Best sellers to blockbusters

Best sellers to blockbusters

By Madelyn Olsen


“The Hunger Games’” second installment “Catching Fire” broke records at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Thanksgiving title of all time, earning $110.2 million.

This incredible success brings to mind the book-to-movie idea. Granted, filmmakers have been borrowing and recycling stories for as long as anyone can remember, but recently, books have taken a lead in film production.

Last fall alone, there were seven big-screen movies based on books. However, there are still several other best sellers that ought to be transferred from words on pages to words from faces. The following are the top 10:


  1. “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld: Published in 2005, this series was the first of the ever-popular young adult dystopian novels. The story follows the life of Tally Youngblood, a young girl in a futuristic world where beauty is given to all at the age of 16, but this beauty comes at a cost. Hijinx ensue, and she gets caught up in a rebellion against a pretty society.

  2. “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger: Though J.D. Salinger allegedly refused to ever sell film rights for this novel, its best-seller success is the reason it still makes the list. It is set around the 1950s and narrated by a young man named Holden Caulfield who tells his story while undergoing treatment in a mental hospital. The novel became popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.

  3. “Gemma Doyle” trilogy by Libba Bray: This fantasy trilogy comprised of the books “A Great and Terrible Beauty,” “Rebel Angels,” and “The Sweet Far Thing,” is set in the 18th century and tells the story of a girl, Gemma Doyle. It is the perfect cross between period fiction and fantasy, as Doyle uncovers mysteries of her mother’s death, the dark history surrounding her boarding school, Spence Academy and herself.

  4. “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman: This science fiction novel is rumored to be in the works for being translated to the big screen. It takes place in the United States, somewhere in the near future. After a civil war is fought over abortion, a compromise was reached, allowing parents to sign an order for their children between the ages of 13 and 18 years old to be unwound — taken to “harvest camps” and having their body parts harvested for later use.

  5. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry: This children’s novel, published in 1993, takes a different twist on a dystopian society, because this society views itself as utopian — it cannot see the flaws in its system, but one man does, “the Giver.” He is the man who holds all the horrible secrets and memories of the entire population. The book follows his successor, Jonas, a young boy who has to learn to deal with pain, an emotion previously unknown to him and everyone else in his society.

  6. “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeliene L’Engele: Though this science fiction fantasy novel was produced as a film in 2003, its lack of success is the reason it still makes the list. The book has been around since 1962, and the story revolves around a young girl, Meg, whose father, a government scientist, has gone missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract. The character of Meg has inspired many others throughout the years, some of which are on this list, such as Tally Youngblood of “Uglies,” and even Katniss Everdeen of “The Hunger Games.” The book is no stranger to success, winning a Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.

  7. “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman: For a while, it was thought that this award winning novel would be translated into an HBO series, but that has yet to come to fruition. The story follows Shadow, a man who has spent three years in prison. Once released, he encounters the bizarre Mr. Wednesday, claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. They embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town.

  8. “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver: This dystopian novel is from the perspective of Lena Haloway, a girl who falls in love. “They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.” This trilogy follows the dystopian trend that young people seem to adore as of late.

  9. “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath: Though adapted in 1979, the story, which chronicles a woman’s descent from functioning as a highly educated, motivated, capable young woman to being completely incapacitated at the hands of mental illness, is long over-due for a remake. Rumors floated around last year that Julia Stiles would get the lead role, but nothing ever came of it.

  10. “Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warner: This is a children’s literary franchise aimed at elementary school children with more than 100 titles. In the subsequent books, the children encounter many adventures and mysteries in their neighborhood or at the locations they visit with their grandfather. The majority of the books are set in locations the children are visiting over school holidays such as summer vacation or Christmas break. Any one of these stories could easily be adapted into an enjoyable and interesting film.


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