Next week, If I Stay opens in theaters, following the success of the young adult novel adaptation The Fault in Our Stars earlier this year. As always happens with movie adaptations of best-selling books, the question arises: Should I read the book first?
While Forman’s writing and story line is very cinematic and will, I think, translate beautifully into film, this is a story you’ll want to experience on your own terms, before you ingest the filmmaker’s version.
If I Stay is about a teenager in a coma as a result of a car wreck, flashing back over her life to decide whether to fight to live. While the movie may capture the essence of the novel, it is the written word that unlocks the delicate nuances of deep emotion, conflicting feelings and inner dialogue that make If I Stay a must-read.
There are more YA novels heading for the theater. Here are a few I’m most looking forward to.
A dystopian novel that was ahead of its time, those who have read or seen Divergent will likely recognize the influence of Lois Lowry’s novel published 20 years ago. Jonas, 12, makes some startling discoveries about his utopian society devoid of war, fear or personal choice. There’s been some chatter about a color film depicting a monochrome world, but I’m eager to see what a cast of heavy hitters like Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges bring to this beloved story. The movie opens Aug. 15.
The Maze Runner
This is the first book in an addictive, dystopian series by James Dashner. A group of young men and one teenage girl try to survive with no memory of their lives before the moment they woke up in a terrifying maze with one another. Dashner’s characters get under your skin, the plot is nonstop action and suspense and the setting — a blend of primitive and high-tech — should look amazing on the big screen. The movie opens Sept. 19.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
This movie is still in the early stages, but has the potential to be a blockbuster. Rich in detail and exotic locations, Daughter of Smoke and Bone infuses magic and myth — in the form of angels and monsters — into the contemporary world of a blue-haired teenager named Karou. Wishes can be granted for a price, good and evil are not what you’d expect and star-crossed love occurs where you least expect it.
Book one of the Lunar Chronicles, this series has been optioned (though the studio remains a secret), and I’ve got my fingers crossed it makes it onto the big screen. A futuristic twist on the well-worn fairy tale, in author Marissa Meyer’s version the Cinderella character is a mechanic and a cyborg. For a movie adaptation I’m thinking Ridley Scott’s classic, Blade Runner. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about how good this could be.