Top Ten Books I Want Made into Movies or TV Shows

Before I get started on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I just want to note that many of these are not books I love. In fact, I often think that not that great books make pretty awesome movies (or work better in a visual medium) because movies and TV hit notes differently than books do. I’m thinking here of both Legally Blonde and Derby Girl. I don’t particularly care for the Legally Blonde movie, and I think the book is a disaster. But! The basic premise was there, so the screenwriting team was able to make it work and make it better. Derby Girl feels like more of an outline than anything, but the author (also the screenwriter) turned it into a really good movie (Whip It!) that puts the (less than) mediocre book to shame.

Top Ten Tuesday

1. You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle: This wasn’t originally on my list, but after thinking about it, I think it’d make a really good TV show. The characters have dynamic relationships with each other, and the personal conflicts they have would play well into a bigger arc about the societal conflicts they face. I could really see a show playing around a lot with the documentary part (kind of like the Docuventary episodes in Felicity). Bonus: meta-narratives! And isn’t meta always fun?

2. Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith: I didn’t particularly like the way passing was handled in this book (and I haaaaated the ending), but I think a movie could do a lot to highlight the tension and fear Ida Mae experiences both at home and in the service. Plus, I would love to see Patsy Kake in action. I’m just saying.

3. The Magic Christmas by Francine Pascal: Okay, yes, Sweet Valley Twins, but. This book is such a good stand alone, and it doesn’t really require understanding the backstory of the twins or knowledge of the world. In fact, any old set of twins will do, which is why I think it works so well. This is a fun fantasy novel with a cool setting, and the conflicts are sibling/twin-universal and not just Elizabeth and Jessica focused. Excellent movie material.

4. Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom: The whole time I read this book I pictured it as a Can’t Hardly Wait type movie, so the leap to the big screen is logical as far as I’m concerned.

5. Cara Lockwood’s Bard Academy books: I think these books would make a fun TV show. It’s about a boarding school for juvenile delinquents with classic book characters that come to life. Think Once Upon a Time but with teens and smart literature references and no flashbacks/fairybacks. So…gold, basically.

6. Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis: Someone on Goodreads said this would make a good cartoon, and I couldn’t agree more. The ginormous dog and the Men in Black style agents just cry out for an animated treatment. Also, there’s a talking dictionary. I mean, come on. There’s probably enough here for a television series, but a movie would also do nicely.

7. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: Like Before Sunrise but with teenagers and art. Sort of in the same vein of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (another movie I preferred to the book!). I like this book a lot, and I would love to see this kind of story in a movie. Basically, as evidenced by my inclusion of Ditched, I love stories that take place over the course of one night/day.

8. The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab: This book is plot-driven and action-packed and Die Hard-esque. So, really, I don’t know why it hasn’t been optioned yet. I would be pissed if this book were turned into a movie and all of the interesting roles went to boys, though. That’s pretty much the only way this book could be ruined by being turned into a movie.

9. Michele Jaffe’s Bad Kitty series: I think these books would make a fun movie. They’re caperesque with great characters and mystery. Also, I love smart characters, and even the most seemingly shallow characters are assets to the team. Plus, I like the idea of a group of girls ( and one boy) solving crimes together.

10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: I found this book slow at the beginning and a little hard to get into (my daughter and her friends did not particularly care for this book because of that), but, as a film, that slowness would be eliminated because Queenie’s plight as a prisoner would be much more engaging if it were visually rendered. Plus: female spies! Win!

Book Review: You Look Different in Real Life

There was the version of me I created to show the world, and the version of me that felt like me…and I can’t tell where they overlap.

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer CastleAll young adult literature is concerned with identity. If you ever study young adult literature, that’s one of the first things you learn. One of the things I loved about Jennifer Castle‘s You Look Different in Real Life is that it’s explicitly concerned with constructing identity as a teen–with the added twist of knowing (and not just thinking) everyone is actually watching you. (The characters are part of a documentary film series that started when they were six and checks in with them every five years.)

Castle handles each teen’s persona deftly while also showing that none of them are exactly as they appear. Except, perhaps, for Rory who is exactly who she says she is. (I also like that Rory–who knows exactly who she is–has found a niche and friends.) I also really like the focus on the performance aspect–that the teens have an agenda and reasons for wanting to be seen a specific way. Whether it’s because they want to use the documentary as a springboard for a career or just to show that they have adjusted just fine thankyouverymuch, they have something to prove.

One of my favorite moments happens during one of Justine’s interviews. She tries to stay audience aware all the time, but this one time something genuine slips in and she gets SO ANNOYED. Because, of course, you don’t want to give the audience/producers/people anything real that they may be able to use against you.

Perhaps the best thing about the book’s premise is that the kids are locked into finishing out an agreement their parents made for them. In the beginning, there’s lots of talk about how they should finish what they started. The reality is, though, that their parents started it. Their parents agreed to the documentary. However, when they’re sixteen, suddenly it’s the teens’ responsibility to see the project through when it isn’t even their project to begin with. I thought that was an excellent nod to the pressure teenagers face to carry out their parents’ vision for who they should be and what’s acceptable for their lives.

So the book has lots of great moments like that as well as lots of great character work. The plot is not predictable at all, which I liked.

What didn’t I like? Well, the most dynamic character (Keira) with the most dynamic relationship (a significant part of the book concerns Keira’s relationship with her mother) is secondary. I wanted more with them, which I couldn’t get with the way the book was structured. Also, I just didn’t think Keira was in the story enough.

My final complaint is that while I liked all of the characters just fine, I didn’t love any of them. I wouldn’t let that be a deterrent, though. Each character is certainly worthy of love from someone.

In conclusion: Great premise and well-developed characters make this a worthy read.

Source: Library