Books That Need to Be Adapted on Screen
Adapting books into movies or TV shows is hard work, and not all directors can pull it off while still honoring the source material. But sometimes, you come across a story so wonderful and captivating you just have to wonder why it hasn't made it to the silver screen yet.
From romances to thrillers, there are plenty of amazing books we have yet to see on the big screen. And if you haven't had a chance to read these, it's time to put them on your list before you (potentially) see some film adaptations.
“We Were Liars” — E. Lockhart
A wealthy family's summer adventure on a private island? What could possibly go wrong? A lot. Lockhart's book features fantastic twists that would be excellent to see on the big screen. The Goodreads description of this book says that you should definitely read it, but if anyone asks you how it ends, don’t reveal a thing.
“The Night Circus” — Erin Morgenstern
This mesmerizing story of a night-only circus deserves its movie moment. It's utterly enchanting — the circus arrives without any announcements and leaves the next day. But you just won't believe what goes on behind the scenes.
“One of Us Is Lying” — Karen McManus
Think about The Breakfast Club mixing with Gossip Girl, and you get "One of Us Is Lying" as a result. This is a book you can quickly devour in a single night, but you won't be quite the same after you finish it.
"The Throne of Glass” Series — Sarah J. Mass
An assassin book with a strong female lead? Yes, please. This could be the modern Buffy the Vampire Slayer show everyone's been waiting on. The main character is complex and the story is completely set in a fantasy world. There's also romance, secrets and everything else that makes for ample intrigue.
“The Butterfly Garden” — Dot Hutchison
"The Butterfly Garden" is one of those books you won't be able to put down. Set in a mysterious house with an even more mysterious garden, the story follows the life of main character Maya. Well, that's not really her name. And the garden isn't what you think it is.
“Carry On” — Rainbow Rowell
It's about time we got more queer love stories on the big screen. And if there was a story we'd choose as the lead, it might just be this one. The book follows the life of Simon, who's not exactly a regular person.
“Eleanor and Park” — Rainbow Rowell
This story is set in 1986, but it's still relevant today. It's about young love that isn't exactly stereotypical. Along with diversity, the story also embraces modern themes and gives some insight into troubled home lives.
“The Red Queen” Series — Victoria Aveyard
Let's be honest. We haven't had a well-received franchise like this one since "The Hunger Games," but if there are books that could bring that type of magic back, they’re the ones from "The Red Queen" series. The story follows Mare Barrow as she’s introduced to the royal class of the world despite having belonged to the lower class all her life.
“The Secret History” — Donna Tartt
It's all in the name, but don't be fooled — this is one of those books that you definitely can’t judge by its cover. The story follows the educational life of an eccentric college professor and a student clique. Without giving too much away, let's just say you won't be the same after finishing this book.
“The Wonder” — Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue already has one adaptation under her belt. "Room" was fabulous, but she could also easily achieve another winner with "The Wonder." The story focuses on a British nurse on a job to mind an 11-year-old child. The characters are mysterious and well-defined, making them captivating right off the bat.
“Neverwhere” — Neil Gaiman
If there's another author who knows how to write best-sellers, it's Neil Gaiman. His storytelling is superb, which is precisely why three of his books have already become decent movies. But there's just something about "Neverwhere" that could make it a huge success.
“Brave New World” — Aldous Huxley
It's pretty surprising that "Brave New World" hasn't been turned into a blockbuster movie by now. Sci-fi shows and movies are extremely popular — especially now — so why not? Sure, there are already two television movies that are loosely based on this book, but a talented filmmaker could definitely do this futuristic story some justice.
“All the Light We Cannot See” — Anthony Doerr
Here's a gem that focuses on several characters during the pre-WWII era. The story is set in Paris and features a variety of plot points that’ll leave you in tears. This one even got the Pulitzer Prize, so it's about time someone picked it up — and someone did!
“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” — Michael Chabon
Here's another Pulitzer Prize winner. "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" has already gotten plenty of attention regarding a big-screen adaptation, but as of yet, there’s really no news other than that it's in development (according to IMDb).
“An American Marriage” — Tayari Jones
This book focuses on a Black partnership and follows the story of the husband, who’s been wrongfully incarcerated. Oprah widely endorsed "An American Marriage" and added it to her book club’s reading list. The characters are wonderful, the story is relevant in modern times and there's plenty of drama for everyone.
“American Wife” — Curtis Sittenfeld
Although the title of this book appears to be similar to the previous one on our list, it's entirely different. It’s loosely based on the life of the former First Lady Laura Bush while in the White House. Although it's been a while since the book was published, the story remains relevant in present times.
“The Art of Fielding” — Chad Harbach
It's been a minute since we've seen a decent baseball movie, hasn’t it? "The Art of Fielding" had an interesting behind-the-scenes moment when Harbach was struck with a copyright lawsuit. But now that that’s been wrapped up, there's a chance to turn this book into a movie.
“Bleeding Edge” — Thomas Pynchon
"Bleeding Edge" is one of those books you almost can't imagine seeing on the big screen because it needs to be done absolutely right. There's nothing better than a good old detective story, and this one is set in the 9/11 era. Detective technology isn't that prominent yet, meaning there are plenty of secrets that need to be uncovered using more than just high-tech devices.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” — Mark Haddon
Now, this is surprising. There are only a few people in this world who probably haven't heard of this book, because it’s kind of an older one. Haddon wrote this quite some time ago, and yet, for some reason, it never made it onto the big screen. It follows the story of a teenager on the autism spectrum who wants to find out what happened to the neighbor's dog.
“Days Without End” — Sebastian Barry
This book has a most unique topic — a queer love story about American soldiers set during the Civil War. The characters are incredibly captivating, and the story instantly transports you to a painful era in U.S. history. However, there are plenty of elements in the tale that remain timeless and relevant today.
“Death With Interruptions” — José Saramago
"Death With Interruptions" is one of those life-changing books that's definitely a rite of passage for people who are stuck in the limbo of life. Sure, it's more philosophy-based, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have movie potential.
“The Devil in the White City” — Erik Larson
Non-fiction books often get turned into documentaries, and the novelistic "The Devil in the White City" deserves its big-screen moment. But it’s written in a way that feels like fiction, so some dramatic onscreen treatment may be what’s best. There are serial killers involved, and that's all we can really say about the plot of this fantastic thriller.
“Educated” — Tara Westover
"Educated" was one of the most popular memoirs of 2018. Everyone was raving about it, and for good reason. It's all about growing up with survivalist parents, and it's a book that a surprising number of people found they could relate to.
“Eileen” — Ottessa Moshfegh
"Eileen" is an incredible book, mixing multiple genres as the story follows a prison worker from the 1960s. It's quite a story to tackle, but it would be a touching success if Hollywood put some care and effort into this one. There's a bit of everything for everyone, including plenty of horror.
“An Ember in the Ashes” Series — Sabaa Tahir
Ah, another series. It's about time the world gets back into franchises, though. We kind of miss the "Hunger Games" days, to be completely honest. The "An Ember in the Ashes" series is a magical saga that could lend itself well to a trilogy a la The Lord of the Rings films.
“Fates and Furies” — Lauren Groff
The title of this book sounds familiar, right? Well, it was actually Barack Obama's favorite book in 2015. The storyline focuses on love, Greek mythology and obsession. And considering the high-profile endorsement, not turning it into a movie would be almost a sacrilege.
“The Flamethrowers” — Rachel Kushner
This is one of those stories that people rave about long after they read it. It combines art with radicalism, and it's set in 1970 for an added dose of nostalgia. There are motorcycle races involved. That's really all you need to understand to know why this would make a fabulous movie.
“The Girls” — Emma Cline
This book is based on the real-life story of the Helter Skelter case, and a film could capitalize on the public’s growing interest in cults. Cline's ability to create interesting characters is sublime, which is another reason why this story would do so well as a movie.
“The Forbidden Hearts” Trilogy — Alisha Rai
Move aside, Fifty Shades. There's a new romance trilogy in town. After the love-hate relationship between the public and the Fifty Shades of Grey adaptations, the movie industry seemed to have taken a break from working on passionate romance novels.
“The Gallagher Girls” Series — Ally Carter
This story follows the main character Cammie, who's enrolled in an all-girls spy school where the students train to become actual spies. Say no more. Spy Kids, step aside; there's a new tale on the block.