Hollywood. Loves. Books. In recent years, it seems that any successful book is guaranteed to be optioned for a movie, and Young Adult novels are the most sought-after of all. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Divergent, Maze Runner, The Fault in Our Stars, The Book Thief... the list goes on, with more and more YA adaptations coming out each year.
So what's next on the bookshelf-to-big-screen slate?
There are a huge number of YA series that have been optioned, but that doesn't always mean that they will make it to cinematic glory. Some of these are well on the way to production, others are still kicking around the possibility pile, but all of them would be absolutely incredible to see on screen...
The Queen of the Tearling (Erika Johansen)
Erika Johansen made headlines when she netted a seven-figure book deal for this fantasy trilogy, which combines post-apocalyptic fiction with classical fantasy. The series centers on the 19-year-old Princess Kelsea who must journey to the center of the kingdom to take her place as ruler. She has an enemy in the magic-wielding Red Queen, and having been raised outside the court, has a lot to learn about the intrigues of her kingdom. Rebellion, mystic gems, a world built centuries after ours, and incredible characters make this series an absolute must-read.
Two of the three books (Queen of the Tearling and Invasion of the Tearling) are currently published, with the third (Fate of the Tearling) set for release at the end of this year. A film series is also confirmed as in development, with Emma Watson set to produce and star. No further movement has been announced on the project recently, but with Watson involved, there is little doubt that it will be a huge success.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)
Another fantasy trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is set within a world like ours, but filled with mysterious beings and magical secrets. Karou, a blue-haired art student and a girl who fills her sketchbooks with drawings of fabulous creatures, is out to discover who she really is... and discovers that the monsters she draws are not the products of her imagination. A complex plot of stolen teeth and dangerous angels, it's a fascinating new world to enjoy.
Universal Pictures has bought the film rights to all three novels (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Dreams of God and Monsters), and the project is currently in development. Michael Gracey is set to direct, and Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean) has been brought on as a screenwriter.
Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Mass)
Partly inspired by Cinderella, the Throne of Glass series follows Celeana, a teenage assassin battling other career killers for the position of Royal Assassin. A fascinating concept all on its own, the Throne of Glass series gets deeper as Celeana discovers a conspiracy within the kingdom, and must discover her destiny and what she is truly fighting for.
The high-fantasy series is six books long (with several prequel novellas also published), and the final installment is due for release next year. Author Sarah J. Mass also revealed last year that the series has been optioned for TV, with the Mark Gordon Company (Grey's Anatomy) at the helm. At the moment, few other details are known (network, release date, etc.), but the high-fantasy series is sure to appeal to the same audiences that love Game of Thrones. Hopefully, Throne of Glass will be just as huge a hit!
Ready Player One (Ernest Kline)
A dystopian sci-fi, Ready Player One revolves around a future MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game, for those of you with fingers not warped from hours on a controller), where players escape from a harsh reality to an online utopia. Wade Watts is devoted to the game, and manages to unlock the first clue to a contest that promises the winner control of the game and the massive fortune of the games' creator.
A movie is most definitely in the works for this one, with a release date of December 2017 announced. Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) is set to star as Art3mis, but Wade himself is yet to be cast. The film will be helmed by legendary director Steven Spielberg, and more casting details are sure to be released soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
Red Queen (Victoria Aveyard)
Another fantasy trilogy, Red Queen is set in a world where class distinction is based on blood — in the most literal sense. Everyone is classified as either a red blood (the lower class) or silver blood (the ruling class, possessing magic powers). When a young red-blood girl named Mare discovers powers of her own, she is announced as a secret silver-blood and brought into the palace to live as a princess... but will continue fighting in secret for the Red Revolution.
The first in the trilogy (Red Queen) was only published last year, and the second (Glass Sword) is due for release next month. However, Universal actually optioned the series before it was even released (back in 2013), and already has a writer, director, and producer on board. (Gennifer Hutchison, Elizabeth Banks and Pouya Shahbazian, respectively.)
Graceling Realm (Kristin Cashore)
More female-fronted-fantasy, Graceling (the first book in a trilogy) is set in a world where a chosen few are "graced" with extreme skill. For the King's niece, Katsa, her grace is as much a burden as a gift. Given the ability to kill with her bare hands, she is forced into serve as a torturer and assassin to the crown until she meets another Graced fighter, Po. The two build a unique friendship, and set off to discover the secrets of the Graceling Realm.
Reliance Entertainment optioned the rights to Graceling in 2013, and announced that Piers Ashworth (St. Trinian's) had signed on to write the script. However, no news has emerged since the initial announcement, suggesting that the project may be stalled in development.
An Ember in the Ashes (Sabaa Tahir)
An epic fantasy novel inspired by both modern war zones and the ancient Roman military, An Ember in the Ashes tells the story of a young slave named Laia and a decorated solider named Elias. Laia is out for justice for her arrested brother, and Elias secretly wants to break free from the tyranny that he is trained to enforce.
The book began as a standalone novel, but a sequel has since been announced (A Torch Against The Night, to be released later this year). Paramount Pictures bought the rights before the book was even released, and at SDCC this year author Sabaa Tahir revealed that the script was almost finished. From the sounds of it, we can expect the movie fairly soon!
The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer)
A sci-fi take on the classic fairytales, The Lunar Chronicles re-tells the stories of Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and the Evil Queen... with cyborgs, androids, and a vision of the far future. The series starts with the story of a cyborg mechanic named Cinder, who becomes involved with a Prince, and a complex intergalactic plot.
The series of five novels was a huge hit, and with the current popularity of live-action fairy tales (Once Upon A Time, all those Disney remakes...), this is a new twist that has the potential to make a truly incredible film franchise. The rights were sold in 2013, and a screenplay was on the way, but nothing has happened since.
Obviously, there are lots of other amazing YA series that could be adapted for film and TV, and many of them have already been optioned. However, it's worth remembering that optioning doesn't always mean that a book will find its way onto our screens, just that they are being considered for further development.
Luckily, with most YA adaptations doing extremely well, the chances of most of these making it to production are pretty good. Even if a first film doesn't pan out, it's possible that we could see some of these given a further chance as TV series (like Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments).