15 YA Adaptations In Development (And 15 Possibilities)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Cover Art

It should be no surprise at this point that movie studios often buy the rights to literature in order to make hit movies.

Sometimes it’s because studios are in a dry spell when it comes to screenplays and other times it’s simply because they see the potential for a popular movie adaptation.

Many different books have been adapted into movies and TV shows. Everything from short stories to biblical epics have at one point been adapted for the big screen.

That being said, young adult novels are often good picks for a movie or TV show because they have a wider audience.

While not every YA adaptation is guaranteed to become successful, some could become so popular that they go on to span an entire series of movies. The Harry Potter series is a good example of this, as it captures themes that both children and adults can connect to.

Whether the book focuses on a dystopianfuture or two teens falling in love, YA novels can involve several different types of stories.

So far this year, there have already been several YA books that have been adapted into movies and TV shows.

For example, Ready Player One, Love, Simon, and The Darkest Minds all derived from YA books. Since there are already many more planned for 2018 alone, it’s safe to assume that the trend won’t be going away anytime soon.

In the meantime, here are the 15 YA Adaptations In Development (And 15 Rumors). 

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Legend by Marie Lu Cover
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30 In Development: Legend

Legend by Marie Lu Cover

Legend is the first book in a trilogy by author Marie Lu.

The novel is based in a dystopian future and centers around two fifteen-year-olds named June Iparis and Day.

June is part of the wealthier districts of the Republic, while Day is a wanted criminal who is thought to have ended the life of June’s brother.

The two end up uncovering their country’s darkest secrets.

While CBS Films had initially bought the rights to the books, BCDF Pictures recently acquired the rights and gave Joseph Muszynski the task of writing the script. 

29 Possibility: Cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Cover

Cinder is a story about a mechanic named Linh Cinder who happens to be a cyborg.

After being blamed for her stepsister’s sickness, Cinder becomes romantically involved with Prince Kai, and in turn, is part of the intergalactic struggle.

Cinder is written by Marissa Meyer and is one of the many books in The Lunar Chronicles series.

Back in 2013 when Meyer was promoting her second book called Scarlet, she said negations were being wrapped up with a movie studio and that she had her fingers crossed.

That being said, nothing has happened with the movie since then. 

28 In Development: Shatter Me

Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi

This book is set in a dystopian setting that focuses on a seventeen-year-old girl named Juliette.

Juliette has a fatal touch, which means that she ends the life of anyone who touches her.

After accidentally taking someone’s life, Juliette is thrown in prison and the world outside becomes more and more chaotic. The population has become stricken with fatal disease, making food nearly impossible to find.

Once rumors spread about people wanting to start a war, the Reestablishment decide that they want to use Juliette as a weapon.

A television series has been in development at ABC Signature Studios and author Tahereh Mafi keeps fans updated through Twitter. 

27 Possibility: Uglies

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld Cover

In this science fiction novel by Scott Westerfeld, all citizens are considered an “ugly” until they turn 16, at which time they can undergo cosmetic surgery and move to a different, prettier part of a city.

The book centers around Tally Youngblood, who discovers a town where nobody is pretty soon before she is scheduled to get plastic surgery. 

The author teased a possible movie on Twitter saying, “To all asking about the Uglies movie: yes there will be news! But not today.”

However, this was posted in 2014 and no updates have been heard since. 

26 In Development: Long Way Down

While most books take place over several days or even months, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds takes place in the amount of time it takes a young boy to take an elevator down eight stories.

The story revolves around a fifteen-year-old who is seeking revenge after his brother has been shot.

On his way down the elevator, the main character hears stories from people who have already passed away, which teaches the readers about “the cycle of violence.”

The book has been optioned by Universal Studios and will be produced by Michael De Luca and John Legend. 

25 Possibility: Illuminae

Illuminae Authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae takes place on the planet Kerenza, which main character Kady Grant lives on - or at least until her planet is attacked and she must flee her home on a spaceship. 

Illuminae isn’t like typical young adult books, however.

Instead of setting the book up with the usual paragraphs to tell the story, authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff use a combination of different types of data from the spaceship in order to tell the story, including maps, interviews, and messages.

Working with Warner Bros., Plan B Entertainment had planned on setting up a movie adaptation for Illuminae. However, the latest update was back in 2015. 

24 In Development: Red Queen

Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard Cover

Red Queen was the first book in a series of young adult novels by Victoria Aveyard. 

In the novel, the world is separated by people who have silver blood and red blood. People with red blood are on the poorer side of society, while those with silver blood live like royalty and have superpowers.

Mare Borrow is among the people with red blood, although it's soon discovered that she actually has one of these superhuman powers.

The movie rights were picked up at Universal Studios and Elizabeth Banks was hired to direct the film in 2016. 

23 Possibility: The Merciless

The Merciless by Danielle Vega Cover

Danielle Vega’s The Merciless focuses on a girl who made a bad choice when it came to picking friends.

Sofia Flores became friends with a group of girls because of their looks. What she soon realizes, however, is that in their free time, they perform exorcisms on other girls.

The plot for The Merciless may not seem like something you’d expect from a YA book, but it certainly sounds like a story we'd see on the big screen.

It was announced back in 2014 that Marlene King from Pretty Little Liars would be writing the script for the movie adaptation.

However, four years have passed and this adaptation still remains a rumor. 

22 In Development: The Beast Is An Animal

The Beast is an Animal Cover by Peternelle van Arsdale

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale is about two sisters who become a beast that devours human souls after being abandoned by their father.

The main character, Alys, is moved to a nearby village after hers is attacked.

The Beast controls this village through fear, but it is later revealed that both the Beast and Alys have a secret.

Last year it was announced that Ridley Scott was developing The Beast Is An Animal with the help of Amazon Studios.

With plans for his Alien prequels seemingly falling through, Scott may now have more time to work on this project. 

21 Possibility: Let It Snow

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

John Green should be a familiar name to both readers and moviegoers. After all, two of his books have already received movie adaptations - The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns.

Now it is rumored that Let It Snow, which was written by Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, might be next.

Taking place on Christmas Eve during a snow-storm, this book consists of three separate romance stories that tie together.

Back in 2016, Universal pushed the release date for Let It Snow back to 2017, but obviously, the movie was never released. 

20 In Development: The Wicked Deep

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw Cover

The Wicked Deep is one of the darker books on this list. This YA novel is about three sisters who were drowned after they were accused of witchery.

Every year they come back through the bodies of vulnerable girls to drown boys in the harbor.

Around the time that the sisters are supposed to return, a seventeen-year-old named Penny Talbot falls in love with a boy who could potentially become a victim.

It sounds a lot like Hocus Pocus, and The Wicked Deep is actually currently in development over at Netflix.

Back near the end of March, Netflix won the screen rights for Shea Ernshaw’s The Wicked Deep. 

19 Possibility: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Cover Art

Harry Potter may be one of the most popular YA franchises out there, and the movies have become just as popular as the books.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may have started out as a play, but the script was released in a book on July 31, 2016.

The play takes place nineteen years after The Deathly Hallows and centers around Harry Potter’s son, Albus Severus, Potter who is attending Hogwarts for his first year.

Not much will be known until then.

18 In Development: Looking for Alaska

Looking For Alaska By John Green

John Green no doubt knows what he’s doing when it comes to YA novels, since two of his books have already been made into movies. However, a third is also in development.

Looking for Alaska is about a boy named Miles Halter who meets a girl named Alaska Young, who unexpectedly passes away.

The book is based on John Green’s early life and was his first novel.

It was reported back in May that Hulu would be giving the novel an eight episode mini-series.

While it may not be another movie, this is no doubt another success for John Green. 

17 Possibility: The Sky Is Everywhere

The Sky Is Everywhere Author Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson consists of a good old classic love triangle.

The main character, Lennie, is dealing with her sister’s passing and finds herself in love with two different boys - her sister’s old boyfriend named Toby and a new kid in town named Joe.

Warner Bros. optioned Nelson’s book back in 2015 but it seems to have not made any progress since.

That same year, Warner Bros. also optioned Nelson’s novel I’ll Give You the Sun, but this too also never came to be.

Maybe one day Nelson's work will be adapted into a movie, but as for now, it's just a rumor. 

16 In Development: A Darker Shade Of Magic

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab Cover

Standing as the first in a trilogy of books, V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic is about a magician named Kell who travels between parallel universes via London.

After he meets a woman named Delilah Bard, the two must save each of the different worlds. 

In early 2017, Sony Pictures announced that it had won a bidding war to Schwab’s book and that Gerald Butler was going to be producing the movie adaptation.

While this sounded promising, no other details have been shed on the production, leaving this adaptation as a rumor for now.

15 Possibility: Shadow And Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Cover

Not all is what it seems in Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

Traveling across a dangerous stretch of land in order to gather supplies for the Kingdom of Ravka, Alina Starkov discovers that she has the unique ability to produce light.

She uses this power to fight off monsters named Volcra.

As she is trained to harness her power, she begins to live with the military elite and discovers a dangerous secret.

14 In Development: Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush centers on a sophomore in High School named Nora Grey who becomes attracted to a new boy in school named Patch Cipriano.

Patch isn’t like most boys, though. Instead, he is a fallen angel who is connected to Nora’s past.

While LD Entertainment said that it would be adapting the book series, it was announced in 2014 via Fitzpatrick’s website that it was the wrong time for the movie.

Now, in July of this year, it was announced that Kellie Cyrus would be directing the movie and production would begin soon. 

13 Possibility: Unremembered

Unremembered by Jessica Brody is about a plane crash that only has one survivor.

The sixteen-year-old girl who survived the crash is completely unharmed and doesn’t remember anything before the plane crash.

What makes things even stranger is that her DNA and fingerprints are not in any type of database and she has no idea who she is.

A movie adaptation was supposedly in the works in 2015, according to the Brody' official website.

However, nothing has ever come from the screenplay that was pictured on her site. 

12 In Development: Sorta Like A Rockstar

Sorta Like A Rockstar Cover by Matthew Quick

Amber Appleton doesn’t exactly live a normal life. She lives in the back of a bus with her mom and dog Bobby Big Boy.

Although she may not live the perfect life, Amber has an incredible amount of optimism... until she faces a tragedy.

Fox Searchlight was going to adapt Matthew Quick’s book back in 2013, but plans fell through and Netflix is now distributing the film.

Though the deal isn’t quite finalized, Bryce Dallas Howard will be directing the movie, which would stand as her directing debut. 

11 Possibility: Monument 14

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne Cover

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne is set in a post-apocalyptic world that begins when a hailstorm causes Dean’s bus to crash into a supermarket.

After the crash, the children on the school bus realize that the outside world has been struck with environmental and chemical disasters that could prove to be more dangerous than staying inside the store.

In 2016, Strange Weather Films hired Sandy Widyanata to direct a movie adaptation of Laybourne’s first book.

This was in the middle of 2016, however, and nothing has been heard since. 

10 In Development: The Sandcastle Empire

The Sandcastle Empire Cover by Kayla Olson

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson takes place in a world that has been effected by climate change.

A radical group called the Wolfpack controls society.

After becoming fed up with the injustice that she has been facing at the hands of the Wolfpack, main character Eden travels to a place where the Wolfpack don’t have control.

She arrives at Sanctuary Island, but things don’t go according to plan when a new friend disappears.

It was announced in 2016 that Leonardo DiCaprio and his business partner Jennifer Davisson would be producing the movie, with Paramount distributing the film. 

9 Possibility: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass Cover by Sarah J. Mass

Throne of Glass begins with Celaena Sardothien being released from the salt mines and taken before Prince Dorian.

Celaena is an assassin, and in order to get her freedom, she has to compete among other thieves and warriors in order to become the next royal assassin.

Hulu was thought to be developing a show back in 2016, but nothing has happened the past two years.

Kira Snyder was hired to write the screenplay and Anna Foerster was hired to direct the pilot.

With no new announcements, this TV show is as good as a rumor. 

8 In Development: Red Rising

Red Rising By Pierce Brown Cover

Red Rising by Pierce Brown is about a world where social classes are color-coded.

Darrow lives as a member of the Red caste, which is the lowest social class.

He works on the surface of Mars, making the planet livable for future generations, but what he doesn’t know is that Mars has sustained life for years.

Darrow and the other Reds have just been slaves to the higher social class. However, Darrow is about to infiltrate the futuristic society.

While the book was previously going to be adapted by Universal Studios, Brown has since stated that he is working with streaming services and an undisclosed director who wants to make the first season of the show. 

7 Possibility: The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass Cover

In a fairy-tale futuristic setting, America Singer lives in a society that is separated by a caste system.

She is in love with a boy a level below her and wants nothing to do with the Selection - a chance for 35 girls to live like royalty and potentially fall in love with Prince Maxon.

When she is one of the Selected, she discovers that what she has always feared may not be so bad after all.

Author Kiera Cass teased a movie adaptation online with a Tweet, saying that the film had found a director. However, this was in 2016 and nothing has been heard since. 

6 In Development: Cursed

Cursed Artwork by Frank Miller

While many young adult novels get movie adaptations years after the book is released, Cursed by author Tom Wheeler and illustrator Frank Miller is being made at the same time as a Netflix TV show adaptation is being written.

The book won’t be published until Fall 2019, but the TV show should come out some time after this, since the project will still needs to be filmed.

Cursed is based on Arthurian legend and focuses on a teenager named Nimue who becomes Lady of the Lake.

The Netflix show will have ten episodes in the first season. 

5 Possibility: Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler Cover

This young adult novel is a heartbreaking tale of two high school students who decided to end their relationship.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton had collected many objects over the course of their relationship, which Min decides to give to Ed along with a letter that explains why they broke up.

The author, Daniel Handler, may not sound familiar, but that’s only because he goes by the pen name Lemony Snicket.

Hailee Steinfeld was being considered for the lead role and Fox 2000 was interested in distributing the movie.

However, nothing has ever come to be. 

4 In Development: Dry

Dry by Jarrod and Neal Shusterman Cover

Written by Jarrod and Neal Shusterman, Dry has a fairly straight-forward premise.

When water starts to run out in Alyssa’s town, things start to get chaotic and she is forced to make tough decisions in order to survive.

Back in February, Paramount won an auction for the movie rights for Dry and is currently paying the authors to write the script, so its only a matter of time before a new update comes out about possible casting and a filming start date.

Selling the movie rights means that the money well for Shusterman and his son is anything but dry. 

3 Possibility: The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen Cover

Having been raised in exile, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is finally ready to return to her kingdom and take the throne in The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.

With the help of a magical jewel called the Tearling sapphire, the Queen’s Guard, and other knights, Kelsea sets out on her journey.

She is tasked with not only surviving her journey back home, but also saving the kingdom as well.

Back in 2013, Emma Watson was hired to star and executive produce a movie adaptation, but alas, nothing has happened in over five years. 

2 In Development: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith Cover

As the title would have you believe, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight involves a young girl who falls in love at first sight.

It happens at the JFK airport after Hadley Sullivan misses her flight and meets a boy who she is incredibly attracted to.

They end up losing each other in the airport, but fate might let them reconnect.

Hailee Steinfeld was supposed to star in the movie back in 2014, but author Jennifer E. Smith has since updated saying that Steinfeld was no longer going to appear in it.

Smith also stated that “they’re currently casting it, with an eye toward production next year.”

1 Possibility: The Diabolic

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid Cover

Nemesis is a humanoid weapon called a Diabolic that has been crafted for one specific purpose - to protect a young girl named Sidonia.

A Diabolic will end anyone's life who gets in its way of it protecting the person who it has been assigned. However, Nemesis has to disguise itself as Sidonia in order to protect her.

Sony Pictures was said to be making a movie adaptation of S.J. Kincaid’s book, but little news has been heard since 2016.

The Diabolic won many awards and its sequels, Vortex and Catalyst, have also been praised.


Are there any other YA adaptations coming soon that you know about? Let us know in the comments!

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