.  The story of Jonas and his “utopian” society always leads to some really interesting discussions with students and some surprisingly strong feelings.  I was excited when I first saw that there was going to be a movie and then I started seeing the trailers and was turned off.  The change in age of Jonas to start with bothered me, an 18 yr old is going to have such a different worldview than a 12 yr old, that additional 6 years of indoctrination I think would make a big change in how Jonas reacts to his training as Receiver of Memory.  I had heard from friends who’d seen the movie but not read the book and were disappointed, I asked specific questions about the movie and then suggested reading the book.  I finally read a very detailed plot synopsis and spent almost the entire time gritting my teeth and pulling my hair out.  I was gratified to read so many reviews online of others who felt the same way I did.  That this movie had nothing on the book.  This is one adaptation I will NEVER see and I would recommend you read the book and skip the movie.

I have read the Hunger Games trilogy at least a few times now.  I was really excited to see the first movie when it came out.  Going to be honest here I haven’t seen any of them beyond the first and for no particular reason.  I think at this point I’ll wait until they’re all on DVD and do a marathon as I did like the first movie.  Yep I enjoyed the movie portrayal of Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence did a great job.  I thought the movie stayed very true to the book, the things I missed were fairly small. The mockingjay pin coming not from Madge loses the subplot of SPOILER ALERT, Katniss’s mother’s childhood best friend dying in the Hunger Games or at least it seemed that way, as I haven’t seen Catching Fire who knows if it works in or not.  I’d recommend this book and it’s movie(s).

I have heard good things about the Divergent movie but haven’t seen it myself.  Honestly I don’t know if I ever will because I liked each book in the trilogy a bit less than the one before it.  I loved Diverget, Insurgent was ok but felt a bit rushed in some places, and Allegiant felt like it should have been three separate books.  I did love the end of the last book as it felt more realistic than most Happy Ever After endings.  So what about you have you seen this movie?  What did you think?

My all time favorite teen novel adaptation is The Outsiders, well once they released the 20th anniversary edition.  I was always bothered with the original movie and the skipping of the entire first chapter of the book.  I just never felt like I got to know the characters as well as we do in the book.  Still the story of Ponyboy, Johnny and their gang of Greasers is relatable to teens everywhere.  The movie does stay quite close to the book in it’s story and feelings.  I loved the movie when I first saw it after reading the book myself in eighth grade and I love it just as much today.  It’s so much fun now to look back at those actors when they were young.  Though the first time I watched it with a class after Patrick Swayze’s death and Darry was on screen I cried.  The author herself likes this movie and I think that is a great thumbs up.  Read the book AND see the movie.

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