Teen & Young Adult The 15 best Young Adult books made into movies.

Published on July 23rd, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books


The best Young Adult books made into movies

With the movie version of The Fault in Our Stars just released, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best Young Adult books made into movies.

However, we didn’t just want to list the most obvious titles – Lord of the Rings, etc. And to make our task just that little bit harder, both the book AND the movie had to be epic. So while we simply adore Harper Lee’s book To Kill a Mockingbird, the last time we watched the movie it was pretty tough going. So here it is. Enjoy!

The 15 best Young Adult books made into movies


1. The Fault in our Stars
by John Green

In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green has created a soulful novel that tackles big subjects – life, death, love – with the perfect blend of levity and heart-swelling emotion. Hazel is sixteen, with terminal cancer, when she meets Augustus at her kids-with-cancer support group. The two are kindred spirits, sharing an irreverent sense of humor and immense charm, and watching them fall in love even as they face universal questions of the human condition – How will I be remembered? Does my life, and will my death, have meaning? – has a raw honesty that is deeply moving. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. One of the most uplifting and life affirming books dealing with adversity we’ve read. And the movie is an absolute cracker also. Also the inspiration for this list of Young Adult books made into movies.


2. Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson

Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it’s been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: “My throat is always sore, my lips raw…. Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze…. It’s like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis.” What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors’ big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it’s because her parents’ only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she’s been struck mute. Laurie Halse Anderson’s first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person – who may be screaming beneath the silence. Both the book AND the movie are inspired.


3. The Book Thief
by Marcus Zusak

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller – Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul. While the movie is first class all the way too.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time. One of the soon-to-be classic books made into movies in recent times.


4. The Outsiders
by S. E. Hinton

Written forty-five years ago – when she was 16 years old – S. E. Hinton’s classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was written.

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers – until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. While both the book and the movie have aged a little, it’s still one of the sharpest Young Adult books made into movies going around.


5. The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

One of the genuine classics of twentieth-century literature, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. Both the movies (there’s two!) and the book are fast-paced, slick and provide a wonderful insight into the decadence (and despair) of the Jazz Age. One of the best Young Adult books made into movies.



6. It’s Kind of a Funny Story
by Ned Vizzini

When Craig Gilner is accepted into New York City’s elite Executive Pre-Professional High School, he believes his life is starting on the right path. After school begins, Craig finds that his life is spiraling out of control from the pressures, and he begins to contemplate suicide. Rather than actually jump off of the Brooklyn Bridge, Craig checks himself into the local hospital. In the five days he spends in psychiatric care, Craig connects with some of the other patients and learns who his true friends are, how to re-center himself, and that the only expectations he truly needs to meet are his own. With a cast of interesting characters and a very forthright teen perspective, Vizzini has penned a poignant and sometimes humorous tale. The movie provides a telling portrayal of the book.


7. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a comedy about two teens thrust together for one hilarious, sleepless night of adventure in a world of mix tapes, late-night living, and, live, loud music. Nick frequents New York’s indie rock scene nursing a broken heart and Norah is questioning all of her assumptions about the world. Though they have nothing in common except for their taste in music, their chance encounter leads to an all-night quest to find a legendary band’s secret show and ends up becoming the first date that could change both their lives. A fun, delightful and engaging romp that is a surefire hit of Young Adult books made into movies.



8. Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson

In 1976, Katherine Paterson’s son David was 8 years old when his friend, Lisa Hill, was struck by lightning and killed. A year later Bridge to Terabithia was published – winning a Newberry Medal and becoming, if such a thing is possible, an instant classic. The story – Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. This story of friendship, loss, grief and strength will touch you – so keep the tissues handy. One of the most moving classic kids books of all time! And while the movie isn’t quite up to the quality of the book… we still just had to include it.


9. The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

The first thing you need to know about this book is that it is very, very funny. And so is the movie. The author, William Goldman, is a legend in the world of screenwriting – known for his clever, crisp dialogue and engrossing narrative. Which is possibly why the screen adaption is so entertaining. This modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about; “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.” And of course, true love. Thrilling AND timeless. One of the funniest  books you’ll ever come across. And the movie is simply brilliant as well. In fact, this book/movie combination may be one of the greatest Young Adult books made into movies of all time!


10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl

A true star of children’s literature, Roald Dahl seems to know just how far to go with his oddball fantasies. In fact, it could be argued that nearly all of his stories are worthy of being included in classic kids books. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the nasty Violet Beauregarde blows up into a blueberry from sneaking forbidden chewing gum, and bratty Augustus Gloop is carried away on the river of chocolate he wouldn’t resist. In fact, all manner of disasters can happen to the most obnoxiously deserving of children because Dahl portrays each incident with such resourcefulness and humor. Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, is a boy who’s honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the weirdest and wildest time of his life! And take your pick of the two movie versions of this title. They’re both pretty good.


11. The Hobbit
by J. R. R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. Though The Hobbit is lighter in tone than the trilogy that follows, it has, like Bilbo Baggins himself, unexpected iron at its core. Don’t be fooled by its fairy-tale prose; this is very much a story for adults, though older children will enjoy it, too. By the time Bilbo returns to his comfortable hobbit-hole, he is a different person (hobbit) altogether – well primed for the bigger adventures to come – and so is the reader. The Hobbit has stood the test of time and is definitely one of the classic Young Adult books made into movies.


12. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams

Seconds before the Earth is demolished for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised Guide. Together they stick out their thumbs to the stars and begin a wild journey through time and space. Delight in Douglas Adam’s glorious imagination and laugh-out-loud wit.

At last in paperback in one complete volume, here are the five classic novels (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, and Mostly Harmless) from Douglas Adams’s beloved Hitchiker series. Best of all, the movie is spectacularly brilliant. In fact, I can’t wait to watch this movie again. Easily one of the best Young Adult books made into movies we’ve come across.


13. The Power of One
by Bryce Courtenay

In 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams – which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him. He embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and finally, the power of one.

In this magical and uplifting novel, Peekay tells the story of his survival and coming of age against the background of South Africa during and just after World War II. Best of all, the movie doesn’t lose anything in comparison to the book. Both are extremely uplifting and well told. One of our all-time favorite Young Adults books made into movies.


14. The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. The movie is a world-wide phenomenon and worthy of any list of best young adult books made into movies.


15. About a boy
by Nick Hornby

Will Freeman may have discovered the key to dating success: If the simple fact that they were single mothers meant that gorgeous women – women who would not ordinarily look twice at Will – might not only be willing, but enthusiastic about dating him, then he was really onto something. Single mothers -bright, attractive, available women – thousands of them, were all over London. He just had to find them.

SPAT: Single Parents—Alone Together. It was a brilliant plan. And Will wasn’t going to let the fact that he didn’t have a child himself hold him back. A fictional two-year-old named Ned wouldn’t be the first thing he’d invented. And it seems to go quite well at first, until he meets an actual twelve-year-old named Marcus, who is more than Will bargained for. Hugh Grant stars in this thoroughly entertaining movie that never takes itself too seriously. One of our favorite young adult books made into movies of all time!

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- thinking kids can change the world.

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