Nowadays, it seems as if every new hit movie and TV show being made is an adaptation of a good book: Big Little Lies, Sharp Objects, Gone Girl, The Handmaid’s Tale, Outlander, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Jojo Rabbit —just to name a few. DC Films and Marvel have even carved an entire movie universe from their beloved comic books. And how many times have you seen a new remake of Little Women, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre?
The fact of the matter is, a good book, graphic novel, comic book, fantasy series, or even a comic strip — we see you, Charlie Brown — with interesting characters and a strong plot is the perfect recipe for a good movie or TV show. And seeing how the film industry has advanced in special effects, stage design, costumes, and accessibility to unique locations (either real or virtual), means no book is off-limits.
Here, Savoir Flair has compiled a list of our editors’ absolute favorite novels which have already been optioned for adaptations. Enjoy reading these books before they go mainstream, and be the first one of your friends to know what the next big hit will be.
by Kiera Cass
When we first read this book, we almost rolled our eyes at ourselves as we were convinced we would hate it. However, after one chapter, we were sucked in, and ended up buying the entire series as soon as we finished the first book.
Set in a dystopian society where people are segregated into different castes which not only determine their professions, but also the hierarchy within their community, 17-year-old America Singer (of the artistic caste Five) is one of 35 girls selected to compete for the hand of the charming Prince Maxon. Forced to move to the palace against her will with the other would-be princesses, America’s dreams of a simple life with her secret boyfriend, Aspen, are put on hold as she is thrown into a world of balls, banquets, gowns, and fierce rivalry for the prince and crown. But as America gets to know the handsome Maxon, she is drawn more and more into the competition, and questions whether the future she had dreamed of is truly what she wants.
Fans of Kiera Cass‘ bestselling young adult series, The Selection, have waited almost 10 years for a movie adaptation, and Netflix has finally obliged by announcing only a few short months ago that it will be adapting the first book into a film. Haifaa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female director known for her films Wadjda, The Perfect Candidate, Mary Shelley, and the Netflix adaptation of the book Nappily Ever After, is confirmed to direct. It’s the Bachelor, but with more class, style, and tiaras.
‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass
The 'Throne of Glass' Series
by Sarah J. Maas
If you like fantasy novels, then run to your nearest bookstore and buy all eight books from New York Times Bestseller Sarah J. Maas’ debut series Throne of Glass. (And while you’re there, pick up her newest trilogy A Court of Thorns and Roses as well. Trust us. You will thank us later.) As one of the greatest fantasy series since JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, Maas started the first novel of Throne of Glass as a 16-year-old in high school.
It’s a true coming-of-age story about a young assassin, Celaena Sardothien, with a secret past and some really badass fighting skills. Celaena is surrounded by corrupt rulers in a wicked kingdom, but she allies herself with unique and lovable characters, and together they battle evil with good. Much like how we grew up with Harry Potter, the reader matures with Celaena and witnesses her transformation from an 18-year-old assassin to a strong, young ruler fighting for her kingdom.
Hulu has snagged the rights to this goldmine with producer Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy) and writer Kira Snyder (The 100) attached. The adaptation will be a TV series based on all eight novels and three companion novels, and will most likely be titled Queen of Shadows, the name of the fourth book in the series.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman
Gail Honeyman’s debut novel about a socially awkward 29-year-old woman living in Glasgow, Scotland with a suppressed traumatic childhood made huge waves when it was released in 2017. So it was no surprise that Reese Witherspoon and her production company, Hello Sunshine, snatched up the rights as soon as they were available. The novel is quirky, charming, endearing, funny, and hits on some very real issues. We strongly recommend the book on its own, but given Witherspoon’s track record with adaptations, we are very much looking forward to the film as well.
‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman
by Noelle Stevenson
Back in 2011, as a young college kid, Noelle Stevenson, under the pseudonym gingerhaze, would post funny fan drawings on Tumblr of popular comic characters, most notably a hipster Legolas and a cheeky version of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. As a school assignment, she created the character of Nimona, the rambunctious shape-shifting sidekick to the super villain, Sir Ballister Blackheart. After posting a series of drawings following the precocious Nimona and her knight-turned-mad-scientist boss in their hilarious fight to take down Sir Ambrosius Goldenlion, she caught the eye of Harper Collins, which signed a publishing deal with her.
Nimona was released as a graphic novel in 2012, and also doubled as her senior thesis. The animated feature film, optioned by 20th Century Fox, was supposed to be released in February 2020, but has been pushed back until January 14, 2021.
‘Nimona’ by Noelle Stevenson
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
A 15-year-old autistic boy, Christopher John Francis Boone, comes under suspicion for the murder of his neighbor’s dog with a garden fork. The self-proclaimed “mathematician with some behavioral difficulties” decides to write a novel about his own investigation into the mystery, despite his father forbidding him from sticking his nose in other people’s business. The story is told from the point of view of Christopher, in a delightful and insightful understanding of the mind of someone on the spectrum.
Through Mark Haddon’s incredible writing, we experience the world the way Christopher does, his trepidations about meeting people, feelings on being touched, and even ordering his chapters with prime numbers. Brad Pitt bought the rights to the novel for Warner Brothers, and casting had only just begun when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Either way, it is a heartfelt must-read about what it is like to be an outsider, and one movie we cannot wait to see.
‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon
Y: The Last Man
by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
One of the most critically-acclaimed science-fiction comic book series of all time, Y: The Last Man follows Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand, in a post-apocalyptic world after a mysterious plague wipes out every mammal with a Y chromosome on the planet, except for Yorick and Ampersand. The threat of extinction and the chaos in the world that ensues — like planes that were piloted by men falling from the sky — spurs Yorick, Ampersand, and Government Agent 355 on a special mission to find answers as to why he and his monkey were the only survivors of the global androcide and a solution to save the human race. All while having to fight off militant amazons, an assassin, a ninja, and their own personal feelings, of course.
Fans of the 60-issue comic book have waited over a decade for this to be turned into a television series, and FX has finally obliged. Filming has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but fans remain hopeful that it will finally get made.