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6 Books You Can Read and Compare to Their Movie Adaptations


When a story that starts in print shows up on screen, someone inevitably declares, “The book was better.” If you want to join the discussion, or just need extra inspiration to read something non-school related that’s longer than the text in an Instagram story, here are six film adaptations you can compare with the books that inspired them.

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The Outsiders (1983)

The Outsiders, written by teenager S.E. Hinton and originally published in 1967, shows that gangs and gun violence are nothing new in American society. It tells the story of two teen gangs in Tusla, the Greasers and the Socs, in a perpetual battle over class and social status that results in tragic consequences for both groups. The film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola featured actors including Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, and Rob Lowe back when the middle-aged movie stars were hotties in their teens and twenties.

The Princess Bride (1987)

This film didn’t bring in the bucks at the box office, but has reached profitability — and cult classic status — since. Even if you’ve never seen the movie, it’s “inconceivable” that you aren’t familiar with at least a few famous lines from the script, written by the book’s author, William Goldman. Like that fractured fairy tale, the movie tells the story of Westley who, with the help of a Spanish swordsman and a giant from Greenland, rescues his true love Buttercup from the clutches of the evil Prince Humperdinck. If you watch, or rewatch, the film, you may recognize Buttercup (Robin Wright) as General Antiope from Wonder Woman. Bonus: the movie’s male lead, Carey Elwes, is set to join the cast of Stranger Things in its third season.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Most critics loved both the print and movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, possibly because the film was directed by the best-selling book’s author, Stephen Chbosky. On the page and onscreen, the story unfolds through a series of letters from Charlie, the wallflower of the title, and an anonymous friend. Over the course of his freshman year in high school, Charlie begins to unfold as well thanks to the help of two half-siblings, Patrick and Sam (Emma Watson in her first post-Potter role), who bring them into their quirky friend group. There, he falls in love and finally begins to feel a little love for himself.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

While The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a coming-of-age love story, cancer is definitely a central character, especially considering that leads Hazel Graze and Augustus (Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort) meet at a cancer support group. Gus immediately turns on the charm, even though Hazel Grace is reluctant to embrace love and life due to her medical condition. But Gus turns a Make-A-Wish Foundation-type trip into a pilgrimage to Amsterdam with Hazel Grace to find her favorite author, eventually convincing her that life is worth living for however long it might last. A tear-jerker whether you read it or watch it.

Ready Player One (2018)

By 2045, the real world has become pretty unbearable, which is why most humans spend their time in the OASIS, a virtual universe populated by pop culture references from the 1980s. But control of the OASIS, and its deceased founder’s fortune, is up for grabs to anyone who can find an Easter egg he’s hidden somewhere in the world he created. Will well-funded egg hunters from Innovative Online Industries discover it and turn the OASIS into a money machine full of ads or will Wade Watts and his band of rebels find it first, keeping the virtual world a escapist oasis for everyone? The movie version of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was directed by Steven Spielberg and is due out on DVD in late July.

The Hate U Give (2018)

This best-seller by Angie Thomas is a novel, but its serious subject matter comes straight from the nightly news. Starr Carter is the sole witness when her unarmed childhood best friend is fatally shot by a cop. That turning point breaks down barriers she’s built between her weekday world, an upscale private school, and the poverty-plagued neighborhood she calls home. The movie version of The Hate U Give is scheduled for release in October and stars Amandla Stenberg, who also landed the leading role in The Darkest Minds, another book-to-movie adaptation.   

And, if you can’t wait to start binge-watching stories that started in print, here are five more book-to-screen selections available on Netflix right now:*

*Subject to change. Please check Netflix for current movies available. 

  • Coraline
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  • The Kissing Booth
  • Anne With an E (Anne of Green Gables)
  • The Lovely Bones

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