Films based on adolescent novels among the year’s biggest releases

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

By Callie Sutton

Special to theadvocate.com

Books have been the basis for movies since the inception of the film industry. It seems logical to take a good story that is already established and has an audience and turn it into a screenplay. This has been true for hundreds of comic books, graphic novels, short stories, fairy tales and novels.

Recently, adolescent literature has taken a giant leap to the front of the movie scene. With wildly successful series’ such as Harry Potter and “The Twilight Saga”,” more and more popular adolescent novels are taking their readers with them to the big screen.

The following are some of the most popular adolescent novels that will be released in the theater this year.

“The Host”

Stephenie Meyer is at it again with another strange and twisted love story. Right on the tail of her overwhelmingly successful “Twilight” films, Meyer’s sci-fi novel “The Host” is also being made into a movie, which is set to be released March 29.

In the future, Earth is invaded by an alien species that travels the universe looking for worlds in turmoil. This species, called Souls on Earth, have marked humans as a race of beings unfit to survive. Rather than annihilate the planet, the Souls, never wasteful, insert themselves into humans and take over the species, body-snatcher style.

“The Host” is told from the first-person perspective of the alien Soul that overtakes Melanie, one of the last human bodies that still retains a human consciousness. The Soul, calling herself Wanderer, shares Melanie’s memories as well as her emotions. They become unexpected allies and run off to find, rescue and protect Jared, the man they love.

The screenplay is adapted and directed by Andrew Nicoll (“In Time,” “Gattaca”). Saoirse Ronan (“Hanna,” “The Lovely Bones”) stars as Melanie Stryder and will be joined by Diane Kruger, Max Irons and William Hurt.

“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”

The long-awaited sequel to “Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief” finally makes its way to the theater on Aug. 16 with “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.” Based on the Rick Riordan novel of the same name, the demigod Percy Jackson must try to live a normal life during the school year, but returns to Camp Half-Blood every summer to continue his training to battle monsters that threaten the human race. When Percy is suddenly attacked at his new school, he must return to the camp earlier than anticipated.

He and his friends Annabeth, Clarisse and Tyson must then journey to the Sea of Monsters to acquire the Golden Fleece, and rescue their friend Grover, who has been taken prisoner by a Cyclops. The friends embark on a whirlwind adventure that takes them to unfamiliar places to battle unfamiliar monsters.

Logan Lerman returns as Percy Jackson, along with Brandon T. Jackson as the satyr Grover and Sean Bean as Zeus. Also in the cast as Annabeth is Alexandra Daddario and “Firefly” and “Castle” star Nathan Fillion as Hermes.

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”

“The Mortal Instruments” series was written by Cassandra Clare and is full of romance, mystery and adventure. In the upcoming “City of Bones” film, Clary Fray inadvertently witnesses a murder at a night club, and is shocked when no one else can see what she sees. The 15-year-old is in for even more upheaval when her mother disappears. She is thrust into a world of Shadowhunters in which fairies, werewolves and vampires abound. Enter Jace Wayland, an attractive young Shadowhunter who helps Clary on her quest to rescue her mother.

“City of Bones” stars Lilly Collins (“Mirror Mirror”) as Clary Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower (“The Twilight Saga”) as the dashing Jace Wayland. Also in the cast are Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Lena Headey and Aiden Turner. Though the film doesn’t have a lot of big names, this may be the movie that pushes them to super-stardom.

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” is set for release Aug. 13.

“Ender’s Game”

Scheduled to release Nov. 13, “Ender’s Game” is based on two novels written in 1985, “Ender’s Game” and “Ender’s Shadow” by Orson Scott Card. When the alien Buggers invade Earth for the third time, the government recruits child geniuses to train at Battle School so they can be the next line of defense. Ender Wiggins is one of those children, though his genius brother Peter and genius sister Valentine are not among the chosen.

“Ender’s Game,” winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1986, has been given rave reviews as a science fiction novel. The movie version will include big names, such as Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Abigail Breslin, along with the Hugo star, Asa Butterfield.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

The sequel to “The Hunger Games,” written by Suzanne Collins, is set to hit the big screen on Nov. 22. The highly anticipated movie begins right where its predecessor left off. Katniss and Peeta have won the Hunger Games to the shock and awe of all the districts. They have also inadvertently stirred acts of rebellion across the outer districts through their act of defiance. Though they were just trying to stay alive, they have shown the districts that the Capitol cannot keep them subdued forever.

President Snow and the leaders of the Capitol want to snuff out these little flames that have started to erupt. The Quarter Quell, a special edition of the Hunger Games, is the perfect way to exact revenge and show the masses that defying the Capitol is unwise. Peeta and Katniss have to take part in a second Hunger Games in which they compete against past winners from each of the districts. The battle pits friend against friend and causes new alliances to spring forth.

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth return as the young heroes of an unfortunate love triangle. Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland will again flex their acting muscles and add spice to the otherwise overly dramatic cast. Fans of the book should also anticipate Sam Claflin’s take on the infamous Finnick Odair. With such a star-studded cast, the second installment in this dramatic adventure should be well worth the wait.

Along with the movies above, “Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box” by G.P. Taylor and Shakespeare’s classic “Romeo and Juliet” will also be coming to the big screen this year. “Beautiful Creatures” and “The Great and Powerful Oz, ”which are also based on adolescent novels, have already been released with mixed reviews.