Young-adult literature has been around a lot longer than Harry Potter, but the term "YA adaptation" seems to be a fairly new concept, set in motion by the popular movies about that boy wizard. This is absurd if we realize that "Books for Young Persons" was first made a category by Sarah Trimmer at the start of the 19th century, and a hundred years later the first films were being made based on works labeled such, including Alice in Wonderland and Oliver Twist.
Over the next 10 decades, we've seen waves of interest in the "genre," but nothing like what kicked off in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and its many sequel adaptations. Since then we've seen great popularity in Twilight and The Hunger Games and tremendous disappointment in Eragon and The Seeker. This year we got a couple flops in Beautiful Creatures and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and it seemed like all was lost for YA films.
Now there's Ender's Game, a film I personally think is one of the best adaptations for this category since at least the mid-Potter installments (I haven't seen Perks of Being a Wildflower, but apparently I should). Hopefully the audience shows up this time. And doesn't think it's just "Harry Potter in space." Not just because the book was published more than a decade before Sorcerer's Stone arrived.
People love that Hogwarts hero, though. Enough to forget all those films with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, different takes on The Lord of the Flies, Coppola's movies of The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, Martin Scorsese's excellent 3D treatment of Hugo and even The Princess Bride, which is one of the very few pre-21st century entries represented on Box Office Mojo's YA movies chart.
For those who do go further back to before the modern trend, To Kill a Mockingbird appears to be a favorite. I will throw my hat into that ring, too. But otherwise, Potter wins the crown for those responding to my polls on Twitter today. Hardly anyone can agree on which film adapted from which book is the best, but there is a larger consensus devoted to that series, still. Either I need to rewatch them or some of you guys need to watch some older movies. I think the latter.
What is the best YA adaptation so far?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter:
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