We all have our favorite movies and TV shows. However, these five movies will make you want to add something new in your Amazon cart or Netflix Que.
I have listed five Diverse Young Adult Novels and their Film Adaptations. These would be perfect for a unit comparing literature and film or a good way to get your scholars more excited about classroom reading list! Let’s get started:
Everything, Everything is the 2015 young adult novel written by Nicola Yoon following a young biracial woman who is living with an immune disorder that was taken to the big screen in 2017. This story is a triple threat of representation. The novel was written by the Jamaican-American author, Nicola Yoon, and the film was directed by Stella Meghie, a black Canadian director, and the film starred Amandla Stenberg, a young African-American actress. While the protagonist in the novel is half Japanese and half African-American, the film adaptation features the same character as half Caucasian and half African-American. While problematic, the film made this choice to reflect the lead actress, who concedes in an interview that while it was a hard decision to make, she says “but for me it was so important to create biracial representation onscreen that I couldn’t necessarily turn it down.”
Written by the same author, Nicola Yoon, this novel, and its’ film adaptation, feature a young Jamaican-American girl and a Korean-American boy who fall in love in the span of a single day in New York City. This film adaptation succeeds in where Everything, Everything fell short: Asian representation. The novel features an interracial couple, one of whom is facing the deportation of her family the following day. Published in 2016 and earning 4 stars, the film is our most recent on the list having come out in May of this year.
Published in 1997, Push is the oldest novel featured on this list. Written by the author Sapphire, this story follows 16-year-old Precious, an African-American girl who is pregnant and has been severely abused by her parents and forgotten by the school system. She is offered a place in an alternative school and takes it, ready to change her life. She takes hold of her education and future before dying of HIV. Although the film adaptation (Precious) is rated R due to language and child abuse, this story is important for featuring a young African-American woman who takes her life into her own hands and tries to build something better than the life she’d been born into.
If you have not heard this title… welcome back to the internet; you sure as heck have not been here since the release of the film adaptation in August 2018. Based on the 2014 novel by Jenny Han, this Netflix original was an instant hit. A story following a 16-year-old girl named Lara as she struggles in the aftermath of a stash of secret love letters she’s written since she was a kid all get sent out accidentally to a number of different boys. This story is the second on our list that features a biracial lead as Lara (and her siblings) are half Korean and half Caucasian. A truly touching and relatable teen romance, this title is my personal favorite on this list.
This 2017 title was quickly pushed into production with its film adaptation being released just a year later; it’s no wonder when its’ relevancy to our current issues facing society ring so true. Written by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give follows 16-year-old Starr Carter as she navigates her life following the murder of her close friend when they were pulled over by white police officers. Living in two separate worlds, the predominately black and lower-class neighborhood her family lives in and the predominately white private school she attends, she must navigate not only the personal trauma she endured, but also the political fallout that seems to be there wherever she goes. Both the novel and the film are not only heart wrenching but also hit so close to home as this is just a different telling of the story of so many innocent Black teenagers who have lost their lives due to a police shooting.