(WARNING: Mild spoilers may appear for the series below)
Recent movie news has reported that David Heyman, producer for the entire Harry Potter franchise, will soon be producing a live-action adaptation of the Erin Hunter-written Warrior series. Heyman is trading in his wands and Quidditch for the ever-popular 30+ book series following warring clans of wild cats. Within the onslaught of young adult adaptations, there have been both successes (Maze Runner, Hunger Games, The 5th Wave) and failures (Mortal Instruments, Divergent, Percy Jackson).
Not everything YA has caught on with the general audience, but just as the superhero genre will continue chugging along, so will YA novels continue to make it to the silver screen. While fans of the fighting cats of the Warriors await their turn to sit in the theater, let's take a look at four young adult series that could follow the success of The Hunger Games and raise the YA genre to box office power.
4. The Naturals
A four-book series (The Naturals, Killer Instinct, All In, Bad Blood) written by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Naturals follows teenager Cassie Hobbes and her innate ability for profiling people. The FBI recruits Cassie for a classified team with other teenagers to solve tough cases. Along with Dean (profiler), Sloane (statistic genius), Lia (lie detector), and Michael (reads emotions), Cassie helps the FBI, all the while trying to learn the truth behind her mother's murder.
Not all YA movies need to be dystopian or fantasy, as The Naturals presents as more of a Criminal Minds feel within the genre of psychological thriller. You witness the team grow into a unit as their cases sometimes hit too close to home, including obsession, copycat killers, plenty of family issues, and a generations-long secret group of killers. All the while, the series comes full circle for Cassie in Bad Blood, as the mystery of her mother's murder comes uncovered and threatens the entire team.
3. The Illuminae Files
Set in the year 2575, this two-book space opera is written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The first book, Illuminae, follows Kady Grant and her ex-boyfriend Ezra Mason. After their planet, Kerenza, is invaded by two rival corporations at war over it, they evacuate on separate ships and find another set of problems that requires their efforts. With a mutating plague and a potentially rogue AI system endangering both their lives, Kady and Ezra have to come back together to uncover the secrets of the events unfolding before them.
Gemina, the second installment, follows new characters Hanna Donnelly and Nik Malikov, who live aboard the Heimdall space station. Serving as a direct sequel, Gemina offers events elsewhere in space, roughly five minutes after the end of Illuminae, all dealing with the cover-up of the events on Kerenza. Hanna and Nik portray the upper class girl/bad boy pairing as they attempt to defend their home as the attempted cover-up of Kerenza continues. Also in the midst of all of this, the surviving inhabitants of Kerenza are heading to dock with Heimdall, including some familiar faces from Illuminae.
2. Old Kingdom Trilogy
This dark fantasy trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen), written by Garth Nix, weaves through interconnected tales that follow a family of necromancers and the respected position of Abhorsen. The Abhorsen is a necromancer who uses both Free magic and Charter magic to lay the dead to rest and protect the world from dark entities. Beginning with Sabriel, a young girl by the same name must assume the role of Abhorsen, with her father's fate unknown and protect the Old Kingdom from the threat of the dark Kerrigor.
Lirael and Abhorsen both follow the coming-of-age story of Lirael as she struggles with not achieving the precognitive “sight” that is expected from her lineage. As she moves closer to her true birthright as the Remembrancer, she embarks on a rescue mission with Sameth, son of Sabriel. After learning of her true lineage, her relation to Sabriel, and the even greater destiny awaiting her, the third book serves more as the second half of Lirael. With the threat of the resurrected Orannis the Destroyer looming, the march to the Red Lake continues and it will take Lirael, Sabriel, and other magical members if they hope to re-imprison the Destroyer and save the Old Kingdom.
Finally returning to the familiar YA setting of a dystopian future, Marie Lu's Legend series takes place in the Republic of America. The Republic is police state which requires all citizens to participate in a Trial when they turn 10 — they either prove fit for combat or are sentenced to labor camps. In Legend, we meet the rebellious Day and June, a prodigy who scored perfectly in the Trial. After she is saved by Day, she falls in love with him. She comes to learn that Day is the boy suspected of murdering June's older brother. All the while, a larger conspiracy begins to loom involving the Republic, the truth behind the labor camps, and the Republic's involvement in a virus plaguing the poor.
In Prodigy, June and Day travel to join the Patriots, a rebel group from the Colonies looking to topple the Republic, but not everything is as it seems. As a new Elector Primo rises to power in the Republic and presents a revolutionary set of ideas, June and Day find themselves in the middle of a power struggle to which they were ignorant. Champion, the finale of the series, sees the Colonies and the Republic's war finally coming to fruition. The war ensues while Day and June are involved in the time sensitive matter of developing a cure for the virus before it's too late. We also see how the effects of the illness concludes the three-book love story between June and Day.
What do you think the next successful young adult film adaptation could be? Leave your comments below.