Who couldn’t use a good cry from time to time? The Young Adult (YA) genre has plenty of tear-jerking stories to fuel your catharsis next movie night, it’s just a question of picking which one. Here’s our picks for YA book to movie adaptations guaranteed to make you cry. Ranked from a single-tear-down-the-cheek to on-the-floor-sobbing.
WARNING: The next section contains spoilers
7. Me Before You
Book Release and Author: 2012, Jojo Moyes
Movie Release: May 2016
Box Office: 208.3 million USD
Me Before You was a YA book designed to make you cry.
Outlining the love story of Louisa (Emilia Clarke) and William (Sam Claflin). The story centres on a horrible car accident that paralyzed William from the neck down. As a result, William wishes to euthanize himself. Louisa, his new care-taker, is trying to convince him otherwise.
While trying to convince William to stay, he shows her all the things she’s missing out on in her small British town. They fall in love with one another in both the quietness of day to day life, and in the search for why life should be lived. And in the end… she is unsuccessful. William still dies.
It’s hard to watch Louisa lose the person she has fallen in love with, and watch William make that choice in spite of his love for her. But the sadness of it is overshadowed by the questions it raises about the ethics of assisted suicide and what is means to live a “fulfilled” life. The film has also received backlash for being ableist.
In between the tears, I’m asking myself some pretty large ethical questions, distracting from the emotional punch. So it lands itself farther down on this list than I think the writer and film-makers intended. Even in light of that, it’s a good book to movie adaptation in terms of being true to the source material.
6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Book Release and Author: 2010, Suzanne Collins
Movie Release: November 2015
Box Office: 658.3 million USD
Who could forget the shocking end to the Hunger Games trilogy?
The tragic death of Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) is still reeling in my mind as a great plot-twist.
The reason the Hunger Games arc takes place is because Katniss (Jennifer Laurance) volunteered in Prim’s stead. It’s no less than crushing to see what Katniss started fighting for ripped away from her the moment she thought she had won.
The book does let the reader sit with the loss a little longer than the movie does, with the movie reaching a conclusion quickly after the tragedy. Yet, the shocking and emotional ending is guaranteed to at least make you choke up a little.
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book Release and Author: 2000, J.K. Rowling
Movie Release: November 2005
Box Office: 896.4 million USD
Goblet of Fire is arguably the most important instalment in the series, in spite of it being known as the “sports movie.”
Up until this point Harry Potter has been fairly light with relatively low stakes. No one has truly died, and there is a childlike nostalgic gloss over the first three books and movies. But all that changes in the Goblet of Fire with the sudden and emotional death of Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson).
This is the first real loss in the story, and it has a profound effect on both Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and the tone of the series. From this moment onward, Harry Potter moves from children’s books to YA and there are other moments to make you cry.
One difference between the book and the movie is that the book steadily holds it’s light tone leading up to Cedric’s death. This makes the shock factor of losing him and the dark rise of Voldemort all the more intense. In contrast, the movie immediately begins with an angsty opening title from the get go. It incorporates the darker turn the series is about to make from the first scene onward. The movie also adds a lot of unnecessary fluff to random parts of plot, sacrificing time in the graveyard with Voldemort. This makes his rise and Cedric’s death a little less impactful. That loss is rescued, however, by the brilliant performance of Jeff Rawle as Cedric’s father (Amos Diggory.) His pained cries mixed with the heart wrenching Patrick Doyle score are tear-jerking to say the least.
The death of Cedric is felt throughout the rest of the series.
4. The Book Thief
Book Release and Author: 2005, Mark Zusak
Movie Release: November 2013
Box Office: 76.6 million USD
The Book Thief is famous for making you teary-eyed.
Following Liesel (Sophie Nelisse), a young girl caught in the horrors of World War 2. Set inside Nazi-occupied Germany, The Book Thief deals with the Nazi party and the war through the eyes of a child and narrated by Death. Liesel deals with losing her parents, living with a new family, hiding and befriending a Jew. At the end of the story, Liesel’s home is bombed, and her adopted parents die in the fallout.
It’s incredibly heart-wrenching and hard to watch and will make you cry. My only complaint is that the movie did not hold my attention as well as the book. That’s mostly just because Markus Zusak’s brilliant writing is hard to replicate. It’s a YA book guaranteed to make you cry.
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Book Release and Author: 1999, Stephen Chbosky
Movie Release: September 2012
Box Office: 33.4 million USD
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the more honest depictions of high school out there.
We follow Charlie (Logan Lerman), a young teenager dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the death of his friend. He also deals with the psychological trauma of underlining sexual abuse. Befriending Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), the trio explores complex relationships and story arcs.
This adaptation is also extremely true to the book, as Chbosky worked as a writer and director of the film. He did take steps to make Charlie more active as a character to better suit a film adaptation, but that doesn’t make the emotional weight of the story less potent.
There are several moments in this film to make you cry, but none so bittersweet as the lost shot. Charlie stands on the back of the truck as they zoom through a tunnel, something he was afraid to do at the beginning of the film. It’s a release that shows that while Charlie has gone through some truly terrible things, there is still beauty in life to be found and progress to be made.
2. The Fault in Our Stars
Book Release and Author: 2012, John Green
Movie Release: June 2014
Box Office: 307.2 million USD
An obvious one, right? While the Fault in our Stars is probably one of the most mocked YA sad stories; it holds that reputation for a reason.
Another story about lovers who found each other at the wrong time, The Fault in our Stars follows Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort) as they build a relationship while battling cancer.
Hazel Grace is actively fighting lung cancer for the duration of the story, and so the audience may assume that it’s her who we’ll lose in the end. But the sudden relapse of Augustus’ cancer and his quick death make the somewhat obvious ending shocking and heartbreaking.
The performances of Woodley and Elgort are fantastic. Elgort’s charming and fun portrayal of Augustus makes his death all the more hurtful. While Woodley’s portrayal of Hazel Grace’s grief is down-right take-my-heart-and-throw-it-in-a-blender. Sure, it’s your typical teenage YA story, but if you’re looking to cry, this is a safe bet. It also does a pretty good job of staying true to the popular John Green novel.
1. If I Stay
Book Release and Author: 2009, Gayle Forman
Movie Release: August 2014
Box Office: 78.9 million USD
And finally, If I Stay, This movie is definitely a little underrated.
After a tragic car accident, Mia (Chloe-Grace Moretz) has to decide whether to die. The catch is that she was the only survivor of the car crash, and her younger brother and parents have all passed on. Faced with a choice, she reminisces on the past few years with her family. Looking back on her relationship with her parents, and the new love she has found with her boyfriend, Adam (Jamie Blackley).
Told in a non-linear format like it’s source material, knowing what happens to Mia’s family makes the moments with them all the more heart-wrenching.
Watching Mia wrestle with the reality of waking up an orphan from her coma, or dying and following her family, is compelling and painful. We watch her observe her friends and grand-parents stand vigil over her and her high-school years unfold in a bittersweet way. We mourn with her as she learns the loss of her family. Its unique plot is constructed well, and I promise that both the book and the movie will leave you sobbing.
So break out that popcorn and snuggle up on your couch for these tearjerkers. Whatever movie you pick from this list… Well, just be sure you’ve got your tissues handy.
That’s our list of YA books that became movies that’ll make you cry. Did we miss any? Which was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out more of our literature articles HERE.
Read about IMDB information on Me Before You HERE.
Check out IMDB information on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 HERE.
Read IMDB information on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire HERE..
Check out IMDB information on The Book Thief HERE.
Read IMDB information on The Perks of Being a Wallflower HERE.
Check out IMDB information on The Fault in our Stars HERE.
Read IMDB information on If I Stay HERE.
Book To Movie Adaptations Coming Soon
It seems that Hollywood is on an adaptation bender these days. With the upcoming Dune film to the To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix franchise, there is a lot of money to be made in book to screen adaptations. And there are a ton of them in the works. Here’s 15 book to movie adaptations that will soon be coming to a screen near you.
1. The House of Gucci – November 24th, 2021
You don’t have to wait long to watch this true story unfold. Written by Sara Gay Forden, the book goes into the real-life whodunnit of the murder of Maurizio Gucci. Starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, this film is coming out this November.
2. Where the Crawdads Sing – June 24, 2022
This bestseller is going to premiere next summer on Netflix. The book, written by Delia Owens follows Kya; a young woman with a turbulent life, who becomes the prime suspect in a mysterious murder. Daisy Edgar-Jones is set to play Kya.
3. The Nightingale – December 23, 2022
The Nightingale, written by Kristin Hannah, follows the lives of two French sisters after their lives are torn apart by World War Two. The film stars sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning and is set to be released on 23 December 2022.
4. The School for Good and Evil – 2022
Written by Soman Chianani, The School for Good and Evil is a middle-grade standout. It takes place at twin schools that kidnap two children every year. Alongside the children of famous fairy-tale heroes and villains, these children are then trained at either the School for Good or the School for Evil. Eventually becoming the next generation of fairy tales. This film has big names in the cast, such as Charlize Theron, Laurence Fishburne, and Kerry Washington. The main characters Sophie and Agatha will be played by Sophia Ann Caruso and Holly Sturton. Shadow and Bone mainstay Kit Young will also be in this adaptation. It has wrapped filming and will come out sometime in 2022.
5. All Quiet on the Western Front – 2022
Who else remembers reading this in school? The classic was written by Erich Maria Remarque and chronicles the horrors of World War One. The book is being adapted as a film by Netflix. It’s going to be directed by Edward Berger and will star Daniel Bruhl. This is actually the third time the book has been adapted for the screen and will premier in 2022.
6. House of the Dragon/ Fire and Blood – 2022
Rejoice Game of Thrones fans, there’s more coming your way. Based on the book Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin, this Game of Thrones spin-off follows the Targaryens 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. It’s being produced by HBO and will be a ten-part limited series. It’s set to premiere in 2022.
7. Bridgerton (Season 2) – 2022
The pandemic hit Bridgerton has also been renewed for season two. The second season will cover The Viscount Who Loved Me, by Julia Quinn. This love story will centre around Anthony Bridgerton. There’s no official release date, but speculation puts it at 2022.
8. A Discovery of Witches (Season 3) – 2022
AMC +’s Discovery of Witches has been renewed for season three. The show is based on Deborah Harkness’All Souls Trilogy. It centres around actors Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer as a vampire and witch who fall in love. It’s set to premiere sometime in 2022.
9. Shadow and Bone (Season 2) – 2022/2023
Netflix’s Shadow and Bone has been confirmed for a second season. It will cover the events of the second book, Siege and Storm. It’s also unclear if it will dip into the Six of Crows duology. You can read more of our coverage of season two of Shadow and Bone here.
10. Ninth House – TBD
Written by the same author of Shadow and Bone, Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s adult fiction series. It follows Yale freshman Alex Stern, who has the ability to see ghosts. She is hired to oversee the dark magical dealings of Yale’s secret societies and gets caught up in forces beyond her imagination. Picked up less than two days after its release in 2019, Ninth House is in the works for an Amazon series adaptation. The show does not have a release date yet and is still in pre-production. Leigh Bardugo is currently writing both the sequel and the show, according to her Instagram.
11. They Both Die at the End – TBD
When Mateo and Rufus are told that they will die, they befriend each other to enjoy their last day. After the project fizzled out at HBO, They Both Die at the End has now been picked up for a tv show by Entertainment One. The show will also be written by the author of the book, Adam Silvera. There is no release date yet.
12. The Selection – TBD
A staple of 2010s dystopian fiction, The Selection by Kiera Kass is right up there with Divergent and the Maze Runner. The Selection follows America Singer, who is selected to compete in a Bachelor-like competition to select the next Queen. What feels frivolous quickly becomes a high-stakes competition for the fate of the country. The Selection is set to premiere on Netflix as a movie. Haifaa Al-Mansour is attached to direct. You can expect to be able to watch The Selection in mid-2021.
13. The Red Queen – TBD
Another mainstay of mid-2010’s dystopia is the Red Queen series, by Victoria Aveyard. The Red Queen is set in a world divided by blood colour. The silver-blooded have superpowers and rule over the kingdom. The red-blooded are powerless; living in poverty and serving as cannon fodder to the war. But when red-blooded Mare Barrow reveals the power to manipulate lightning, everything changes. Elizabeth Banks is executive producing and directing The Red Queen for a TV series at Peacock. She will also play a key role. We’re still waiting on a release date, but Aveyard has co-written the pilot.
14. Blackout – TBD
Blackout is a collection of short stories following black teenagers who stumble upon love in the middle of a blackout in New York City. Authors include Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, and Ashley Woodfolk. The collection is going to be adapted into a six-part anthology on Netflix. The Obamas are actually producing Blackout under their flagship Higher Ground banner and Temple Hill. There is no release date yet.
15. Long Way Down – TBD
Written by Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down takes place in the sixty seconds the main character decides whether or not to murder the man who killed his brother. It’s being adapted into a feature film by Universal and is produced by John Legend and Michael De Luca. There is no release date yet.
That’s our list of 15 book to movie adaptations coming out soon. Which one are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out the five things you missed in Bridgeton Season One HERE.
Read iMDB information on The House of Gucci HERE.
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