5 YA novels that should become television shows ASAP
From Netflix’s Series of Unfortunate Events and 13 Reasons Why to Starz’ American Gods and HBO’s Big Little Lies, readers are being treated this year to a range of television series that capture what they loved so much about the books — sometimes with bonus content that allows viewers to glimpse the point-of-view of characters the novel may not have had so much room to flesh out.
With that in mind, EW has put together a list of recent (or soon to be published) young adult novels that are ripe for TV adaptations. And given that some popular picks (Maggie Stiefvater‘s The Raven Boys, Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star and Stephanie Garber’s Caraval) are already making their way to either the small or big screens, this list comprises titles that have not been optioned quite yet.
‘Legion’ by Julie Kagawa
The fourth book in Kagawa’s Talon saga (after Talon, Rogue, Soldier)sees a society of dragons (The Dragons of Talon) locked in a deadly battle with their mortal enemies, the Order of St. George, a group of hunters determined to kill all of their kind. The series kicks off when Ember Hill, a young dragon, is assigned (along with her twin brother Dante) to blend in with human teenagers as part of her training. Only as she begins to question her future with Talon, she meets Garret, a cute boy who happens to like her back. The only catch? He’s one of St. George’s most gifted soldiers and he’s been assigned to hunt her down. Kagawa’s easy mix of star-crossed love and tense, cat-and-mouse misdirection, along with a highly original world, would make for a riveting and action-packed series — and one that could continue for a couple of seasons given everything that happens over the course of the four books. Order it here.
‘Lois Lane: Triple Threat’ by Gwenda Bond
With Superman about to get his third live-action television show (after Smallville and Lois & Clark), it’s only fitting that his partner-in-crime, Lois Lane, also gets a chance to step into the televisual spotlight. Bond’s series of books — all of which follow teenage Lois’ adventures after moving to Metropolis — would serve as great source material for a potential series. Not only do Bond’s books feature Lois working with a group of her student reporter friends to break stories for “The Scoop,” a subsidiary of the Daily Planet (her eventual employer), but she’s also got a rapidly budding online relationship with
Clark Kent SmallvilleGuy. Think Veronica Mars but set in Metropolis, with plenty of superheroic shenanigans. Order it here.
‘The Love Interest’ by Cale Dietrich
Caden and Dylan are both highly trained Love Interests, teenage spies who attempt to get close to specific individuals and enter into long-term relationships with them so they have constant access to valuable secrets for the secret organization in which they both work. There’s only one slight problem: Neither of them is into Juliet, the girl they’re both trying to win over for fear of death (the one she doesn’t choose will die). Instead, both agents are attracted to each other, something that could put both their lives in jeopardy. There’s enough material in Dietrich’s novel to form the basis of a Man From U.N.C.L.E.-esque series, but what would be particularly enjoyable to watch is to see two opposites — Caden was trained to be the quintessentially nice Boy Next Door, while Dylan is the classic Bad Boy — attract while still dealing with their various spy duties. Order it here.
‘One of Us Is Lying’ by Karen M. McManus
McManus’ page-turner of a debut novel rightfully earns its dual comparisons to The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars thanks to its addictive blend of teen drama and constantly shifting mystery that sees five students go into detention, and only four emerge alive. As Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Addy try and figure out who was responsible for claiming the life of their classmate Simon, the founder of the school’s gossip app, they learn more about themselves and each other. With the book’s hint of forbidden romance, likable cast of characters, and compelling whodunnit, One of Us Is Lying, would be the ideal binge after a season of Riverdale. Order it here.
‘Saints and Misfits’ by S.K. Ali
Ali’s book has been likened to My So-Called Life with good reason. Protagonist Janna could easily be the spiritual sister of Angela Chase as she deals with a whole host of teenage issues, including being as devout a Muslim as she can (she even wears a hijab), her crush on a classmate named Jeremy, living with her divorced mother and older brother, and attempting to get over being sexually assaulted by a member of her mosque’s community. But despite some of the darker aspects of Janna’s teenage experience, Ali’s light and effortless writing ensure that the audience gets to know the teen in all her photograph-taking, graphic novel-loving, Flannery O’Connor-admiring glory. But it isn’t just her alone, Saints and Misfits is populated with memorable characters, each of whom is begging to be brought to life in a miniseries adaptation. See also: My Mad Fat Diary.Preorder it here.