The Rise (and Fall?) of Young Adult Novels in Film

4 Apr

So after seeing the young adult film The Host, and how Beautiful Creatures have essentially flopped at the box offices, you would believe that the studios would potentially listen to the audiences demands of how we’re sick of terrible scripts based off of books that become terrible movies right?


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is yet another book based on a yong adult female lead novel. Now, I have my own problems with the author (Draco in Leather Pants*, anyone?), but what distresses me  is not that so so so SO many movies are based from novels. It’s not that they leads of these movies are young woman (because…. that’s not an issue. That is a problem. Meaning there are not enough films like this).

But it’s how the studios react to movies like these.

Will I see this movie? Probably. Why do I even think about this movie in any context besides the fact that films like The Host and Beautiful Creatures have tanked?

Uh, because Godfrey Gao is in it. Duh.

godfrey gao, louis vuitton the mortal instruments

Sorry, were we talking about something? (image:

Let’s be honest: the actual issue is what studios take away from films like this. Do I believe this movie will be a success? …I am no fortune teller, but what Twilight and even The Hunger Games had before they became movies were a strong, STRONG fanbase. Twilight’s was ridiculous and almost embarrassing at the amount of people that were willing to hurt people about negative opinions on the book. The Hunger Games’ fanbase may not have been as loud, but they were obviously willing to support the movie. So if The Mortal Instrument: City Of Bones does in fact have a strong fan base, then this film will be fine.

Why these fanbases are important to these films is because of the generally unknown leads. The Hunger Games had Jennifer Lawrence, and her biggest claims to fame were X-Men First Class and Winter’s Bone. One nabbed her an Oscar nomination, but that was a tiny, tiny film. Kristen Stewart, Robert Patterson, and Taylor Lautner’s careers were launched due to the success that was Twilight.

catch that kid, corbin bleu, kristen steward,

Wait, I forgot about Kristen in this. God that was terrible and I only watched it for Corbin. (image: wikimedia)

Similarly, in the recently released The Host, Saoirse Ronan had been nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA (multiple ones, actually), but does the general public know who she is? Although the films Hanna, The Lovely Bones, and Atonement were amazing films, they weren’t block buster hits like Twilight was. Or like The Host and many of the other of these young adult female driven films are attempting to become.

Although The City of Bones boosts talents like Lily Collins, Lena Headey, and Jared Harris, Beautiful Creatures also had strong actors like Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, and Emmy Rossum. Granted, one thing that City of Bones has over many of these movies is that they have a star within the film that has already found recent box office success…and fangirls: Aidan Turner, aka the one dwarf that got all the hero shots in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. That recognition may help bring in some fans, especially in the first week. With him and Godfrey Gao, maybe I will check this out.

kili, the hobbit, the hobbit: an unexpected journey, aiden turner, mortal instruments, city of bones, mortal instruments city of bones

After I saw his face, I knew I was done for. (

Is the low box office numbers a result of the unknown leads? Of course not. Otherwise The Hunger Games would have been a flop. What was essential was a quality script, something that, for some reason, these movies seem to lack. Although the romance is important (because that’s all women want in movies is romance. Right???), what has not been understood is that we like a good story as well. The Host may not have had the fandom Twilight did, but with a good script, the Sci-Fi element could have really been a fasicnating one. Instead, they focused on the love triangle (square. Quadrilateral. Whatever) with two incredibly bland leads. So bland that people have problems telling the two apart (two generic white guys. At least they had different hair colors).

max irons, jake abel, the host

It’s just Jake and Max. …Oops, I mean Max and Jake. …Wait… (Image: justjared)

Am I alone in hoping that it is realized sooner than later that a good story is just as important to woman as it is to men? Sure, romance in a movie is fine, but when 99.9% of films targeted towards my gender are focused on romance and just romance, it can get boring and predicatble very quickly. I’m not saying make all action movies 100% targeted towards women, but there was a reason that The Avengers did so well — and it wasn’t just the men in the audience.

the avengers, robert downey jr, clark gregg, scarlett johansson, chris evans, chris hemsworth, samuel l jackson, jeremy renner, joss whedon, mark ruffalo

With this line up, I’m surprised there weren’t more women watching. (image: neatorama)

Will this phase in creating films based off young adult novels ever die out? I suppose it depends on the success of films like The Mortal Instruments and the upcoming movie Vampire Academy based on the book series of the same name. I could do an entire post about Vampire Academy and why it deserves to be treated fairly because it deals with a strong protagonist and has kick ass side characters and discusses issues such as class and politics BUT OH WAIT.

Stephenie Meyer killed vampires forever.

stephenie meyer

THANKS A LOT. (image:

* I apologize for linking people to TV Tropes. I realize that no one chooses to spend all day long on that site, so oops.


2 Responses to “The Rise (and Fall?) of Young Adult Novels in Film”

  1. Stephanie Austin April 4, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I like the idea of movies based on YA novels. I honestly hope it will never die out. Take “Perks of Being a Wallflower” for example. That was an amazing adaptation! Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller were astounding in their roles. Emma Watson was good too, but nothing to scream over.
    “The Host,” I agree, wasn’t much. It was solely dictated by the love square which I don’t believe should lead a novel/movie like the one Stephanie Meyer wrote. But let’s be real, Stephanie Meyer likes to write based around the love complications. I read something the other day about how if “The Host” was written by ANYBODY else other than Meyer, it wouldn’t have been made into a movie. The only reason it was is because Twilight was such a box office success, and Meyer had written the book. Meyer irks me a bit anyway.
    Also I hope City of Bones is an amazing movie, because I loved the series. Furthermore, I hope the director has learned from “Twilight” and “The Host” – not to let the romance lead the plot.

    • cutebookworm April 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      As a huge fan of YA Novels, I agree that I hope they never die out as well. I just hope that taking terrible, terrible stories in hopes that young women will go see the movie because of romance (!!!) will go away and focus on …not even amazing books, but good stories that can be translated to film. I personally haven’t seen “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” but I have hear it’s an amazing movie, and that I need to check it out.
      But true. If anyone else had written “The Host,” it would have been passed over, but the studios probably assumed (as I did) that the fans from the Twilight series would come out in droves to see the film.
      I hope that City of Bones does well (and is a good movie) just so studios will understand that we don’t want any old movie with any old actors. We want a well written, well acted movie. The fact that it’s based off a YA novel is just the added bonus.

      Also, thanks for dropping a comment! :D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: