Many young people opened Lois Lowry's 1993 classic at the suggestion of knowing teachers, book-savvy classmates or those book-order forms that showed up every month, and they consequently found a story unlike any they'd read before. It's dystopic science-fiction written back when Panem was just a twinkle in Suzanne Collins' eye, and it builds this rich world that, if Hollywood played its cards right, will translate beautifully on the silver screen.
Given the recent popularity of such adaptations at the box office, it's a wonder it took Hollywood this long to realize what a great movie The Giver would make. Still, it isn't the only young adult classic whose movie adaptation is long overdue. Here are eight more.
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., by Judy Blume
Great, meaningful films could be adapted from just about any of Blume's books, but why not start with this classic about the path to womanhood? That or a feature-length Superfudge movie. Either would be acceptable, but we'll take any Blume we can get.
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Little, Brown and Company
Holden Caulfield and his crusade against phonies have helped countless teens feel slightly less odd for their alienation from from the world around them. And while reading Catcher in the Rye has become a rite of passage, there's a certain appeal to realizing onscreen Holden's world – '50s-era New York City – as well as his rich interior life.
Salinger mostly resisted cinematic adaptations of his most famous novel, in part after getting burned on the one major studio adaptation of his work, but a big-screen version of Catcher seems inevitable. Let's hope that if it happens – when it happens – Hollywood can capture as much as possible of what made the novel so important.
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
For generations, it has offered an adventure through time and space that notably doesn't talk down to anyone – to the young protagonists or the young people who might be reading. Even when L'Engle is introducing some heady concepts, the book is still a fun read. And just think how awesome the story's foreign planets and interdimensional beings could look with a summer blockbuster budget.
Should a cinematic version of A Wrinkle in Time do L'Engle justice, there are eight more books detailing further adventures.
Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Lowry creates a strong heroine in the book's protagonist, Annemarie, who must act bravely during dangerous times which is far more real than your typical sci-fi or fantasy caper. Were the right actor cast as Annemarie, it could mean the role of a lifetime – and another great female role model for young people to look up to.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is narrated by Christopher, a 15-year-old who sees the world differently than everyone around him. He could be autistic. He could have Asperger's. The book never explicitly states. However, as you follow Christopher's quest to find out who offed his neighbor's dog, you begin to understand his unique perspective. It's a remarkable feat, and it could be quite progressive to make a movie that similarly helps people identify with someone who departs from the norm. Whodunit aside, that's perhaps Curious Incident's greatest virtue.
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
The book centers around some cryptic clues that could lead to a fortune. It reads like a movie, and that's perhaps why it was adapted at a 1997 TV movie starring Ray Walston and Diane Ladd. That's just fine, but true fans of The Westing Game know that this one deserves the full treatment – theatrical release and all.
My Teacher Is an Alien, by Bruce Coville
Popular in the '90s, the My Teacher Is an Alien series pits three teens against a tough, new teacher who truly is from another planet. The first book has all the fun of teen sleuthing, with an ending that sends one of the kids into space with the green-skinned teacher. As the series progresses, the teens end up struggling to prove to the rest of the galaxy that Earth and its inhabitants don't deserve to be annihilated.
Did someone say franchise?
The Last Vampire, by Christopher Pike
Not long after the original Buffy hit theaters, The Last Vampire hit bookshelves and reimagined the bloodsucker as a smart, sexy, superhumanly strong high school student named Alisa Perne. She's a standout even among the multitude of tough female characters you find in the "embossed cover" genre of Young Adult books, and she'd be awesome onscreen.
In fact, it's odd that The Last Vampire got skipped over during pop culture's most recent vampire craze. The book has everything Twilight has – adolescent longing, human-vamp romance, supernatural danger – just with a heroine who can take care of herself from the get-go.
So how about it, Hollywood? The Last Vampire: The Movie? That or Bunnicula: The Movie, actually.
The Weinstein Company