Librarians recommend books made into movies

Posted Thursday, May. 29, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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It’s an oft-asked question: Which is better — the book or the movie? Summer is a great time to check out a new adaptation, or to compare old favorites, and decide for yourself.

Several of these new versions will be explored in this summer’s teen program Get Ready for the Movie. (See http:// for more details.)

‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth

Katherine Tegen Books, 2012

For ages: 14 and up

In this dystopian Chicago world, society is split into five factions: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). At 16, all teens go through an initiation where they choose the faction to which they will belong. Tris shocks her family by choosing a different faction and turning her back on all she’s previously known.

As she struggles to discover and define her true self, she also must deal with dangerous initiations, developing feelings for a superior, and a growing conflict between all the factions that could turn into war. Reminiscent of the “Harry Potter” houses and the “Hunger Games” districts, can the different groups learn to work together or will their fighting destroy society completely?

This book is the first in a trilogy and the movie was released in March 2014 starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James.

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by

John Green

Dutton Books, 2012

For ages: 14 and up

Sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster’s thyroid cancer has spread to her lungs and she no longer can breathe without an oxygen tank. To appease her mother, she agrees to attend a local cancer support group’s meetings. There she meets a boy named Augustus Waters who is now cancer-free but has had a leg amputated. Gradually, they become friends and agree to read each other’s favorite novels. The exchange informs a world of adventure and self-discovery between the two teens.

In a heart-wrenching story that explores the meaning of life and death, the truth of love, and the real impacts of illness and depression on families, these compelling characters deal with their lives in sensitive and often humorous ways. Life doesn’t happen the way we want it to, but Hazel Grace and Augustus manage to discover how to live life to the fullest when you only have a short time to make it happen. The book concludes with a letter saying: “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world … but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”

The movie will be released June 6 starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.

‘The Giver’ by

Lois Lowry

Houghton Mifflin, 1993

For ages: 10 and up

In this dystopian world, all pain and sadness has been eliminated via the Sameness, a plan that eradicated all emotion from life. Anything different or out of the ordinary is discarded or released. Every member of the society has a purpose, and 13-year-old Jonas is selected to inherit the position of “Receiver of Memory,” the person who holds all the experiences of emotion from before the Sameness in case they ever are needed for future decision making.

When Jonas receives the memories, he realizes people in their community are happy only because they don’t know any better. The release for different things is actually a lethal injection. He faces an important dilemma: allow the people to stay ignorant, or share the knowledge and create chaos. Is a stable society worth giving up a person’s humanity?

This book is the first in the series, and the movie, filmed on location in and around Cape Town, South Africa, will be released Aug. 15, starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

‘The Maze Runner’ by James Dashner

Delacorte Press, 2009

For ages: 12 and up

Thomas wakes up in a massive maze full of boys, with no memory of the outside world. Occasionally supplies are sent down an elevator shaft. One day they open the shaft to find a girl, and a note: “She is the last one. Ever.”

While attempting to avoid the painful grievers and puzzling over the mysterious “Wicked is Good” signs posted throughout the Glade, the boys struggle to piece together the past and discover what the maze means. Thomas and the Gladers attempt to discover their purpose and a way to escape the maze. The action is pulse-pounding and just enough information is revealed to keep readers hooked. The final epilogue is shocking.

Remember. Survive. Run.

This book is the first in the series, and the movie will be released Sept. 19, starring Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario.

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak

HarperCollins, 1963

For ages: Preschool

An imaginative and slightly mischievous little boy named Max, who likes to dress as a wolf, is sent to his room without supper. While he is alone in his room, he imagines a new world where the wild things are.

The wild things roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth and roll their terrible eyes and even show their terrible claws, but Max is able to tame them! Soon Max is the king of the wild things and they all play and play. Max has fun, but he realizes he is lonely and wants to be where someone loves him “best of all.” Will Max be able to give up being King of all wild things? Will he be able to make it back home in time for supper after all?

Muted drawings of the wild things in their nighttime forest, for which Sendak won a Caldecott Medal, bring each page to life.

There have been several movie adaptations of this book, the most recent being in 2009.

‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar

Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1998

For ages: 10-14

This Newbery Award winner was made into a movie in 2003 and is definitely one of the most beloved children’s books of recent times. Middle-school student Stanley Yelnats is headed to Camp Green Lake. Unfortunately, Camp Green Lake is no summer escape — it is a boys’ detention center. Stanley’s family, thanks to his “no good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great grandfather,” has been under a curse for many generations, which is most definitely why he has been wrongfully convicted as a criminal and sent to Camp Green Lake.

Stanley tries to adjust to his new life, but realizes something is not quite right. Every day the detainees get up before daybreak to dig holes 5 feet wide and 5 feet deep. Even on Saturday and Sunday! Stanley is sure the warden is looking for something, but can he convince his new friends that the warden is looking for the lost treasure of Kissing Kate Barlow? Will he be able to break the curse that has been in place on his family for generations, and, most of all, will he ever get to go home?

This is a funny, quirky book full of adventure and emotion — that readers of all ages will enjoy.

The movie starred Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Shia LaBeouf.

Wendy Dunn is a teen programming librarian and Lisa Smant is a senior librarian for for the Fort Worth Library.

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