5 books you should read before they hit the big screen

An audience watching a movie at the movie theater. Several well known books have been adapted into movies for this coming year. (Kenneth Lu/Creative Commons)

It’s pretty much common knowledge by now that movie adaptations of books are never as powerful as the books themselves. But, that will never stop us from being excited when these adaptations end up in the theater. We can only hope that a film stays true to the heart of a novel, and that goes for these five books that you can’t miss before seeing them in theaters:

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

Auggie Pullman is a 10-year-old who was born with a severe facial deformity, despite numerous surgeries. For years he has been homeschooled, but now he is entering the fifth grade at a public school. Being the new kid is hard, but Auggie struggles with fitting in much more than normal. The book is wonderfully heartwarming and teaches us that beauty isn’t skin deep. The film adaptation is scheduled for April 7 and will feature performances from Academy Award-winning actress Julia Roberts and actor Owen Wilson.

“Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver

Samantha Kingston is the girl in high school who seemingly has everything she could ever want, and nothing ever goes her way. That’s why when she woke up on Feb. 12, she doesn’t expect to die. Then, she woke up again—on Feb. 12. For seven days, Samantha relives the day of her death and starts to see everything from different eyes; she gets to explore how much everything around her she takes for granted. This story is taking it to the big screen—Zoey Deutch is playing Samantha in the adaptation, which is slated for released on March 3.

“All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is suicidal. So is Violet Markey. They meet at the top of the Bartlett High School bell tower, each of them about to jump. When neither of them do, they form an unlikely friendship. Finch is unpredictable and charming, Violet is witty and haunted by the death of her sister, and the two never knew how much they needed each other. This young adult novel is sure to tear your heart out at least once, maybe twice. Then you’ll get to relive all of those emotions again in 2018 with the release of the film. Elle Fanning has been casted as Violet, but no one has been casted for Finch yet.

“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath

Yes, the only novel—and semi-autobiography—written by Sylvia Plath is getting a reboot. Watch as Esther Greenwood, wonderful in every way, slowly sinks into the arms of insanity. Plath takes us deep into the human psyche and explores the haunting grip of insanity. Shortly after its first release in the UK, unfortunately, Plath committed suicide. The 1979 film adaptation received fairly poor reviews; it didn’t seem to capture the story’s essence. Now, in 2018, Dakota Fanning will reprise the role as Esther, hopefully doing “The Bell Jar” some justice.

“Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult

Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because Picoult tackles one of the most sensitive subjects in America to date: racism. Ruth Jefferson, a black nurse, is forbidden to touch the child of a white supremacist family; however, when she is alone with the child, he starts to undergo cardiac arrest. Ruth doesn’t know if she should step in, but when she does, the baby still dies. When Ruth is sued by the parents, all hell breaks loose. Picoult uses three unique narrators to get you thinking about race in ways you never thought before. This book is powerful, and the movie is sure to be just as gripping. Academy Award nominee Violas Davis and Academy Award winner Julia Roberts team up to tell one of the most important stories the world needs to hear.


Ryan Amato is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ryan.amato@uconn.edu.