Young Adult books are a goldmine. Not just for bookstores, but for cinemas as well. Think about the great series you’ve seen and loved like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. And while Harry Potter started out as a kids series, it ended pretty much as YA. But not every adaptation lifts of a series. Filmmakers hope to score to get a three or five movies deal. These YA film adaptations sadly failed so hard, there never even was a sequel. Time for some remakes, maybe?
Beautiful Creatures (2013)
I feel like the Beautiful Creatures book series doesn’t get enough praise. I hardly ever see it on people’s favorites lists. And that’s too bad, because these are very, very enjoyable books. I had a blast reading them. Maybe I’ll write a complete series review one day, like I did with Magnus Chase. Let me know if that’s something you’d like! The books are part of the Caster Chronicles which consist of four books: Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption. Check them out if you get the chance!
Sadly, the film adaptation was just one big mess. It messed up the characters from the book, left important characters out and was just laughable at some points. It all felt really rushed, whereas the book takes time to introduce everything, from the setting to the characters. It’s a sloppy and cheesy adaptation. The books deserved so much better. A plus for the film was the acting, as the actors did the best they could with such a lame scripts. The casting was great. I hope this one day will be turned into a new adaptation. Maybe for television, this time around? It certainly deserves more love.
The Fifth Wave (2016)
Another cool bookseries with a terrible adaptation. The first book was so different to other genre books, and the whole setting was just so gloomy. It was very well written and I loved it. The second book, The Infinite Sea was different compared to the first book. I still liked it, but not as much as The Fifth Wave itself. And due to a lack of time and a pile of books I want to read first, I haven’t gotten around to reading the last book, The Last Star. It’s sad to be a bit of a let down… But I’ll find out for myself sometime. It’s actually on my bookshelves already.
Anyway, the adaptation. I really disliked it and even couldn’t get myself to watch it in one session. There’s not much to praise here. The plot, the acting (even though there are some great actors in it) and special effects are the worst. And it rushes through everything. You never really get to know the characters or their feelings. It’s just go, go, go. One scene, next scene, other characters, different setting, back to the first group, and so on. It’s a mess and it’s all over the place. I understand why there never was a sequel. Maybe it’s for the best.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
Disclaimer: I disliked the books. I really wanted to like them (since they overall get high praise and the fanbase is huge) and even read the first three novels. But I couldn’t get through them. I found the story was terribly predictable and at times even poorly written. Sorry fans. This is just not my series. It happens. But as this is a series of six books (with Cities of Bones, Ashes, Glass, Fallen Angels, Lost Souls and Heavenly Fire), and most people tend to like them, I totally get why it got a film adaptation. And obviously, I had to see it because that’s the way I roll.
Big mistake. Oh boy, this is such a terrible, terrible film. Out of all YA film adaptations on this list, this might just be the worst. I can’t name one single redeeming quality. Yet, even though it (and rightfully so) never got a sequel, Hollywood saw the potential of this series. So, it got an adaptation for television. Which is… even worse. Oh my, either this is just in no way the series for me, or the source material actually is that bad. Please cancel this and make other more awesome YA film adaptations. Please.
I Am Number Four (2011)
This is such an interesting setting. And even though I only read this book and not all other novels in the series, I really enjoyed it. It was something different altogether and not your standard YA. The Lorien Legacies series consists of no less than seven books: I Am Number Four, The Power of Six, The Rise of Nine, The Fall of Five, The Revenge of Seven, The Fate of Ten & United as One. Yeah, they really like numbers. The books have generally favorable reviews.
Poor Alex Pettyfer. He is the king of failed YA film adaptations. Alex Rider: Stormbreaker, Beastly and Number Four were all supposed to have sequels, yet they all flopped. This one certainly had a lot of potential. It’s one of the best on this list even. And while it’s not the best film ever, it’s pretty entertaining. If one of these films deserved a sequel, it’s this one. The Power of Six was supposed to happen, but when I am Number Four failed to impress the box office, the project was cancelled. And now, if they ever want to make it, everybody has to be recast as the young actors are now too old for these parts. So chances are better for a complete reboot.
The Golden Compass (2007)
This is actually the odd one out on this list, as Philip Pullman wrote his acclaimed trilogy before the Golden Age of Young Adult novels. Hell, I don’t even think the genre existed yet, not as it does nowadays. The His Dark Materials trilogy has these titles in it: Northern Lights (but known as The Golden Compass in America), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. These books are a-ma-zing. There are by far the best on this list. If you haven’t read them yet, please do so. Philip Pullman wrote a prequel just last year: the Book of Dust.
The film adaptation had high hopes. The cast was truly amazing, with big names like Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Eva Green and Ian McKellen on board. And the source material is, as said, great. So where did this go wrong? Well, go and see the movie and see for yourselves. As adaptations go, this is a terrible one. A lot of the source material was left out, and a lot of the major themes were diluted. Philip Pullman was disappointed with the film. Due to the box office flop that it was, both sequels were cancelled. But, great news! The BBC is going to make a tv series out of His Dark Materials. I have very high hopes for that adaptation! It’s still in development so nothing much is known yet.
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
Maybe the Spiderwick Chronicles shouldn’t be on this list, as both the books and the film are targeted for a younger audience. But still, as I really enjoyed the books, I added it. The books are by artist Tony DiTerlizzi and author Holly Black. Black also brought us YA books like The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. The books have very exquisite titles: The Field Guide; The Seeing Stone; Lucinda’s Secret; The Ironwood Tree; The Wrath of Mulgarath.
The Spiderwick Chronicles film rushed through all five books in one film. And even though it got generally OK reviews, that’s why there never was a sequel. The film is pretty enjoyable, but for those who read the books, not nearly enough. And as faeries and the Fey are the next big thing at the moment, I vote for a new adaptation for the Spiderwick Chronicles. Either as a filmseries or as a television show; either is fine with me. I really want to see all five books each getting the attention they deserve.
You know what? I’m just not going to waste my time writing about Eragon. The books of the Inheritance Cycle were a total waste of time and the film was equally bad (though points for having both Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich in it). My advice: don’t waste your time with either. There are plenty of other novels and YA film adaptations that are much, much, much better. Most of them are, actually.
Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak (2010)
Ah, Darren Shan. There are twelve (12!!!) books in the Darren Shan series and I absolutely LOVED the first 11 books. I was smitten. They were funny, fast paced, had great characters and very cool plots. Such a great series! And then, there was book 12, which pretty much ruined everything for me. If you want to talk about terrible last books in a series, Sons of Destiny is on the very top of that list, together with Terry Goodkind’s Confessor. Ugh. So much hate. Such lazy writing.
Either way, I was thrilled when a film adaptation was announced. It had a great cast and a great plot, what ever could go wrong? Well, pretty much everything. The story was very different from the book, the acting was terrible (look up overacting in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of the Darren Shan cast) and the whole setting was too loud and colorful. It just didn’t have the same atmosphere as the book. So maybe it was a good thing this flopped. I really hope Netflix or the BBC will pick this up in the near future, as I think this will be great as a television series. I just won’t watch the ending. I’m still mad at that.