In just the past couple years alone no doubt you’ve probably read about Young Adult novels being optioned for a book-to-screen adaptation. With the success of adaptations such as ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,’ ‘Moxie,’ including the recent ‘Shadow And Bone’ which reached 55 million views in its first month (according to Deadline), it wouldn’t be surprising to see even more YA novels headed to our screens in the coming years. That’s why today I’ll be highlighting some of the many books currently under option to get the tv or film treatment, that you may or may not know about!
For clarification, an option basically means that the studio (or whoever acquires the novel) is given exclusive rights to purchase the material to then adapt or start the process of adaptation with an author’s work for a set period of time. There’s also lots of other factors involved that influence the process of getting the book to screen (credit: Optioning Literary Material by Mark Litwak [Entertainment Law Resources]).
With that out of the way, here’s a list of 10 books that are are optioned for an adaptation:
They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
Publisher: Harper Teen (Quill Tree Books)
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Summary: On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
Originally to be developed as a half-hour series through HBO with J.J. Abrams and Chris Kelly attached, a recent update was revealed on May 6 through Deadline that Entertainment One (EOne) has now acquired the rights to adapt Silvera’s novel for television. Drew Comins is attached as a producer through EOne alongside Executive Vice President of scripted TV, Jacqueline Sacerio.
The Wrath And The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Summary: In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all. Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
On November 20, 2020 it was revealed through a Deadline exclusive that Ahdieh’s novel is set to be adapted into a television series with 1212 Entertainment, which optioned the rights. 1212’s Roberto Grande and Joshua Long are also attached. According to the article, “former Bron Studios EVP of Domestic Television and ex-WME agent” Pippa Lambert will also develop alongside Grande and Long through her production company Hellcat.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Summary: Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Bruna Papandrea through her production company Made Up Stories, acquired the rights to Acevedeo’s novel to be developed for television, revealed exclusively through Deadline on December 15, 2020. Alongside a partnership through Endeavor Content, Papandrea is set to be an executive producer alongside Steve Hutensky, Casey Haver and Janice Park, who are part of the Made Up Stories team. Acevedo is also set to executively produce and write the pilot.
Anna K by Jenny Lee
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Summary: Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie. As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
During August of 2019, it was announced through Deadline that HBO Max won the rights to Anna K. with a “pilot commitment.” Set to be developed as a television series, not many updates have been given as of yet however Lee mentioned in a 2021 author tour/discussion to celebrate the sequel Anna K Away that although there’s not much to share, it’s “still in development…I can’t talk about it because there’s some movement…we don’t have anything big to announce yet but I’m hopeful that sometime soon we will…”
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Summary: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding. But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all. In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.
During October of 2020, it was announced through Deadline that writers Aziza Barnes and Natasha Rothwell are developing Zoboi’s Pride for HBO as a series. Barnes will be the screenwriter and Rothwell will work alongside as executive producer. The company Alloy Entertainment is producing in collaboration with Warner Bros. Television.
The Witchland Series by Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Summary: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands. Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
During September of 2018 it was originally announced through Deadline that Dennard’s Witchland novels would be developed as a live-action television series, which was picked up by the Jim Henson Company. However an update was shared through Dennard’s social medias in October of 2020 stating that the production had new additions to the team: two showrunners and a director. Julie and Shawna Benson are not only showrunners but also writers alongside Alice Waddington whose directing.
Warcross by Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
During September of 2020, sites such as Variety announced that Warcross would be adapted as a television series where Made Up Stories and producer John Cameron picked up the rights. Executive producers include Adam Lash, Cori Uchida, alongside Papandrea, producer Janice Park and Cameron (who will direct the pilot). Alongside them, Steve Hutensky, Casey Haver and Lu herself will also serve as executive producer.
We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Summary: People lived because she killed. People died because he lived. Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be. War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
As of February 2021, it was announced that STXtv would be developing We Hunt The Flame as a one-hour television series, according to Deadline. The entertainment company is currently in the process of finding screenwriters for the project and Faizal will serve as an executive producer.
A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Summary: For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom. But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition. When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
While not many details are known as of yet, it was revealed through Brown’s Twitter during September 2020 that A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin had television rights acquired by ABC Studios.
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Release Date: September 20, 2020
Summary: Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
Before the novel was published Deadline reported during March of 2020 that Amazon, Sony Pictures TV, and John Berman’s studio-based Osprey Productions landed the rights to develop Inheritance Games for television. During September 2020, it was announced that Grainne Godfree (Legends Of Tomorrow) will be writer and executive producer on the project. Barnes is also attached as co-producer.
✨Did you know about any of these upcoming book-to-screen adaptations? Which of these books are you looking forward to seeing on the TV screen? ✨