Books

We Need Movie/TV Adaptations Of Diverse Books (And Diverse Books I’d Love To See On Screen)

With more and more YA books being adapted for film/television, we’re getting to see our favorite books on screen more often. Those books gain popularity after the adaptations are made, helping the author sell more books and get the author a larger fanbase. Only the most popular YA books are adapted, though, so we don’t see as many books made into movies/shows as we’d like!

Since a lot of diverse books are underhyped and not as popular as non-diverse ones, they don’t get made into movies as much as I (and many other people) would like to see. In this blog post, I wanted to shout out a few titles I think would translate marvelously onto the big screen.

Many teens do not read diversely – including marginalized teens – because they simply don’t know that books with characters like them exist, because they may not be as popular as others. I can’t count the number of friends I have who saw the movie of The Hunger Games or Divergent and decided to read the book because of it. That could happen for diverse stories!

Of course, that’s only if they were done well, with respect to the storylines and the marginalizations included in the book, with actors that also belonged to the marginalizations of characters in the book. When I mention a book I’d love to see on screen, it would be if the representation was done well.

We need adaptations of diverse books. We also need diverse adaptations of non-diverse books.

The first sentence is pretty clear, but let me explain the second point.

If a YA book with almost all white, cishet, able characters is made into a movie, it should most definitely include more diversity than the book did, because on a screen, the lack of diversity becomes even more apparent, and it would be wonderful (and, of course, should be necessary) if the adaptation was made more diverse.

Especially if the race/sexuality of the character is never stated in the book. We need to move away from the idea of white or straight being the default.

A black actor was casted in the adaptation of The Darkest Minds, a popular YA series where the race of the main character is white, I believe, or at least unspecified, which usually translates to white. This is something that should happen more than just this specific incident.

One negative about this: If someone watches the movie with the marginalized character in it and have not read the book, they may have false hopes or beliefs about the book being diverse. It is obviously a small point and does not outweigh the positives, but it is something to think about.

Diverse Books I’d Love To See On Screen

Some of these may be in the process of becoming movies/TV shows, but I included them anyway, because they’re so important. And I’m excited for them. 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Every Heart A Doorway by Seannan McGuire

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

On The Edge Of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

These are just a few of hundreds of diverse books that could translate marvelously on screen.

Why are adaptations of diverse books important, in your opinion? What diverse books do you want to see on screen? Who would you cast in them? Are there any diverse adaptations that are being made that you’re excited for?

Thanks for reading!

Ava

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20 thoughts on “We Need Movie/TV Adaptations Of Diverse Books (And Diverse Books I’d Love To See On Screen)

  1. 100% yes!

    I’m dying for adaptations of A Darker Shade of Magic, The Young Elites, Every Heart a Doorway, and The Gauntlet in particular! I just finished The Gauntlet a little while ago and it’s easily one of the best MG fantasy books I’ve read in quite some time – I actually checked out Jumanji from the library to watch after I finish it… XD

    Excellent post!

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  2. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA is just soooooo good and i’m so excited for the movie!
    and amazing post! i’d love to see more diverse adaptations of books. that’d be so cool since diverse books don’t get hype as much as non-diverse ones.

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  3. That’s a very interesting point that you raise there! If something is unspecified in a book, let’s not assume it’s white/cis/straight. When a description isn’t offered or there’s lack of information about the person, I simply imagine them my own way and there’s no default for that. So you are totally right when you say that the adaptation should take the opportunity to include diversity!

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  4. Okay, first of all, can we just agree that Tiny Pretty Things would make the BEST TV show?? I need it. But I agree with so many of these! I’m ridiculously excited for the Simon Vs film, and I would also love to see Upside on the screen. Every Heart a Doorway, THUG, Far from You, and The Sun Is Also a Star would all translate so well to film! Plus, I think we can all agree that Netflix needs to adapt Six of Crows into an original series, like, yesterday. Great post, Ava! 🙂

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  5. I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said here. Unfortunately, I think that tv/movie adaptations of YA books deal with this issue twice since both Hollywood and publishing have a (lack of) diversity issue. I’m really excited for when THUG ends up on the big screen (especially since Amandla Stenberg is playing Starr) and even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing in The Bone Witch, I think it would be amazing as a movie.

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  6. I love this post, Ava. You are so right in saying that movies have far more reach than books. I think when a movie is about to release, people get curious and will make an effort to read the book before it releases. My only apprehension is that YA novel-to-movie adaptations generally have reputations for being bad movies. I hope that changes though.

    I love your list! I cannot wait to see Simon Vs and The Hate U Give; what a time to be alive to see them on screen. As for me, I’d love to see The Young Elites and Every Heart a Doorway as well.

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  7. Oh man, a movie adaptation of The Sun is Also a Star would be so phenomenal. Also, I would loooove to see a movie made about I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson. Sigh. Maybe someday!

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  8. I just finished the Bone Witch literally 30 minutes ago and I think it would make an AMAZING film adaption!! Also I didn’t realize until halfway through that Tea wasn’t white, and also I was pronouncing her name like the drink until the scene where the guy pronounces it very phonetically because he thinks it’s weird. But oh well the book was amazing!!!!!!

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  9. I can’t wait for Simon!!! But I still haven’t read the book yet. Whoops.

    I’d love an adaptation of When the Moon Was Ours or More Happy Than Not. It would be interesting to see how those stories translated to screen.

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  10. These are the best and I can’t wait for THUG!!!! I’ve already convinced 3 people to come with me so they can also watch it 😍 (I’d go anyway loool)

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  11. I totally love Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and would love to see it turned into a movie. It would be great if they didn’t white wash Bram! There should definitely be more diverse movie adaptations.

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