We all want to see our favorite books adapted to the big screen. Until the time comes when the movie rights are purchased, the shooting begins, and we go from eager fans to raging skeptics. The author has relinquished creative rights? They won't even be consulted on the screenplay? The director they've chosen has done entirely different movies in the past. Don't even get us started on the casting! The trailers convey nothing and they were poorly put together. If anything, it looks as though the entire team has missed the point of the book, they've taken out pivotal scenes, they've changed the most memorable bits of dialogue and now it all resembles a first year film student's attempt to recreate The Blair Witch Project.
As fans, we want to see our books do well across all mediums. But as fans, we are also fiercely protective of the source material. Sometimes, the two are merged harmoniously and we get our heart's desire. But more often than not, our worst fears are realized come the movie premiere.
And this is why some of the time, there are books we love too much to even entertain the possibility of seeing them misunderstood, deconstructed and then redone haphazardly into something which bears only a trace resemblance to the source material. And as a nod to our own imagination, to these authors' descriptive, atmospheric writing styles and to a book sometimes being enough, we are choosing the ten we'd rather stayed books. Because they are quite simply enough.
1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Chosen by: Lexie
In many ways, Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles series was made to be adapted, across all mediums and in various shapes and forms. Which makes this somewhat of a scandalous suggestion. Especially as we've fawned over the sci-fi series on this very blog repeatedly. But the thought of this this inter-galactic war of both weapons and wits which takes place in far corners of the Earth's orbit - being adapted into a movie, renders me more than a little nervous. It's not that the core of the story couldn't be stripped down to something simple and just as beautiful as the book. But part of what we love about it is the grandiose, expansive reach the series has. From cyborgs to androids, from Earth to Luna, and from beasts to emperors, it is a world as vast as any we could possibly imagine. I'll be the first to admit how gingerly and cautiously I approached this series at first. The entire science fiction genre was something I liked in theory far more than in practice. It took Marissa Meyer about five sentences to exceed all expectation and have me racing to get my hands on the sequel. I learned an important lesson that day. Many of us don't love this series in spite of the humongous world and the futuristic, sci-fi technology. We love it because of it. No Lunar Chronicles movie would be complete without all these little details. And all these little details would require a more-than-little budget. Which means big companies. Which means Hollywood. Which means - unless Marissa Meyer was willing and able to be heavily involved with the project - running risks of a disastrous adaptation. It's not that we're prejudiced against Hollywood in its entirety. We've seen futuristic dystopia handled marvelously in, say, The Hunger Games - big studios and all. But more often than not, we've seen all manner of Disasters That Shall Not Be Named. And we love The Lunar Chronicles too much to wish for it to become one.
2. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Chosen by: NatalieThis was a book series which surprised me. I've never been into things like angels or anything remotely similar to it, but something told me to listen to the audiobooks. I was at work and in need to listen to something other than the repeated Top 40 on the radio and decided to play this. I'm glad because it was fantastic! However, even the thought of a possible movie makes me nervous because I fear it wouldn't be done right. For one, the casting has to be spot-on. Well, it does with every book adaptation, but still. This is a book series with so many wonderful characters which would have to be cast correctly. There's no use in just casting someone like Shailene Woodley who has brown hair just because the book character has brown hair. (Well, not anymore, seeing as she cut hers off, but you get my point.)
So, the idea of one of your favourite books being adapted into a movie is quite scary. It's not always a good idea, it usually ends in disaster. So, thanks but no thanks.
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Chosen by: Lexie
With the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, the situation is somewhat similar to The Lunar Chronicles, only on the fantastical side of things: a world too intricate, detailed and beautiful, the characters too complex and the expanse of the story too vast to wish to see anything less on the movie screen. Add to this Laini Taylor's evocative, lyrical prose (which I will never grow tired of praising) and the end result is a book series which stands all on its own. It's not that it could not be adapted into a movie well. We have seen angels and demons of all sorts battle it out in movies in the years and decades past. But this series is more than fantasy, more than a sum of angels and demons and chaos and boom. It is its lines and what's between them. It is its rhythm and melody. It is many things which big-budget productions don't always manage to capture well. I have created amateur fanart for the series in the past and struggled with these very issues. And with just such issues, the rule seems to be: the bigger the scale, the grander the challenge. As a fan, it would make me heartsick to see anything less than the perfection such as Laini has envisioned and depicted it on the big screen.
4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Chosen by: NatalieAnna and the French Kiss would be a beautiful movie. I can see it now - the gorgeous sights of the Eiffel Tower, the food porn and the great characters together being their usual adorable selves. HOWEVER, it could also be a nightmare. Changed, rushed and not showing the beauty of Paris, which is one of the main reasons I loved this book. Stephanie wrote it so well that it truly captures what I love about the Parisian lifestyle.
The thing with the Anna movie is that it would be so much better if it were made by an independent movie company. They should be as close to the book as possible. It is a well-cherished story and the fans really wouldn't want this messed with. Either do it properly or not at all.
5. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Chosen by: Lexie
Unlike most of the authors on this list, Maggie Stiefvater has walked away from a movie in the past. Despite stating that having one of her books adapted to big screen has been a lifelong dream, when Maggie's Shiver was optioned for a movie and the project was underway, she exercised her right to put a stop to it all and have everyone walk away from the ordeal before it ever began. And this alone is admirable beyond all rational belief. It is the case of an author who didn't like the direction the crew wanted to take her book, and chose to sacrifice a lifelong dream rather than settle for anything less than what she had originally had in mind. Since, Maggie's most critically acclaimed standalone The Scorpio Races, has been optioned for film rights, and is currently in pre-production. It is one of my favorite books in the world, and I am excited. Why, then, do I dread the same fate for The Raven Cycle? This is one where I have to admit my reasoning just isn't sound. As my favorite young adult series in the world, it is one which makes me irrational in a lot of ways - all of which I endeavor to be positive. And in that vein, suffice it to say that the true beauty of the series for me lies in unspoken complexities. It is a series where each book is more than a sum of its parts - more than what lies on the surface, and a lot that's hinted at between the lines. Its beauty also lies in Maggie's incredible narrative, in the way so much of it comes down to prose and feeling and sound and hint and atmosphere. Its true thread is insubstantial and hard to summarize, but it's there in the text in a way I fear it could never be on the screen. But in this, I feel I am very much alone. And if Maggie Stiefvater ever did decide to team up with a company and adapt it, I'd trust it would all come out better than I could ever expect. Because - as established earlier - she settles for nothing less.
6. Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens
Chosen by: NatalieThis is a tricky one, chiefly because there are many reasons this one should be left alone. And the main reason is that it's likely the Thoughtless movie would end up getting stick from the public, for "promoting cheating". Going by the Goodreads reviews alone, it seems to be quite a sensitive subject for many - enough to put them off the book itself. With the movie, where the plot is always stripped away of some of its chief components, it would be worse. The idea of one of your favourite book series being slagged to death by critics and the public isn't a nice thought. So that makes reason number one. Reason number two is the possibility of the casting choices being all wrong. Kellan would very likely not be cast properly - if there even was a way to cast the most beautiful man ever to everyone's satisfaction. And then there's the fact that the story would also end up changing - at least to an extent. The thing with us Thoughtless fans is that we have specific scenes that we are attached to, and which are pivotal parts of the relationships within the story. So the idea of them being taken out or changed is not a very pleasant one.
Lastly, people will compare it to 50 Shades of Grey, because both series are set in Seattle, they both include sex, and they are also in a marginally similar genre. They are not the same at all - not even similar - but books in different genres are always being compared for the slightest of overlaps. Look at Twilight, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. All different, and yet all frequently compared.
Also, again, it wouldn't be done right. Unless S.C Stephens and an independent company teamed up to make it, or if it was properly cast and the story adapted, it would be a good made-for-TV movie or a TV show.
I would love to see this story on screen, so badly, but it also worries me. So maybe it's best to leave it as it is. Kellan is great in my head, and he can stay in there. He's too perfect to be tampered with.
7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Chosen by: Lexie
We have seen dystopian societies successfully depicted on the big screen. We have also seen movies that feature youth with various superpowers battle it out in a blaze of glory in theaters. Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me is a little bit of both, and we have little doubt that it could be done well. As hinted in our introduction to this list, with Shatter Me our concerns are purely subjective, personal and biased. We are yet to see actors who can embody Juliette, Warner, Kenji, Adam and the rest of the "band of misfits" as we have pictured them in our minds. We are yet to envision a real-life scenario where their intricate dynamics play out as nuanced and as layered as they have been portrayed in the book. And most of all, it is monstrously difficult - all but impossible, really - to imagine any depiction of Shatter Me which is stripped of Tahereh's lyrical, magical prose. However much was retained in a voiceover narrative in the movie, it would always leave us wanting, and wishing to pause the movie and simply grab the book instead.
8. Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Chosen by: NatalieWell, the first two books are already adapted and it was a complete nightmare. Actors too old for the parts were cast, and the films weren't at all faithful to the book. The idea of them making more? That frightens me. I don't think they are as the fans weren't happy with them, so maybe in the future, they could be adapted properly. But I'd rather they didn't. The movies won't capture the hilarity and awesomeness of Percy and his friends, Rick does a great job already, so the books are enough. Just leave them alone, it won't work. It's too epic to be adapted.
9. Angelfall by Susan Ee
Chosen by: Lexie
Where Angelfall is concerned, we are not in the least bit skeptical regarding its movie potential. In theory, it could be done, and it could be done well. But in this fantasy/dystopian/post-apocalyptic scenario, it is our belief that what independent studios would lack in budget, large studios would lack in soul. The consistently foreboding atmosphere that author Susan Ee weaves throughout the entirety of the story is something which we have never seen done in a post-apocalyptic blockbuster that Angelfall would surely be marketed as. In the past, we have seen open violence and bombastic, grandiose panoramic destruction scenes. But we are yet to see the elegance to the annihialation, and the method to the madness of the angels as Susan has depicted in Angelfall. Not to mention the movies have tried their utmost to paint angels as all-around good-guys - an illusion that Susan Ee's Raffe is quick to dispel in the book.
10. Losing It by Cora Cormack
Chosen by: NatalieThis is quite a random one to put, but as I was scouring through my bookshelf, I remembered how brilliant and hilarious this book was. It was quirky, fun and humourous. If this one was adapted, you know it would get The DUFF treatment. Characters names remain, the story is completely changed. We know that Bliss wouldn't be a virgin, Garrick wouldn't be British, and we all know he'll be turned into a jock-ish arsehole. It happens with movies. I can see the trailers now: 'Mean Girls meets The Duff' or 'Mean Girls meets She's All That'. No. Please leave this one alone. It's such an adorable read and I don't want them to taint it with their Hollywood touch.
Now, having said all this, there is an important point to be made here. All of the books listed above are books we dearly love. Some are our favorites (mutual or separate). And naturally, most of their authors have a dream to someday see them adapted on the big screen. If any of these books were ever optioned and then made into a movie - we'd likely be among the first to pre-order the tickets. And we'd celebrate our favorite authors' success every step of the way. These are not the books we'd hate to see adapted - merely ones we feel have done a great-enough job of depicting it all in our minds that we don't need the movies to love them and have each hold a special place in our hearts (our hearts have lots of places). They have, in fact, done such a good job that we can't imagine a movie that would add to our love of them. In the world of Hollywood-everything, sometimes it's easy to forget that good books have merit all on their own. And a big blockbuster isn't a yardstick by which to measure their impact, success or comparative value. These books are perfect to us as books.
TOP 10 BOOKS WE'D RATHER NOT SEE AS MOVIES
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub