This post was originally published in September 2021. It has been updated with more current information about book-to-screen adaptations.
Book-to-screen adaptations can elicit one of two emotions. Either that was excellently adapted and I loved it OR the book was better so don’t waste your time.
It can be simultaneously thrilling and terrifying to find out that your favorite books are getting a movie or tv show adaptation. A large range of emotions come with seeing a story you’ve visualized a certain way in your head portrayed very differently on a screen. However, when it’s done well, it’s insanely satisfying!
Over the years, I’ve watched my fair share of book-to-screen adaptations and I’ve seen some truly terrible ones along with some excellent ones! In this post, I’m listing my very favorites along with some adaptations I’d be thrilled to see in the future.
12 of the Best Book-to-Screen Adaptations
I feel like I need to preface this by saying that I don’t find every single one of these movies to be cinematic masterpieces or anything (looking at you, Twilight) but I do find them to be accurate representations of the books! Tap on their titles below to read why I love the adaptation!
The Fault in Our Stars
This has been my favorite book-to-movie adaptation for years! I just think it was so phenomenally done. It’s so exactly like the book, even down to word-for-word lines. I just love everything about it!
Where to watch it: HBO Max
Shadow and Bone (show)
It’s no secret that I’m 100% obsessed with Shadow and Bone. When it came out, I watched all eight episodes twice daily until the season two announcement. Yep, I love it that much. There are a few things that strayed from the books, and the Crows’ entire storyline is original, but the cast was precisely how I imagined them and so much of it was done exactly the way I hoped it would be!
Where to watch it: Netflix
Little Women (1994)
I don’t care one bit that it might be an unpopular opinion, but to me, this is the superior Little Women. It’s better than the new one and it’s better than the black and white version. The cast is perfect, the story matches the book, and don’t even get me started on the soundtrack. It’s not only one of my favorite adaptations – it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.
Where to rent it: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube
The Lord of the Rings (movie series)
This really might be one of the most accurate book-to-film adaptations of all time. The fact that they’re trying to make a tv series actually bums me out because nothing will ever pass these movies. They truly are cinematic masterpieces. There’s nothing quite like them. Director’s cut only, please and thanks!
Where to watch it: HBO Max, Netflix
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (movie series)
When I watched the first movie, I had no clue it was based on a book series! I thought it was adorable, so when I found it it was a trilogy, I immediately read them all right away. In some ways, I enjoyed the first movie better than the book (mainly the fact that I like movie Peter better than book Peter). The second and third movies aren’t as true to their books, but overall the movie series is precious!
Where to watch it: Netflix
Twilight (movie series)
If I felt remotely guilty about anything I watched, I would say that this saga is my guilty pleasure. But I don’t feel guilty in the slightest. I loved the books and I love the movies. I watch all five of them almost every year – sometimes more than once. They’re definitely my comfort films and while I certainly do my fair share of roasting them, I’ll never stop loving them!
Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube (Netflix 7/16/21)
The Chronicles of Narnia (movie series)
In my opinion, primarily The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe! Prince Caspian was cute (and had Ben Barnes – so obviously I liked that) but it wasn’t true to the book. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was cinematically breathtaking but just didn’t hold quite the same power as the first film! However, overall, they’re just great adaptations.
Where to watch it: Disney+
The Hunger Games (movie series)
Honestly? These movies were spectacular in every way. The first one makes me a little nauseous when I watch it because of the shaky camera, but as far as staying true to the books – these nailed it! Also, the cast was excellent!
Where to watch it: Netflix
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I watched this movie. The book utilizes so many different formats of telling the story that I didn’t know how it would translate to film, but it was really well done! I enjoyed it so much and found it very true to the book.
Where to watch it: Tubi
After binging the entire graphic novel series (and anything additional Alice Oseman had on Webtoon), I was thrilled to watch the show – and then watch it again and again because it was so comforting and sweet. The cast is so perfect it’s like they pulled them directly off the pages. The little leaf animation throughout is so reminiscent of the books. Everything about it is exactly how I imagined, down to precise quotes and outfits. It brought me so much joy to watch!
Where to watch it: Netflix
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Any time I really want to get in my feels, I watch this movie. So, I’ve only watched it a couple of times because oof, it makes me emotional. It was incredibly well done and stayed very true to the book. I think it’s one of the best of the best as far as adaptations are concerned.
Where to watch it: Hulu, YouTube, Roku
Daisy Jones & The Six (show)
When I found out that this was being adapted, I was delighted and also incredibly nervous. It was the first book I read by Taylor Jenkins Reid and to this day it’s still my favorite. I re-listened to the audiobook before the premiere (and even got my husband into it as well)! We were both happy with the direction the showrunners went with the story. While not everything was precisely like the book, it was still excellently done and I really enjoyed the casting!
Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video
12 Books I’d Love to See Adapted in the Future
It would be incredible to see some of these turned into movies or tv shows. I’m picky with the books I’d like to see adapted because I want them to be done well. I didn’t just list all of my favorite books because some of them would be really challenging to watch versus read due to the content. You can tap on the titles below to see why I’d like to watch an adaptation!
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
This book has already been optioned for a movie adaptation. It hasn’t been cast or begun filming yet, but it would be incredible to see a meaningful story such as this one on the big screen. I think it would change a lot of lives!
Renegades (trilogy) by Marissa Meyer
Apparently, one of Meyer’s other books has been optioned for a film by HBO, which is incredible for her! Unfortunately, it’s my least favorite of all of her books (shoot) and I think that even The Lunar Chronicles would be an amazing choice for a tv series. But if I could pick any of her books to be adapted, it would have to be Renegades. It would be perfect for fans of Marvel films!
Begin Again by Emma Lord
It’s been a hot second since I’ve watched a YA romcom that I enjoyed (nothing has wowed me since To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), but I think this would make an excellent movie! It’s cute, creative, flirty, and sweet! It has the college campus element, which makes it feel easy to watch for both teens and adults. Honestly, I think any of Emma’s books would make awesome movies, but this one especially would be such fun to watch.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
If you’ve read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, you’ll know why I want it to be turned into a movie. It’s incredibly beautiful and unique. While it’s a slower pace for a book, it would be an excellent film! And, from what I’ve heard, this is something that will be happening in the near future. It’s already been optioned!
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Another of my favorite books that’s been optioned for a movie! I was so thrilled for Justin when I heard this news and I think the YA “Groundhog Day” kind of flick would be so much fun to watch! Hopefully, it happens soon because I need to see these amazing characters and this creative story on-screen!
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that this is my go-to reread every holiday season. It’s a fun twist on A Christmas Carol and after watching Spirited on Apple TV in 2022, I realized that something like this would make for excellent tv. Give me ghosts and romance all at once, please!
Caraval (trilogy) by Stephanie Garber
I’m sure you’re noticing a trend here with the fact that I’d mostly like to see fantasy novels adapted into movies. I think that they’re the most fun to see come to life! This is another one that’s just utterly beautiful and it would make such a fascinating tv show or movie series!
XOXO by Axie Oh
Okay, but this would make one of the cutest K-dramas ever! It follows a girl whose goal is to be a professional cellist but ends up falling for a K-pop idol. It’s got forbidden love, a great look at the idol industry, and fantastic secondary characters. It’s seriously got “tv show in the making” written all over it!
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
I absolutely fell in love with this book when I listened to it in 2020 and I think it would make an adorably wonderful queer YA movie. I love a good teen prom film, but this one would bring all the diversity that’s sorely missing in so many other movies!
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Hear me out: this would make a fantastic anime or live action, which is a rarity! I typically don’t enjoy when anime becomes live action, but I think this book could go either way. It’s such a fascinating story and it would be so cool to watch!
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
I think I would cry with joy, seeing my book doppelgänger on screen. Nina Hill is just such a comfort book and I think the movie would wind up having the same effect. Plus, I need more You’ve Got Mail vibes, which I feel Nina Hill has in spades. It would be the perfect autumn comfort film.
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
The first time I even heard about the plot for this book, I thought it would make a great movie. It’s hilarious, cute, and inspiring! My hope would be that it would encourage other men to read and learn from romance novels too!
I would love The Flatshare to be adapted to a film, I would definitely go to watch that! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
Jodie | That Happy Reader says
What a fun post! I think The Help and Memoirs of a Geisha were two of my favourite book to movie adaptations! Thanks for sharing!
Great post! I have to admit I love The Hunger Games adaption and I’ve been wanting to see TATBILB for a while now. I think a movie adaption of Opposite Of Always would be awesome too, it’s one of my favourite books! Thanks for sharing.
Perks of being a wallflower was a great movie! I read the book YEARS before and it’s one of my favourite books!
Jo Linsdell says
Great post. You selected some awesome adaptions for this list. Narnia and Lord if the Rings would definitely both be on my list too.
I’m super excited to see what the new Percy Jackson TV series will be like. I’m a huge fan of the books and whilst the films were ok they weren’t even close to the books. I’m hoping the TV series will do better.
I practically read or watch most of these books on this list. I can definitely see why you added them. They were so good and entertaining.
Great post! I adore the Lord of the Rings movies, so I wasn’t too happy to hear that there’s a TV show being planned either.
Kelly Diane says
These sound like great adaptations. I loved watching Narnia and found that it really brought what I’d already read in the books to life.
Kal @ Reader Voracious says
A Caraval adaptation would make my LIFE! I know Fox optioned it but as far as I know there’s been no work or development on it so far. Hopefully when things pivot back to fantasy from superhero films we’ll get the tv seies or movie we deserve
I love The Lord of the Rings! I felt that the movies faithfully captured the story and characters of the novels.
Yes, I so agree with a lot of these! I think Crazy Rich Asians was done well as a movie. Thanks for sharing these!
These are great reviews! I didn’t read a lot of these books but I did LOVE the movie “The Fault in Our Stars” and I also didn’t read ‘The Notebook’ and I liked the movie but didn’t love it – I think I’m the only girl who isn’t obsessed with this movie haha! And I read all the Twilight books years ago – MOVIES ARE TERRIBLE! Lol I think I only like the first movie then I had to stop watching! Haha
Thanks for this!
I read It’s Kind of a Funny Story nearly 10 years ago and it left such a HUGE impact on me, but I’ve been scared to watch the movie. Now that I know it’s very true to the book, I’ll definitely give it a chance!
I'm All Booked Up says
The Perks of Being A Wallflower is our favorite adaption!
Oh my gosh, I’ve been waiting for this post! There’s so many books that I love as movie adaptions (and many that have disappointed me haha). SO many of the ones you chose are also my favorites!! Absolutely adore The Notebook, The Fault in Our Stars, Narnia, LOTR, The Hunger Games and Perks of Being a Wallflower (that’s one of my husband’s faves)
or my list, I’d also add Crazy Rich Asians, The Great Gatsby (my favorite book of all-time) and The Help. I think the movies did the books justice for the most part!
I love how fun this post is. My favourite all time book to movie adaptation is the lord of the rings. I also liked Narnia but not as much as I liked the lord of the rings.
Stuart Danker says
Oh yes! The Midnight Library would make for a good screen adaptation. While it’s only fiction, that book changed the way I view life, in that perhaps the thing I wish for isn’t really what I want anyway. Anyway, thanks for this post!
I loved Perks of Being a Wallflower and Where’d You Go Bernadette – in fact, I think Bernadette was underrated!
Celeste | A Literary Escape says
Completely agree about LOTR. I haven’t actually read the books, but my husband has and he says they’re great, all things considered. I actually wasn’t as huge of a fan of the Shadow & Bone adaptation as I wanted to be. The chemistry between The Darkling and Alina was ok and I felt like the whole antagonistic relationship between Zoya and Alina was subdued in the show because of the quick plot development they had to do in order to fit in all of the Crows stuff. Conversely, I liked the Crows storyline a lot more, probably because I haven’t read those books yet, haha. All that said, I am looking forward to season 2 since I enjoyed the books. I started a rewatch earlier this week, but no way will I be able to finish beforehand.