Ranked: The best (and worst) young adult fiction adaptations

  • Ranked: The best (and worst) young adult fiction adaptations

The amount of teen fiction and young adult novels turned into films in recent years is reaching superhero-levels of cinema releases.

Some have turned themselves into landmark film moments and left the books trailing in their wake, others have left fans wishing they'd never made the big screen conversion.

Here are the greatest young adult fiction film adaptations...

14. The Percy Jackson franchise

Chris Columbus took on the first book in Rick Riodran's Percy Jackson & the Olympians series - The Lightning Thief, while Thor Freudenthal (director of Hotel for Dogs and Diary of a Wimpy Kid) took on the second - Sea of Monsters.

The films were enjoyable if a bit dull, and there were widespread changes from the source material.

Characters from different stories were pulled in to fit, while other characters were disregarded completely.

A third film in the series has been officially killed off after Logan Lerman who plays the titular Percy revealed that it wasn't happening at all.

13. The Golden Compass

Based on Northern Lights, the first novel of Philip Pullman's hugely successful book from the His Dark Materials trilogy, the film boasted an impressive cast including Sir Ian McKellan, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green and Daniel Craig.

The anti-religious messages of the books were heavily-diluted, and the expectation of a three-film series meant that the first film lacked any high-stakes scenarios and an actual ending.

In 2008 the two planned sequels were indefinitely placed on hold by New Line Cinema, and in 2011 Philip Pullman remarked that there would be no more films from the series with the same cast.

12. Ender’s Game

Adapted from Orson Scott Card's sci-fi novel about an outer space military academy preparing for future alien invasion, starring Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld and Sir Ben Kingsley.

The film grossed $125.5m worldwide and while it was a fairly decent action flick it failed to ignite any excitement or enjoyment.

There were also threats of a mass boycott of the film for author Orson Scott Card's views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality. Lionsgate released a statement distancing themselves from Card's opinion.

11. Chronicles of Narnia

Based on C.S. Lewis' legendary The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series, the tales of Narnia, Aslan and the wardrobe portal has brought us three films: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) which have grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide.

While they hit it big at the box office, the films weren't really much cop, Disney wanted them to be a more colourful version of Lord of the Rings (despite them being completely different) and poor special effect and the children’s' limited acting range made for some forgettable films.

The series was quietly dropped by Disney, but there has been much rumblings about a fourth instalment titled The Silver Chair in development, so we shall have to wait and see.

10. The Lovely Bones

The story of a teenage girl who is murdered, and watches her friends and family struggle to deal with her death - as well as seeing her killer - from the afterlife isn't the most sensitive of topics to base a young adult film about.

In fact, Alice Sebold's novel, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Mark Wahlberg, Saoirse Ronan and Rachel Weisz, received the most complaints to the UK ratings body of any movie in 2010 (but only with 24 complaints) and that certain scenes in the 12A rated film were more worthy of a 18 certificate.

Saoirse Ronan's performance as the murdered girl was fantastic, but the film didn't manage to capture the mood or drama of the book.

9. The Book Thief

The German war drama based on Markus Zusak's novel of a young girl living with her adoptive parents during the Nazi era and being taught to read by her German foster father who is sheltering a Jewish refugee.

Legendary composer John Williams bagged a Grammy Award and an Oscar nomination for his score, while Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson shined as the kind-hearted foster parents.

The Oscar-bait was a touching and tear-jerking story, but it struggled with its adaptation from page to screen and failed to include a few important aspects in the film's climax.

8. The Maze Runner

Set in a dystopian future where a 16-year-old wakes up with no memory and discovers that he's in the middle of a maze, along with other boys who have been unsuccessfully trying to find their way out for years.

The conversion of James Dashner's 2009 novel was better than most young adult fiction adaptations from recent years and in the creepy and suspenseful movie.

Despite gripes that important details of the original story were changed, a sequel, Scorch Trials has been announced and shooting is set to begin.

7. The Twilight Saga

Massively polarising opinion, Stephanie Meyer's tales of vampires, werewolves and a teenage girl first hit cinemas in 2008 starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.

With a rabid fanbase of teenage girls, the five-film series has grossed over $3.3 billion worldwide despite everyone else giving it widespread criticism, including various of the films being dubbed: "A feast of ripe dialogue and bloodsucking action" and "slow, joyless, and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments" by critics.

The Stephanie Meyers books are of a much higher quality, and the film's stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have repeatedly slated the films in interviews.

6. The Fault in Our Stars

John Green's 2012 novel of two teenage cancer patients who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group was turned into a tear-inducing teen romance starred Shailene Woodley in 2014.

Woodley's performance was widely praised as well as the emotional quality, with audiences having to swim out of cinemas because of all the tears shed during viewing.

Fans of the book have praised how true it is to the novel that is based on in terms of storyline as well as the characters.

5. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

Based on two novels from comedian and author Louise Rennison - Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers, Georgia Groome stars as a 14-year-old girl going through all the trials and tribulations of teenage life and logging it all in her diary.

Groome's performance as the girl chasing the boy using the pretence of a missing cat was endearing, natural and believable. It wasn't given a theatrical release in the States, where it premiered on TV and was released on DVD.

Using elements from the two novels, the stories were tweaked to appeal to a wider audience, and fans of the book weren't disappointed by the adaptation either.

4. The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Author Stephen Chbosky also jumped behind the camera to direct the adaptation of his 1999 coming-of-age novel of a shy American freshman (or first year) student who is taken under the wings of two seniors.

The three main actors all excelled in their roles in the feel-good drama, including Emma Watson who managed to escape the role of Hermione from the Harry Potter series that she'd been playing for a decade.

3. Divergent

Serial YA fiction star Shailene Woodley stars in Veronica Roth's novel series as Tris, a 'Divergent' who doesn't fit into factions that the world is divided into, and discovers a plan to killing all the Divergents.

The second of the planned Divergent trilogy Insurgent is due for imminent release after the first instalment raked in $288m worldwide.

While the performances were decent, the plot and themes were strikingly reminiscent of The Hunger Games and, at points, the plot was predictable and generic.

2. The Hunger Games

Grossing over $2 billion since the first Hunger Games hit cinemas, Suzanne Collins' stories of teens fighting to the death and the stories of Katniss taking down The Capital has enraptured young girls and people who aren't young girls around the world.

The latter films haven't been as exciting as they try to stretch the contents of the last book into a two-parter (to pass the $3bn gross), but the storyline is gripping and interesting, despite some of the more serious issues and analogies being dropped as the stories made the jump onto the big screen.

1. Harry Potter

JK Rowling's juggernaut tale of the boy wizard's his training in Hogwarts to overcome his arch-enemy Lord Voldemort has grossed over $7.7 billion worldwide since its beginning in 2001.

The films grew darker as the series progressed and Harry aged and deviated from the original novels, which divided fans opinions.

Regardless of this, each and all of the Harry Potter films were wonderful, and author JK Rowling praised each one, as the Harry Potter series has cemented itself alongside the likes Indiana Jones and Star Wars as legendary Hollywood greats.

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