In honor of Netflix’s adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse series, Shadow and Bone, which premieres April 23rd, I put together a list of books I think might also be due for a screen adaptation. Because as much as Hollywood likes to think they’ve figured out how to mine libraries for content, we all know they’ve only scratched the surface.
1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Big budget movie franchise or streaming series, I don’t care, just someone put this series on a screen where I can watch it ASAP! This series has something for everyone: Space! Fairy tales! Cyborgs! Mind Control! Carswell Thorne (read the books, you’ll understand)! Really, if you are a fan of Firefly, Star Wars, or fairy tales, odds are you will find something appealing in this series. The key here is a studio that can pay for quality special effects, and a cast with strong chemistry.
2. The ENTIRE Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Walden Media/Disney managed to create relatively strong adaptations of three of the books several years back (The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe was by far the best), but the series lost steam and they never finished the full seven. Perhaps a seven-book-long adaptation would be better suited as a streaming series, allowing for more breathing space to fill in the gaps as the cast of characters ages and shifts focus. I hear Disney+ is taking a shot at a second Percy Jackson adaptation, why not give Narnia another try too?
3. The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
Like the first series on this list, The Daevabad Trilogy could work well as a movie franchise or a streaming series, but either way, it just needs to be done. Actually, if it went the streaming route, there’s a lot of backstory that could be explored and expanded with the added run-time, and the details of a certain time-jump in between books could be fleshed out…but it certainly has the big blockbuster moments movie studios like to capitalize on. Just someone do it, okay?
4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
As I was possibly the only student in my high school class that even semi-enjoyed this reading assignment, it might be surprising to see it on this list, but I think it could serve well as a PBS Masterpiece type mini-series. For starters, it’s a period piece (pre-industrial China), but not one that is often dramatized for western audiences. Secondly, the scope of the drama, showcasing one family’s rising, falling, and rising again over several decades, is well-balanced with the quiet struggles of the marriage that is the foundation of this family, giving the story a feel that is both expansive and intimate at the same time, similar to the way recent adaptations of Les Miserables and War and Peace have struck me. The book has a more detached, surreal tone, so I think seeing it onscreen might help more people grasp the pathos underneath that, and the themes are certainly ripe for reexamination.
5. The Supervillain and Me by Danielle Banas
I do really like this book, but its placement on this list has less to do with an urgent need for it to be adapted, and more to do with it just being an obviously good fit for Netflix. I mean, teen rom-com meets superheroes? Based on a YA novel? Tell me I’m wrong.
What about everyone else? What books are you dying to see onscreen? Do you have a preference for movie or streaming adaptations? Drop your ideas in the comments, and we can hope someone from Hollywood takes note!