Novels to Movies

Before I start, I have to apologize! I’ve been really busy with numerous things in my life. I’m working really hard to finish the edits of Seconds Before Sunrise while completing my senior year in college. I’m also spending a lot of time with my family, but I promise I’m trying to post every other day!

Okay. Phew. Now today’s topic:

Every time I go to the theatre, I see a new preview to a novel-movie adaptation. The crowd either sighs or is filled with excitement. There are even entire bookcases at the bookstore dedicated to upcoming movies, but movie adaptations are arguable. Readers are often disappointed by this, but do all adaptations deserve this? I don’t think so. In my personal opinion, I look at adaptations as separate pieces of art–“a sister piece.” It isn’t going to be the novel, but it will represent the novel in a visual manner, so I try to stay positive and open-minded by taking the movie as what it is: a movie. Because of this, I wanted to reflect on my top recent favorites. Why? Because I have a list of upcoming novels-to-movies that I can’t wait to see, and I’m hoping others do too! (Or considering seeing them after they think of their favorites and maybe decide novels-to-movies aren’t so horrible after all.)

1. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Adventure/Drama/Mystery)


The novel has much more time to get in-depth with the protagonist’s background along with his family’s background, so I am biased when I saw this movie is great. A lot of information is left out. (The novel is amazing!) But I understand why they had to cut it. They didn’t have hours and hours to put in all of the stories they put in the novel. But, in my opinion, if you have read the novel, the director seems to do everything they could to hint at these stories and bring up all of the emotions the novel did. This is a very sad book, revolving around loss and 9/11, and the movie isn’t any different. There are amazing performances done by all of the actors, and I really enjoyed this adaptation, even through I watched most of it through tears.

2. Never Let Me Go (Drama/Fantasy/Romance)kazuo_ishiguro

This is one that I strongly encourage reading the novel beforehand. The way the reader learns as a child would learn (and with the characters) without the writer simply coming out to explain the situation is phenomenal. This was the biggest loss in the movie, because they had to come out and say it in the movie. But I still loved it, because the movie allowed me to simply concentrate on the relationships between Ruth, Kathy, and Tommy, while also considering the point of the novel (no spoilers.) I recently watched this movie again with a friend who hasn’t read the book, and they loved it. But it is a tear-jerker! (As most of my favorite movies are.) However, I still found remarkable beauty in the meaning, and you won’t walk away without thinking about life.

3. One Day: (Drama/Romance)

One Day Movie_book

I fell in love with this novel like Em fell in love with Dex: insatiably and with hopeless aggravation. The movie brought up an entire different range of emotions. I didn’t necessarily fall in love with the characters, but I remained in love, and I saw them for who they were, and it was perfect. I have to admit that I’m not normally a fan of Anne Hathaway, but I loved her in this movie. She did a marvelous job, and Jim Sturgess rounded Dexter’s character in a way I was worried the movie wouldn’t. In the end, I was filled with the same emotions I was with the book, and I walked away satisfied and chatting about all the symbolic aspects of the characters’ lives. 

4. On the Road: (Advernture/Drama)70401

A Jack Kerouac classic. I love this novel. It’s one of my favorites. (In fact, most of my favorite novels-to-movies are my favorite novels.) In this case, there were some major changes, especially at the beginning, but I could understand why they did it. I still think the director retained the voice of the novel while also depicting the Beat Generation. I definitely loved Dean Moriarty. I thought Garrett Hedlund did an amazing job.

5. Beautiful Creatures: (Young-adult/Fantasy/Romance)

You may have noticed, but this is my first young-adult book-to-movie adaptation. When I originally sat down, I realized I was generally disappointed by young-adult adaptations, but I am very open-minded when it comes to adaptations. The reason I think I loved this one so much, despite a lot of information being left out, was how visually stunning it was. The director clearly put in a lot of hours in to the set alone, and I found it beautiful and dark–just like the storyline.

So what novels-to-movies are coming out? There are plenty, but here are my top five:

In the meantime, I will be writing, working, studying, and walking my cat...
In the meantime, I will be writing, working, studying, and walking my cat…

1. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

4. The Spectacular Now by Tim Thrap

5. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Other popular ones: 

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Second one)

Do you have any novels-to-movies you really enjoyed and/or looking forward to seeing? I would ask about ones you dislike, but I try to stay positive and talk about what others like rather than the parts they dislike. However, I also believe that the things people dislike are just as telling, so feel free to talk about that as well. If you have any older novels-to-movies you think I may not have seen, please let me know! Considering novels and movies are two of my favorite things, it isn’t surprising when I say I love reading and watching them.

Again, I’m sorry I’ve been so busy, but I’m trying really hard to stay on schedule! I hope everyone is having a great week, and I’m loving all these reviews coming in. I’m always available at shannonathompson@aol.com, and AEC Stellar Publishing is still giving away free ebook copies to celebrate Minutes Before Sunset winning Goodreads Book of the Month. I appreciate all the support that has poured in. It means a lot to me, and it keeps me on my toes as I continue on with the editing process of Seconds Before Sunrise.


Goodreads Quote of the Day: “I wasn’t sure what was worse: being oblivious or living within reality.” (Minutes Before Sunset)

25 thoughts on “Novels to Movies

  1. Beautiful Creatures was quite a solid movie. Those two leads gave really solid performances, especially that guy.

    As for the movie I’m most eagerly awaiting, it’d have to be “The Greatest Movie In The Universe” which is adapted from the novel of the same name, which is set to to be released sometime this year. Who wrote the book? Oh yeah, I did lol


    Hey, I can dream can’t I?

    P.S. “The Greatest Movie In The Universe” — that’s actually the current working title of my WIP.

  2. Shannon, I agree that movie adaptations are best when considered “companion” pieces. Two cases in point are John Grisham novels, I.e. The Firm and The Pelican Brief. Both had character and small plot changes, and both tinkered with the conclusion/denoumont. I could have hated them, but I chose to consider them “kindred” pieces.
    P.S. I had trouble downloading your gift into a readable format, but I will keep trying and submit the promised critique very soon. Thank you!

  3. I agree,
    Most young adult book to movie adaptions aren’t great, but persobally I disagree that the beautiful creatures adption was any good. I know its because I loved the book I feel this way but for me it was a huge let down that they didn’t try to stick closer to the book. Had I not read it before the movie I might have felt differently. But it was disappointing.

    I do love movie adptions and hold the the hightest of hopes that they will be awesome that being said i can not wait for the mortal instrements movie, even though bood are alway better, well mostly

    1. I wonder why young-adult movies seems to get the most disappointment. (At least, that’s what it seems to me when I talk to people.) I agree that they changed a lot in Beautiful Creatures, including leaving huge chunks out. I’m glad to hear another person is excited for the Mortal Instruments, because a lot of fans seem to be complaining before giving it a chance :]

    1. I agree, this is the one I’m most excited for right now. Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff is better than anything I could have hoped for!

  4. Great post! I am really looking forward to The Mortal Instruments as well. I think it looked really well cast and has me excited! Catching Fire and Percy Jackson as well. Although I was pretty shocked that Percy Jackson got a sequel at all! I hope they learned from the mistakes of the first movie.

  5. I’m really trying to re-frame the way I look at movies made from books, because I’m almost always disappointed. It’s hard not to be when you know how much more there is to a story than what can fit on-screen in two hours! But I’m trying to see them as another way of telling the story, different, not to be directly compared, etc. It’s difficult, but I’m finding it’s not so bad as long as I haven’t read the book in the year before the movie comes out. That’s why I haven’t re-read the Hunger Games books at all; I liked the first movie but had too much of the book going through my head, and that made it disappointing in many places.

    I can’t go to the movies a lot (nearest theatre is 4 hours away), so I can’t say I’m really excited about any that are coming out. I’d like to see Catching Fire, but it might have to wait for DVD release. *sigh*

  6. I heard Ben Affleck has been put forward to do a new adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. I think he’d do a good job, as long as it’s made into two or three films or a mini series.

  7. My favorite book is “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”, and they did a spectacular job making the movie adaptation. I realize this is a very, very old movie at this point, but it’s still good!

    Also, my husband is OBSESSED with Ender’s Game. As in, each time new cover art comes out, he has to buy a copy. He’s making his first trip to ComiCon next week, largely because of the film. I see no rest from geeky conversation in our house any time soon. 🙂

    1. That’s always good! I always prefer the books. I guess the point of the post was to see what readers are looking forward to seeing or what readers think novels-to-movies mean to them.

  8. I haven’t been able to keep up with the novel to movie adaptations! However, my favourites have been The Hunger Games, and The Hobbit. I also think they did a really good job with the adaptations of Harry Potter. But, my least favourite adaptation would be the most recent version of I Am Legend. It’s completely different from the book, and not in a good way. It misses the main principle of the book, and the ending is very bad also. The same goes for themovie for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

  9. Love this post – gave me at least 3 of my next reads/watches! There’s an expectation for a film adaptation to do its partnering novel ‘justice’, and I’m not quite sure why – I agree that when a movie is seen as an accompaniment to the novel, everyone generally feels much happier about things. Thoughts on Gatsby?

  10. I considered watching “Extremely loud”. The novel is one of my favorites and i somehow love the ‘atmosphere’ of the novel….so far, I had no time at all to watch the movie or was afraid that it might disappoint -focus too much on the actors performances and not on the Topic, atmosphere, etc. Going to watch it soon…..seeing it as a ‘companion piece’ is a good idea

  11. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really know what you are talking approximately!
    Bookmarked. Please also visit my website =). We could have a link exchange arrangement between us

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s