The Young Adult genre is as much a no-brainer in literature as it is Hollywood. Its target audience doesn't just consume,they gorge; breeding franchises, icons, and young adult-friendly merch to keep their voracious appetites satisfied. So, with that said, it's no wonder YA adaptations are such prime real estate for the film industry. Studios get proven narratives, recognizable titles, and an audience that have to come to expect nothing less than more, more, more.
When Harry Potter taught Hollywood a lesson in priorities, Hollywood listened. J.K. Rowling's wizarding world raked in a collective $7.7 billion at the box office, setting an attractive precedent. And while it may not have been the first successful YA adaptation ever (see The Outsiders, The Princess Diaries), it bred new standards.
Now, 2018 is upon us and with it, new blood. A vast slate of YA adaptations are making their way to screens in 2018—some massive tent-poles, some modest dramas, and some not even on the big screen at all. Between Marvel, Shakespeare, and Steven Spielberg, 2018 is going to be strong with the YA audience, no doubt reminding Hollywood that their most reliable customers are the ones who can't even legally drive yet.
Keep reading to check out 15 YA Adaptations You Didn't Know Were Coming In 2018.
15 Cloak & Dagger
Meet two characters who give the term "power couple" new meaning. Freeform and Marvel are teaming up for the new comic-based series Cloak & Dagger.
Existing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (though we likely won't see these characters teaming up alongside The Avengers any time soon), this upcoming series won't just focus on superpowers, but the power of love as Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) don the titular monikers, Cloak and Dagger, respectively. They're in the throes of young love, but their circumstances are out of the ordinary—as tends to be the case with burgeoning superheroes. While everyone else their age is worrying about Homecoming, they'll be worrying about whether or not they'll even make it home at all.
The series will premiere in spring 2018 on Thursday nights.
14 A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle's literary classic is having another go at a film adaptation, this time under the direction of Ava DuVernay. The Selma director is going from recent history to family-friendly sci-fi by way of Disney, bringing aboard celebrity titans like Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey to round out an already star-studded cast.
If you're not already familiar with the source material, A Wrinkle in Time sends a sister and brother on a mission through space to find their missing scientist father. They're aided by three astral travelers (Witherspoon, Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling) who help them navigate through the perils of the unknown.
While this adaptation has nothing to do with Marvel, a fellow Disney property, there are some recognizable tidbits that tie the two together: tesseracts, space-dwelling evil, and even whimsical psychedelia.
While YA stories tend to revolve around magic and wonder, the adaptation of Walter Dean Myers' Monster portrays a radically darker shift in tone. Starring Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, and newcomer Kelvin Harrison, Monster tells the story of a teenager, Steve Harmon, as well as three other men, on trial for murder.
Steve spends his time in a New York juvenile detention center, where he recounts the time spent detained, the trial, and the events that led to it. The novel itself incorporates a unique blend of storytelling, integrating Steven's personal diary entries, as well as a screenplay format, and the title refers to one lawyer's description of the four men on trial.
The film will premiere on January 22 at the Sundance Film Festival.
Believe it or not, William Shakespeare is no stranger to the YA universe; it just so happens that his stamp isn't quite as obvious as you might expect.
Over the years, Shakespeare has been rooted in a plethora of teen-oriented movies, including West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet), 10 Things I Hate About You (based on The Taming of the Shrew), and She's the Man (based on Twelfth Night). In 2018, another indirect adaptation is heading to theaters, this time as a kind of Shakespearean spinoff.
Ophelia, based on the novel by Lisa Klein, and set in an alternate Hamlet universe, stars Daisy Ridley in the titular role. The story imagines a world where Ophelia is the central character in Hamlet, and not Hamlet himself, offering a new perspective on an otherwise male-leaning narrative.
11 Love, Simon
Never before has a gay character been given the mainstream teen rom-com treatment. That is, until this adaptation of Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens.
Now retitled Love, Simon for the big screen, this story tells the tale of a gay teenage boy, Simon, who is frustratingly trapped in the proverbial closet. Played by Nick Robinson (Jurassic World), Simon isn't only at odds with his identity, but with an anonymous online crush and a blackmailing classmate threatening to out him to the school.
Though dealing with some heavy-handed material, this adaptation doesn't seem as though it'll steer too far away from classic high school comedy tropes, a la Pretty in Pink, Easy A, etc. Just don't expect anything too American Pie-esque, considering its PG-13 rating.
10 Maze Runner: The Death Cure
What would a year of YA adaptations be without a new entry in a massively-budgeted franchise? Maze Runner: The Death Cure, based on James Dashner's novel of the same name, is the third entry in the book series, but the concluding chapter in the film adaptations.
Starring Dylan O'Brien as Thomas, The Death Cure follows the surviving protagonists from the previous films as they continue their labyrinthine adventure, this time not by force, but by choice. In this dystopian setting, the young Gladers are in pursuit of answers, and their only chance at discovering the truth is to combine their resources in order to reach the end of the Last City (aka the most dangerous maze of all).
The Death Cure was originally planned to hit theaters in 2017, but was pushed back almost an entire year after O'Brien sustained serious injuries on set.
9 Boy Erased
After earning a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Manchester by the Sea, Lucas Hedges is stepping into the shoes of Garrod Conley, who penned the memoir Boy Erased.
When he was 19 years old, Garrod (spelled Jared in the film) was outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). However, seeing as his father is a Baptist pastor who perceives homosexuality as a sin, his outing is hardly a positive experience. His family gives Jared a choice: either he prays the gay away at a gay conversion therapy program, or he severs ties with his family forever.
Opting out of exile, Jared obliges and attends the program, only to confront even more issues with his new therapist, played by Joel Edgerton (who wears quite a few other hats on this adaptation as both screenwriter and director).
8 The Darkest Minds
In the dark and brutal future depicted in Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds, superpowers are a kind of side effect to a mysterious disease - assuming you survive it, of course.
The story focuses on a young girl named Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) who, at only 10 years old, is sent off to the government-run facility called Thurmond. Over the course of a few years, she develops special powers, which this facility hardly considers "super."
At the age of 16, Ruby finally manages to escape, fleeing her oppressors and teaming up with a group of ragtag teens who are escaping other similar facilities. Young love blossoms (but she's too afraid of the damage her uncontrollable powers might cause), rebellions rise (despite her resistance), and freedom is imminent (assuming they can survive the journey).
7 To All the Boys I've Loved Before
In most love stories, there are typically two individuals who share a connection that inevitably grows into something more. However, in Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Lara Jean Song's five loves were secret loves, known only by herself and the letters on which she documented them. However, per the perils of unrequited love stories, Lara's secret love letters result in chaos when each one is mailed to their respective crush. This isn't necessarily your traditional love story, but that's exactly what sets it apart in the YA romance genre.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before is part of a book series, including P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean. It's unclear at the moment whether or not the sequels will get the film treatment. The film will the new X-Men trilogy's Jubliee, Lana Condor.
6 New Warriors
In the world of entertainment, Marvel is a titan. They own the comic market, film market, toy market, and as of recently, the TV market; and following in the footsteps of Agents of SHIELD, Jessica Jones, and Runaways is New Warriors.
This team of superheroes is comprised of Squirrel Girl, Mister Immortal, Night Thrasher, Speedball, Microbe, and Debris. In the same way most teens struggle to find themselves during puberty, this group has the struggle of super abilities to join the mix—just in case being a teenager wasn't difficult enough. Just imagine The Avengers, only greasier and just slightly more emotional.
Though originally planned to air on Freeform, alongside Marvel property Cloak & Dagger, plans have changed, opening it up to other bidders. The premiere is set for an unspecified 2018 date.
5 The House of Tomorrow
Now, here is an adaptation that is at once a traditional coming-of-age story while being anything but traditional. Based on Peter Bognanni's novel of the same name, The House of Tomorrow is about a teenage boy named Sebastian Prendergast (Asa Butterfield) who's been raised his philosophic futurist Nana (Ellen Burstyn). However, after his Nana suffers a stroke, Sebastian's eyes are opened to a very different vision of life, courtesy of 16-year-old named Jared— the son of a zealous single father, the owner of a transplanted heart, and a fan of all things punk rock.
As their friendship grows, Sebastian is left to his own devices, deciding which direction his life will ultimately lead; whether or not it'll take inspiration from the unusual characters he surrounds himself with or grow out of something completely unique.
4 Break My Heart 1000 Times
In Daniel Waters' Break My Heart 1000 Times, the world has become an apocalyptic wasteland. In the nine years that have passed since the Event, millions are dead, only to be replaced by ghosts, grim reminders of the cataclysm. These ghosts are everywhere, and the story's main protagonist Veronica Calder (who will be played by Bella Thorne in the adaptation) is visited by two ghosts on a daily basis.
Veronica eventually comes to a frightening conclusion: these ghosts are getting more and more powerful by the day. So, curious about how the ghosts came to be in the first place, but also determined to find out why their strength is growing, Veronica decides to investigate. Eventually, she and her classmate Kirk work together to piece together a tragic puzzle that has left the world shrouded in mystery for nearly an entire decade.
3 Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet
In Joanne Proulx's Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet, a teenager named Luke (Gotham's Cameron Monaghan) has discovered that he has a dark and ominous gift: he can foresee a person's death. After he predicts the death of his best friend (down to the exact minute), Luke's life spirals into chaos, with everyone in his town pointing fingers at "The Prophet of Death."
Whether this is a curse or a gift, Luke wants nothing to do with it, which ultimately leads to him pushing away those closest to him. Retitled Anthem for the film adaptation, this story ultimately delves into the fragility of life as a teenager and how terrifying growing up tends to be— with or without the ability to predict someone's death.
2 Every Day
Imagine if every day you woke up, you were someone else. That's exactly what happens in David Levithan's Every Day, where the main character, simply called A, lives with this curse. Every day, they're someone else, living some new life, and knowing better than to ever get too attached.
However, when A starts one particular day in the body of a teenage boy named Justin, everything changes. A meets a girl named Rhiannon (Angourie Rice, Spider-Man: Homecoming), and they can't imagine losing her. Now, despite their better judgment, the rules have changed, and A proceeds to do whatever is possible to maintain their relationship with her. It's not exactly going to be easy, but nothing in A's life has ever even come close to easy.
1 Ready Player One
Steven Spielberg may not be the first name that comes to mind when discussing the YA genre, but keep in mind that this the man behind films like E.T., War Horse, and Hook. He's an Academy Award-winning director who has tackled the most treasured movies of our time, but he's also a filmmaker who understands the complicated, but colorful lives of young adults.
In 2018, Spielberg is bringing Ernest Cline's coming-of-age science fiction epic Ready Player One to the big screen. The story showcases a dilapidated and divided future where the only thing that keeps people hopeful is a virtual reality world called the OASIS.
Tye Sheridan plays an OASIS enthusiast named Wade Watts who is thrust into adventure when the OASIS' creator dies, bequeathing ownership to whomever unlocks his near-impossible string of puzzles.
Which YA adaptation are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the comments!
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