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?

A Box of Books

box_of_booksI recently mailed a package to the school I worked at for four years. Inside the box was a stack of books that I had picked up at the Half Price Bookstore, read, and wanted to share. Mind you, I bought these books months ago, but I couldn’t bear to part with them! I almost decided not to mail them at all. Then I looked around at our apartment (which is bursting at the seams already) and decided that since I had read the books, I could live without the physical proof. Here’s what I sent and a review in fifteen words or less, plus some notes to help you decide whether or not you should add it to your summer reading list:

  • Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson: Average teen pulls prank, earning a reputation. He then deals with rumors and ruined reputations.
    • Read Twisted if you like realistic characters and situations, and topics that are relevant to today’s teens. Also read if you liked Anderson’s other novels, like Speak.
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Accident lands a girl in a coma. She must decide to live or let go.
    • Read If I Stay if you saw the movie preview and thought it looked interesting, or if you like teenagers put in difficult situations that they must overcome. This one’s a bit of a tearjerker.
  • The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler: 1996 teens access their future Facebook pages through AOL CD. Their choices affect their futures.
    • Read The Future of Us if you enjoyed Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, or if you are interested in how technology has changed our lives in a relatively short time, thanks to the internet and Facebook.
  • Starters by Lissa Price: Elderly rent out teenagers’ bodies for fun, but teens soon become mindless weapons.
    • Read Starters if you like YA dystopian novels with strong female leads like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched. This novel has a sequel titled Enders, which I picked up from the library this week, but haven’t started yet.
  • Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian: Lillia, Kat, and Mary help one another seek revenge, but maybe they go too far…
    • Read Burn for Burn if you are tired of YA dystopian novels! This novel has three girls from different social cliques working together on revenge plots. There is also a bit of the supernatural involved. This book is followed by Fire with Fire, which I also read and enjoyed, and I’m interested to see what will happen in the third book in the series.
  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer: Meteor pushes moon closer to earth and family must survive with stockpiled food and wood-stove.
    • Read Life As We Knew It if you’re interested in finding out what life would be like if a global natural disaster really happened and you were forced to survive without grocery stores, water, heat, electricity, cell phones, and the internet. The novel is written as a series of journal entries. It is followed up by three other books in the series (which I have not read, and I’m not sure that I will).
  • The Kill Order by James Dashner: Prequel to Maze Runner series. How it all started. Mutating disease released on innocent people.
    • Read The Kill Order if you read the Maze Runner series and are still confused! While this novel still didn’t answer all of my questions, it did help explain how the disease started in the first place. It also shows what life was like right at the time of the sun flares, which are discussed in the Maze Runner books.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Kid leaves reservation school to attend a white school for hope of a better future.
    • Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian if you have ever felt like you didn’t belong in your family, community, or school. Read this book if you’ve felt like there was more to you and your potential than everyone around you imagined. As the main character is a teenage boy, I feel like boys would be drawn to this book more than girls would. Read this book if you disagree with book banning/challenging and you want to see what all the fuss is about.
  • Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen: Author of Hatchet and Brian’s Winter returns with more of Brian’s story.
    • This is the only book out of the bunch that I didn’t read. I just know that kids always like Gary Paulsen’s books. Students are captivated by Brian’s ability to survive in the wild on his own. I remember reading Hatchet and Brian’s Winter in elementary school and really enjoying them. I think I remember this unit in particular because we even got to build our own forts in the school forest. How cool is that?!

How did I do?  Do you think my box of books will be a hit with teenagers looking for something new to read?

Entry #23 – Book with a Message:


Entry #23 – Book with a message:  Discuss a book that had a meaningful message behind it.

Okay, so I couldn’t pick just one book for this post.  Instead, I went with three: Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Deadline by Chris Crutcher, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  These books couldn’t be more different from one another, but they all share important life lessons with their readers.

1.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman, a ten-year-old with a facial deformity, who is about to attend public school for the first time.  August experiences bullying—as do a few brave friends who stick by him.  You hear from Auggie’s side of the story, as well as his classmates, his teenage sister, and his sister’s boyfriend.  It’s amazing to see what they all learn from living in Auggie’s world.  You also get some great quotes about kindness thanks to an assignment from one of Auggie’s teachers.  Although Amazon lists the book for grades 3-7, I think older kids and adults will get enjoy it just as much as a younger audience.  With bullying being such a hot topic lately, this book approaches it in a beautifully simple and honest way.  Instead of demanding No Bullying or Stop Bullying, it urges Treat Everyone with Kindness, which is a message I can certainly get behind.


2.  Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Chris Crutcher is well known for his stories Athletic Shorts, Running Loose, and Chinese Handcuffs.  In Deadline, high school senior Ben Wolf finds out that he may not live to the end of his senior year.  He decides to keep his illness and prognoses a secret from everyone, and instead, decides to push himself to try new things.  He musters up the courage to ask out the gorgeous girl, he becomes a star on the football team, and he challenges his teachers.  The message here is to live each day as if it were your last.  It also challenges readers to think for themselves and not judge people by their appearances.  I recently picked up this novel at the Half-Price Bookstore, and I look forward to reading it again.  I think it’d make a great novel to use with high school juniors and seniors who are questioning what to do with their lives.


3.  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

In this novel, a teenager named Clay Jensen receives a package unlike any other.  The box contains cassette tapes narrated by Hannah, a classmate who recently committed suicide.  As Clay listens to the tapes, he comes to understand that Hannah is explaining the thirteen reasons why she was motivated to take her own life—and that only people who were part of the reason are receiving the tapes.  Clay listens to the tapes to find out why he is partially to blame.  Through rumors, ruined reputations, and teenage egocentrism, you’ll uncover what life was like for Hannah.  Readers will realize that even if they are not participating in the rumors and bullying directly, sitting on the sidelines can be just as hurtful.  The message of this novel seems to be treating others with kindness as well.  It also promotes paying attention to people around you and stepping in when necessary.  I listened to this book on audio CD before reading the book version.  I preferred the audiobook because there were different voices for the main characters, and it was almost like listening to Hannah’s voice on cassette tape.  Asher’s story is dark and troubling.  He’s going to be an author to watch.  He has also co-authored the slightly lighter story The Future of Us, which I’d also recommend reading.


What books have important messages for you?