October 19, 2012

Wish List: YA Books to Movies

When I started writing YA, contemporary books were king. I fell in love with and was inspired by honest, emotionally complex novels like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Life is Funny, Breathing Underwater, Borrowed Light, and Every Time a Rainbow Dies. Although I love to write various types of books and intend to continue to stretch myself, I will always, always have a soft spot the size of Asia for contemporary books.

If you happened to read my last blog entry you know how much I enjoyed the movie adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It made me think of all the other contemporary books I'd be thrilled to see adapted for the silver screen. I'm very happy to note that Before I Die, a wonderful YA book that broke my heart, has also been made into a film, renamed as Now is Good. But that still leaves plenty of excellent YA material to adapt and here's my top ten wish list:

Stolen: There's such an odd beauty about this story of a girl abducted at an airport and whisked away to the Australian outback and the right director (Jane Campion?) could turn it into an equally magical film.

Boy Toy: My favourite Barry Lyga book deals with the difficult subject matter of a seventeen-year-old boy molested by a teacher five years earlier. As far as I'm concerned there's not a single false note in what could also be a fantastic film by someone who knows how to handle nuanced dramas. Someone like Peter Berg (writer-director of Friday Night Lights) perhaps!

Some Girls Are: I don't know how Courtney Summers manages to make mean girl Regina such a sympathetic character, but this is both a fascinating and chilling story of the cruel power dynamics that play out in high school. Sadly, that's a topic that's only grow more relevant in the last few years. Since I've started watching the first season of American Horror Story I've been thinking that Taissa Farmiga (Violet) would be riveting as the steely mean girl turned target character of Regina.

Let's Get Lost: Sarra Manning really knows how to write chemistry and, although this isn't strictly a romance, with the right young actors cast as Isabel and Smith the sparks would FLY.

Broken Soup: There's a mystery at the centre of this drama that makes this story of a brother's death even more compelling. Lone Scherfig's An Education convinces me she'd be the ideal director for this.

48 Shades of Brown: I jotted down this list before finding out this way already made into a movie back in 2006 (which I'll obviously have to check out!). But here's what I was going to write about it: Lighter material than most of the other books I've named here, Nick Earl's novel is the charming, funny and realistic tale of a teenage boy who moves in with his young aunt while his parents are in Geneva for work and promptly develops a crush on her roommate. Director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) or Greg Mottola (Adventureland) are both equally perfect for this jaunty material.

Tyrell: I can't imagine anyone, of any age, not being captivated by Coe Booth's story of an inner city teenager in a homeless shelter trying to hold things together for his younger brother while fielding numerous other issues (including relationships with girls) in his own life. Gritty without being overwhelming bleak, Tyrell isn't the type to feel sorry for himself so we don't either. But you root for him all the way in what, in my opinion, is already a very cinematic story.

Recovery Road: Like alot of folks, I first fell in love with Blake Nelson's work with Girl. But I just might even like this book about the love and friendship between two recovering young drug addicts even better. Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (writers & director of Half Nelson, It's Kind of a Funny Story and Sugar), you two need to read this!

Teach Me: There's zero melodrama in this story of a romantic relationship between a female teenager and her male teacher. Instead it's admirably forthright with not a cliche in sight and I think Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) could be the one to accomplish the same with the film.

Gentlemen: This YA has one of the most arresting covers I've seen in recent years and the story inside is just as arresting. Mike's friend Tommy is missing and meanwhile their hate English teacher is acting very strange indeed. Coincidence? I was on edge for the entire story and think Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) would be ideal for this edgy material that feels liable to erupt at any second.

Covers from my books to movies wishlist

 
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