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!