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Biblio File, Stuff for the Teen Age

Our YA Movie Wishlist

Hollywood has officially gone YA, and blockbusters that started as young-adult fiction abound. So, we asked our team of expert librarians for their wishlists:

What’s a YA book you’d like to see turned into a movie, and whom would you cast in the leading role?

Here’s what they said.

Love Stories

Hazel + Augustus = 4ever. Via Giphy.

I’d love to see We Were Liars by E. Lockhart on the big screen.  I think Shailene Woodley would give a great performance as the emotionally unhinged Cadence, and Tyler Posey would be a dreamy Gat. —Susie Heimbach, Mulberry Street

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I would LOVE to see Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell on the big screen. John Green’s Looking for Alaska would be pretty dope too. Unfortunately there aren’t many Asian teen/young adult actors (a shame) so I’m pretty stumped thinking of who should play Park, but I’d cast Olivia Cooke (of Me, Earl and the Dying Girl fame with a dye job) as Eleanor. Casting for Looking for Alaska would be Katherine C. Hughes (also in Dying Girl) as Alaska and Nolan Gould (Modern Family) as Pudge. —Jhenelle Robinson, Morrisania

A film adaptation of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera would be the coolest thing ever! The leading role would be played by Adam Irigoyen. Elisa Garcia, Bronx Library Center

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall was pretty cute and entertaining. It’s about two shy college students who may have feelings for each other but can’t quite confess their feelings to each other.  The story unfolds from the perspectives of the outside people watching their love blossom (or not blossom). I am not very familiar with young actors and actresses these days, but I imagine the cast would have to include a pretty well-trained squirrel. —Leslie Bernstein, Mott Haven

Suspense, Travel, & Adventure

Running the maze. Via Giphy.

I’d really like to see a film adaptation of the Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. As who the leads should be, honestly, I think some fresh faces who actually fit the diversity they are supposed to represent would be great. —Chantalle Uzan, Francis Martin

I think I’d go with 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson. It’s about a young girl whose favorite aunt has died, but has left her a plane ticket to London. Ginny sets off on a quest to that takes her to Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Greece, and a few other amazing places. Along the way, she discovers a lot about her aunt, and herself as well. I’d go see it as a movie just for a glimpse of so many different locales! Not sure about casting—maybe Felicity Jones if she can still pull off 17. —Ronni Krasnow, Morningside Heights

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan. I would like to see Russell Crowe as Halt. The book is an age-appropriate action adventure with knights, rangers, and mythical creatures. But what makes it stand out—and what could make the movie stand out too, with the right casting—is the relationship between the scruffy, irreverent ranger Halt and the orphan Will who becomes his apprentice, and with time, one of the best rangers in the kingdom. (I also appreciate that in the book it is not the hulk/strongman who wins, but the strategically thinking—and, of course, martially skilled too—rangers). —Kasia Kowalska, Program Management

I would love to see a film adaptation of The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle. It’s a very unusual story about a family that is prone to “accidents” at the same time every year, and it weaves together elements of suspense, romance, and fantasy vs. reality. I could definitely envision the film starring Margaret Qualley (she’s Andie MacDowell’s daughter in real life and she plays Jill on The Leftovers on TV). —Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

Even though The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is on currently on Broadway, I would love to see it as a YA movie! It’s well-known story in which 15-year-old Christopher Boone is superbly gifted logically and also has Asperger’s syndrome. He makes lists, detests the color yellow, and embarks on a mission to find out what happened to his neighbors’ poodle Wellington. As for Christopher, my vote is either Jacob Lofland (Aris from The Scorch Trials) or Robbie Kay (from Once Upon a Time and Pirates of the Caribbean). As for the poodle, possibly Will Ferrell’s dog in Zoolander. —Morgan O’Reilly, Aguilar

Historical Stories

percy jackson
Scaling Mt. Olympus with Percy Jackson. Via Giphy.

Mutiny and murder on the high seas! Avi’s True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is just begging to be made into a movie. I admit to being out of touch with the youngest generation of actresses, but I think Hailee Steinfeld would make an excellent Charlotte, a British girl being sent alone across the Atlantic to her family’s new home in Providence, RI, who transforms from a coddled, naive rich girl to a sailor with guts and grit. —Rebecca Dash Donsky, 67th Street

Number the Stars! It earned a Newbery, and hey, why can’t Hollywood take on two Lowry titles? So what if The Giver is already a movie. I can totally envision JLaw as a great Annemarie.  —Anne Barreca, Battery Park City

I need to see some medieval pagan assassin nuns showing some men who’s boss, which is why I want the His Fair Assassins series by Robin LaFevers adapted. Starting with the first book, Grave Mercy, I see Ismae played by Cara Delevingne or Emilia Clarke and Duval played by Max Irons or Bradley James. —Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street

Otherworldly Stories

Beautiful, otherworldly creatures. Via Giphy.

Cyborg Cinderella. Do I need to say anything more than that? I would love for the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyers to be adapted into a film series of which Cinder would be the first. I would cast Malese Jow or Chloe Bennett as Cinder, and Harry Shum or Ki Hong Lee as Kai. —Susen Shi, Mid-Manhattan

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride! With Will Poulter. From what I have seen him in, The Maze Runner and We’re the Millers, he can do both sweetness and annoyance pretty well! He would be great to play an older teen kid who discovers he is a necromancer when his friends lose their heads, and he brings them back, and has to save the world (of course!). —Courtney Blossom, Huguenot Park

I’m heading back to my publishing roots, but back in the day I worked on a book called Tithe by Holly Black. The descriptions were gorgeous and the book otherwordly. It came out before the explosion that was Twilight, and I think is an excellent foundation for anyone interested in that mystical genre of faerie or vampire or troll, et al. The characters are really nicely developed and the scenes well-written. Definitely lends itself to a screenplay or two! —Amy Geduldig, Communications

I would love to see Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley play the kingdom’s top assassin: Celaena from Throne of Glass! —Lauren Bradley, George Bruce

A film adaptation of M.T. Anderson’s Feed would be pretty amazing if a studio decided to throw around $100 million at it. The futuristic slang and strong anti-consumerist theme of the novel doesn’t exactly scream “summer tentpole,” but iconic scenes like the feed hacking on the moon that opens the novel would be meg brag on the big screen. When it comes to casting, Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Let Me In) as Titus and Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men’s Sally Draper) as Violet would be just about perfect. —Brian Stokes, Jefferson Market

Angels, devils, and blue hair to boot! I’d love to see Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Taylor’s writing is incredibly visual and would lend itself well to film. As for Karou, my vote is for Chloë Grace Moretz, Nina Dobrev, or Phoebe Tonkin. —Genna Sarnak, Jerome Park

Libba Bray wrote one of the funniest books of all time, called Beauty Queens. It’s basically Miss Congeniality meets Lord of the Flies meets feminist power. I’m seeing another cult-classic comedy there with Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. —Anna Taylor, Programming

I would love to see Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett turned into a movie. While I enjoyed the book (touted as a cross of Children of the Corn and Romeo and Juliet), I think it may make an even better movie! I’d cast Emilia Clarke or Elizabeth Olsen as leading lady Ash Larkin. —Alexandria Abenshon, Yorkville

I have to go with Uninvited by Sophie Jordan—I can already see the movie starting a Hunger Games-esque craze and I’m mentally purchasing tickets on Fandango.  Davy should be played by Emma Roberts, and please oh please, let Zac Efron play Sean! —Jessica DiVisconte, Administration

The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff is a watercolor tale of family and tradition that boasts Hollywood potential. It’s the story of a young man who must find a corpse bride to accompany his brother into the afterlife, and the young woman who complicates that quest beyond measure. With the needed sass and spirit, this would be the perfect opportunity for Modern Family’s own Aubrey Anderson-Emmons to make her big screen debut (even if she needs a few years to grow into the part first). —Daniel Norton, Mid-Manhattan

How about Diane Duane’s So You Want to Be a Wizard? Way back when I was a tween, long before Harry Potter was published, I fell in love with this series. Though I am no longer part of the target readership, I’ve ravenously devoured each new Kit and Nita adventure the moment it’s released. I am attracted by the focus on ethics in wizardry and the far-flung locales (under the sea! creepy Other Manhattan! the surface of Mars?!). Strong characters, honest dialogue, and the science-y rules of their wizardry make it feel like maybe, just maybe, this kind of magic could be real. I’m so excited —there’s a new book out February 2! —Leah Labrecque, 58th Street

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!


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