Being a teenager can be complicated. You go to high school, you might fall in love, and you might even spearhead a revolution to overthrow a tyrannical government. In honor of “Divergent” hitting theaters on Friday, March 21, we’re celebrating by looking back on the five best young adult book-to-film adaptations.
1. “Harry Potter” Series
For ten years, J. K. Rowling’s story of "The Boy Who Lived" was taken from page to screen in one of the most successful franchises in film history. The seven-book (and eventually eight-film) series spun tales of friendship, bravery and even included the occasional Nargle, ushering an entire generation through childhood and beyond. The Harry Potter films may occasionally stray from the novels, but they repay fans by lifting conversations directly out of the books and bringing Hogwarts and all of the wizarding world's fantastical creatures to life.
2. “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower”
In the race of “who stayed closest to their source material,” this film definitely takes the cake. “Perks” has long been seen as a challenge to bring to the silver screen, seeing as the book is written as a series of letters, includes several flashbacks and narration by the main character Charlie. But the main reason for the 2012 film adaptation's success? The author wrote and directed it! Watching Stephen Chbosky’s characters come to life the way they’re supposed to is the closest we’ll ever get to real magic. Oh, and the tear-jerking realness of it all will have you coming back for more when all is said and done.
3. “Hunger Games”
In a world where teens are sent to fight to the death in the televised Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is the accidental heroine we were all wishing for. Because the Hunger Games are seen from Katniss’s point of view, the film occasionally shares information that she isn’t privy to, creating more depth in the story and its other characters. Suzanne Collins’s story of the girl who started a revolution translates to the big screen so well, fans are obsessively counting down the days until the release of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” on November 21.
4. “The Spectacular Now”
“The Spectacular Now” transcends the idea of a basic teen romance and brings an edgier, darker tone to the story of party animal Sutter Keely and wallflower Aimee Finicky. Both the novel and 2013 film have been praised for displaying real characters and not sticking to polished dialogue or any notions of what teens should be. Though the book ending differs from its on-screen companion, hardcore fans had no complaints as both endings were satisfying and kept with the novel’s slice-of-life format.
5. “Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants”
Who would’ve thought that a mysterious pair of jeans would help guide four girls through the minefield that is being a teenager? As a film with the same general storyline as the book, “Sisterhood” is a perfect example of taking artistic liberties and still capturing what drew fans to the book in the first place. Stories may not have played out like they did in the book, but the “Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants” was still successful enough to spawn a sequel – and the cast reunited last year and have been vocal about the possibility of taking it back to the big screen.
What's your favorite young adult novel adapted for the big screen? Let us know in the comments!