From the Book to the Big Screen: The Ones That Got Away

My four year old likes to watch Paw Patrol. And Shimmer and Shine. And Vampirina, and Puppy Dog Pals, and PJ Masks. She likes a lot of shows. But for some reason, she does not want to watch HBO, or go to the movie theater with me, or watch anything that isn’t animated. Thus why I’ve missed out on so many great book-to-screen adaptations in recent years.

If I had it my way, I’d love to catch up on all of these adaptations (I’ve read all of the books already):

  • 13 Reasons Why
    • Book: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  • Ready Player One

    • Book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Love, Simon
    • Book: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Hate U Give
    • Book: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • A Wrinkle in Time
    • Book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
    • Book: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Every Day
    • Book: Every Day by David Levithan
  • Wonder
    • Book: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Looking at this list, I realize that I’ve posted something about just about every one of these books – and that many of them are personal favorites. I’ve got to get these watched!

Anyone have suggestions about which titles I should tackle first?

From the Book to the Big Screen

While I usually go into a book-to-film adaptation with the caveat that “the book is better,” I’m always hopeful that the movie will do the book justice.

Here are the adaptations I managed to see this year:


Big Little Lies

Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

How I Watched: HBO On Demand

  • While I didn’t actually read this book, I read two other books by Moriarty, so I felt like I knew this would be another mystery thriller with lots of characters and storylines intertwining. This mini-series was fantastic – I mean, the cast alone knocked my socks off: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz, just to name a few. Each episode, I thought a different person was the killer and the victim! It kept me guessing all the way to the end. I highly recommend this one (but for grown-ups! Even though Zoe and Shailene are in this one, this is NOT a YA series).

The Circle

Book: The Circle by Dave Eggers

How I Watched: Amazon Prime, Kindle Fire

  • I read the book and watched the movie shortly after. I was a little disappointed by the film, because I was hoping it would more clearly illustrate the dangers of social media giants and privacy rights. The movie wasn’t quite creepy enough or as satirical as the book. The book brings up important questions that we’ll have to answer as we become more and more reliant on technology: Where do you draw the line between keeping people safe and allowing people to remain free? Where do you draw the line between endless amounts of data and being able to quantify it and really use it for good? Where do you draw the line between public and private? The movie didn’t feel quite as thought-provoking, and I’m not sure why that was.


Everything, Everything

Book: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

How I Watched: HBO

  • This movie stays pretty true to the book. It even figured out how to film conversations where the characters aren’t even in the same room in interesting and artsy ways. I even liked how the film cut out a part that I found unnecessary in the book! I’d tell you what part it is, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. So, if you liked the book, I think you’ll like the movie, too.

Crazy Rich Asians

Book: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

How I Watched: In the movie theater *gasp* with my husband!

  • Again, I haven’t read the book yet, but the movie was so delightful that I plan on reading this series in the future. The movie was just so cute and highly enjoyable. I loved Henry Golding as Nick Young – I can’t wait to see him in more movies. It’s hard to believe that this was his first movie. I also loved seeing Michelle Yeoh from the Memoirs of a Geisha movie. She’s so stunning and regal in this film. What surprised me the most about this film was the music. There were well-known pop songs, but some parts were sung in Chinese, among other languages. I just love multicultural inclusiveness! In one scene, a bride walked down the most dreamy aisle to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend this film and hope there will be a sequel.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Book: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

How I Watched: Netflix (thanks to my sister)

  • Ok, so I’ve been a fan of this series for a long time – even creating my own casting suggestions way back in 2015. I also gushed about the books here. And here. So I was bummed when the movie skipped the theaters and went to Netflix because I don’t have Netflix! Frustrating! Luckily, my sister has an account, so I finally got to watch the movie in September. The film was not as light and bubbly as the books. Lara Jean was more serious than I imagined her, and she didn’t do near enough baking. But the actor chosen to play Peter Kavinsky did a better job than I expected, and I adored John Corbett as the dad. So, I was personally a tiny bit disappointed, but also happy that so many other people loved it.

Sharp Objects

Book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

How I Watched: HBO On Demand

  • I read this book years ago, because like many others, I read Gone Girl and had to read all of Gillian Flynn’s other novels, too. Flynn is a smart, crazy writer, so if her name is attached to a project, you know you’re in for quality work with twists and darkness. The mini-series was just as creepy and chilling as I remembered, but felt much too slow and disjointed. I just wanted everything to happen faster. Since I’d read the story so many years ago, I actually couldn’t remember “whodunit,” so the series was just as suspenseful for me as the first time around.


Did you see any of these adaptations? What were your thoughts?

3 Film Adaptations I’m Excited About


If I Stay– Written by Gayle Forman, If I Stay is a 2009 novel about a teenager named Mia who has an out-of-body experience after her family is involved in a tragic car accident. Throughout the book, Mia thinks back to special moments with her family, her surprising relationship with Adam, and her future as a classical musician. Family and friends visit her in the hospital—some urging her to fight and live, and others telling her that it’s okay to let go. Ultimately, Mia must decide whether to wake up or not.

I read this book fairly recently, so it is still fresh in my mind.  I caught the trailer while watching the season premiere of Awkward on MTV. The first time I saw the trailer, it gave me chills. It looks like the film has been beautifully and lovingly adapted for the screen. Bring the Kleenex to the theater when you go see this film in August.



Gone Girl – This is the first book by author Gillian Flynn to be brought to the big screen, but others are already on their way. Flynn’s psychological thriller was one of my favorite reads this past year. It kept me guessing all the way through, and I can’t wait to see it brought to life.

Early on in the novel, Nick Dunne discovers that his wife, Amy Dunne, has gone missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick becomes the prime suspect in the case. Doubts begin to pile up as to whether Nick is innocent or not. Amy’s diary documents the couple’s declining relationship. Flynn twists the novel upside-down in the second half of the novel when it’s revealed that Amy may not have been as innocent or as honest as she once appeared. If you haven’t read this book yet, put it on your TBR list. You have until the beginning of October to get it read!



The Maze Runner – James Dashner’s YA Lit Maze Runner series was on a lot of people’s reading lists this year. The books (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order) are a bit frustrating as Dashner builds suspense by giving the reader only teeny, tiny bits of information. The book starts with Thomas arriving in a place called the Glade, but he has no memory of how he got there, or memories of life before the Glade. An organized community of boys live in the Glade. Some of the boys venture out into a giant maze each day in order to find an escape route from wherever they are—but they must return before nightfall. Massive doors keep the Glade protected from disgusting, mechanical slug creatures called Grievers that would kill the boys. Their structured way of life is soon interrupted when a girl shows up in the Glade.

You’ll be scratching your head as you read this novel. While I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of the series, I did read all four books because I had to know what on earth was going on! I was, however, impressed with the trailer of the film adaptation. I might even go so far as to say that this may be one of those rare occasions when the film is better than the book!  Check this movie out mid-September.

Which book to film adaptations are you looking forward to in 2014?