Not all book lovers are keen on the idea of seeing their favorite novels become on-screen adaptations. We have a fear that screenwriters and directors won’t get it right, that they won’t fully understand or take into account what readers, or even the author themselves, were envisioning. But if HBO’s Big Littles Lies, Netflix’s take on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and of course The Notebook has shown us that when they get it right, it’s so worth it.
While it may oftentimes not always be better than the book itself, you will come across on-screen adaptations that will lend themselves to what many of us imagined while reading the story. This year, more of our favorites are making their way to TV and movies. From Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere adapted for a Hulu series thanks to Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington to gothic romance Rebecca by English writer Daphne du Maurier — there are a ton of books being made into TV shows and movies this year so get ready to read!
Here’s a look at every book being adapted for the big (and small) screen in 2020.
Little Fires Everywhere
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng follows the Richardsons, a picture-perfect family in the town of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and new residents Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl. Upon Mia and Pearl’s arrival, they rent a house from the Richardsons. And while it seems as though the families are becoming close, the decision by old family friends of the Richardsons to adopt a Chinese-American baby places a wedge between Mia and Richardson matriarch Elena. The NYT Bestseller is making its way to Hulu March 18 and will star Reese Witherspoon as Elena, Kerry Washington as Mia, and Joshua Jackson as Bill Richardson.
All The Bright Places
Netflix’s newest teen flick, All The Bright Places, starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith, was adapted from the YA novel of the same by Jennifer Niven. All The Bright Places tells the story of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, whose worlds collide on the ledge of their school’s bell tower. Theodore Finch is constantly contemplating death, thinking up ways to kill himself. While Violet is looking towards the future and grieving her sister’s death. They come into each other’s lives at the perfect (or perhaps most imperfect?) time to save one another.
P.S. I Still Love You
The second book in author Jenny Han’s To All the Boys series, P.S. I Still Love You finds Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky dating for real, for real. What could complicate that? A boy named John Ambrose, that’s who. But we won’t give it all away because you can watch it right now on Netflix and get your To All the Boys fix!
Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who discovers a species of high-tech fairies and decides to kidnap and hold one of them for ransom, igniting a cross-species war. But while Artemis may seem like the anti-hero, he’s doing all for a good cause—to save his missing father. The upcoming film titled Artemis Fowl like the first book is set to be released on May 29, stars Colin Farrell and Josh Gad.
Nothing like a Jane Austen novel adaptation—Emma is now in theaters for your viewing pleasure! The novel was ahead of its time, centering on Emma Woodhouse, a young woman in her twenties who did work as a matchmaker. The 2020 film stars 23-year-old English Argentine actress Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma.
The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild by Jack London is set in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Gold Rush but is really a story about a man and his best friend. The film of the same name, which opened in theaters in February, stars Harrison Ford as John Thornton. While John is the main protagonist, the story really centers on his dog Buck, who is stolen and taken to Yukon.
This gothic novel by Daphne du Maurier was first adapted into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. It tells the story of a young woman who marries a wealthy widower without knowing that he is still being haunted by memories of his late wife. The 2020 version of Rebecca stars Lily James and Armie Hammer, a release date is still TBD.
The Invisible Man
Elisabeth Moss stars in this thriller adapted from the book by H.G. Wells, which follows a woman as she tries to escape the hands of her abusive partner, only to find that he’s managed to figure out how to make himself invisible and continue his treacherous acts.
The Personal History of David Copperfield
Charles Dickens’ eighth novel is getting the big-screen treatment this May, with Dev Patel playing the role of David Copperfield. The book is told through the first-person perspective of David Copperfield, as he chronicles his life from childhood to adulthood.
The Woman in the Window
Spying on your neighbors has never gone more wrong than it does for Anna Fox in The Woman in the Window. In theaters on May 15, this psychological thriller stars Amy Adams as Dr. Anna Fox, who believes she may have just witnessed a crime at her next-door neighbor’s house.
The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle
Robert Downey Jr. hung up his Iron Man suit to journey along as Dr. Doolittle in Doolittle, which was adapted from Hugh Lofting’s The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle. The story takes place in 19th-century England as the lonely Dr. Doolittle begins to find companionship with animals only he’s able to communicate with. Doolittle is in theaters now.
Nine Perfect Strangers
If you’re a fan of Big Little Lies, then this book also by Liane Moriarty may be for you. Nine Perfect Strangers is coming to your screen this year thanks to Hulu. So far, we know it will star Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy. Nine Perfect Strangers is the story of nine people staying at a health resort for 10 days who will be faced with the most challenging two weeks of their lives.
The Last Letter From Your Lover
Jojo Moyes describes her 2008 bestseller as “a heartbreaking, stay-up-all-night novel.” It’s a double love story, with one taking place in 1960 and the other in 2003, but the times are connected through a love letter written by a man that signed the letter with just a “B.” The Last Letter From Your Lover’s release date is still TBD 2020 but is set to star Shailene Woodley, Felicity Jones, and Joe Alwyn.
Sally Rooney’s will-they-won’t-they, on-again-off-again love story is coming to Hulu this spring. It follows Connell and Marianne as they learn to navigate their romance throughout their major life changes, and seeing if their love can really survive it all.
The Secret Garden
This 2020 adaptation may take a little convincing, seeing as The Secret Garden received a wonderful movie version in 1993. The novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of the best pieces of children’s literature.
Another great movie option for family night, Dragon Rider was published in 1997 by author Cornelia Funke. It tells the story of a silver dragon named Firedrake and his human boy Ben as they search for a safe home for Firedrake’s family. The film is hitting theaters on August 6, 2020.
Roald Dahl’s The Witches got its first on-screen adaptation in 1990 and it had Jim Henson behind it as a producer and starred the incredible Anjelica Huston. The 2020 version, which is slated for release in October 2020, will star Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, and Stanley Tucci. It centers on a 7-year-old boy with an incredible imagination, who just so happens to run into some real-life witches.
Oh, hello Michael B. Jordan! Tom Clancy’s 1993 thriller, Without Remorse, is getting the big-screen treatment this September, with hunky Michael B. Jordan as protagonist John Clark. The story is that of John Clark, a Navy SEAL, who is attempting to avenge his wife’s death.
Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie is receiving a second film adaptation in October, with Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, and Armie Hammer as some of its main stars. Death on the Nile is a murder mystery, which follows Hercule Poirot (played by Branagh) as he investigates the death of a young heiress while on vacation on the Nile.
The One and Only Ivan
Angelina Jolie and Bryan Cranston are starring in this touching film adaptation of the book by the same name, The One and Only Ivan, which centers on a gorilla named Ivan who is trying to find a way to escape living in captivity.
And if you’re feeling nostalgic, click here to see the best reboots adapted for the big screen.