In a media landscape inundated with major sequels, prequels, remakes, and the like, it’s become increasingly difficult for original IP to gain traction or even interest. Though content such as book adaptations are still quite present, major studios have recently been opting to revamp existing franchises. And while a little nostalgia can draw an audience in, there’s an endless well of fresh, exciting books to draw from that welcome in viewers of all kinds. So, we’ve picked a few of our favorite reads that deserve screen adaptations of their own.
A Taste of Magic by J. Elle
Marking Elle’s middle grade debut, A Taste of Magic brings a clever take on the magical school. The story follows Kyana Turner, a sixth grader who begins weekend classes at Park Row Magick Academy after learning she’s a witch. However, when the school and its students face a major threat, Kyana concocts a plan to save the school. Elle writes an inventive, enchanting tale and an outpouring of love that sees and understands its readers. Plus, it doesn’t get cooler than curl-pattern activated wands. Read our full review here.
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
If you find joy in being sorted into things, look no further. Witchlings has you covered. The first book in Ortega’s series, it largely follows Seven Salazar who’s excited to join a coven and become a full-fledged witch. However, when she and two others – Thorn and Valley – are sorted into the Spare coven, they embark on an impossible task that they must complete lest they face horrible consequences. Bursting with magic, Ortega welcomes all readers into their world with insightful commentary on society, friendship, and believing in yourself. The sequel, The Golden Frog Games is out now, and a third book is also on the way. Read our Witchlings review here.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Taking place in another school setting, Legendborn follows Bree Matthews, whose life is turned upside down after her mother dies. After Bree begins early college courses at UNC-Chapel hill, she’s soon thrust into a world with magic, where she learns that her mother’s death may have had magical forces at work. Fueled by the information, Bree sets out to learn the truth, only to discover a secret magic society known as the Legendborn along the way. While the book is already in the works as a television series, it absolutely deserves to see big movement and success. Deonn offers such a deep and poignant story through Bree, reinventing and refreshing Arthurian legend in clever and though-provoking ways. She creates a grounded yet rich world that pulls you in right from the start. Deonn released the sequel, Bloodmarked, back in November 2022. Read our full Legendborn review here.
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera is known for his gut-wrenching contemporary novels, and now, he’s known for gut-wrenching fantasy. The first of three in his Infinity Cycle, Infinity Son follows brothers Emil and Brighton, who look up to a group of celestials (people born with powers) called the Spell Walkers – vigilantes that fight people called specters who steal powers. Brighton has always wanted powers to join the fight, but Emil doesn’t. So, when Emil develops magic of his own, he becomes part of the fight he just wants to stop. This fast-paced story is perfect for Silvera fans looking to dip their toes into the fantasy genre. It includes a host of diverse and interesting characters, with no shortage of twists and turns along the way. Infinity Son is succeeded by Infinity Reaper, with the third book releasing soon.
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Kalynn Bayron took the YA space by storm with her debut novel Cinderella Is Dead. Her follow-up, This Poison Heart continued to showcase her prowess, bringing an exciting perspective on Greek mythology. The story follows Briseis (aka Bri), a teen who has quite the way with plants. When her aunt dies and Briseis becomes owner of the estate, she and her parents head to New York. While there, Briseis learns that her gift with plants is much more than a green thumb. Bayron cleverly weaves mythology into the story, with compelling and dynamic characters to match. The book is succeeded by This Wicked Fate. Read our full review for This Poison Heart here.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
In her solo debut novel, The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton offers sharp commentary about societal beauty standards. Set in the lavish world of Orléans, the story follows Camellia Beauregard, a Belle whose job is to transform others that are born gray into beautiful people. For Camellia, though, she wants nothing more than to be the Favorite – the one Belle who tends to the royal family. However, once she and the others arrive at the palace, Camellia realizes her dreams aren’t quite what they thought, learning about dangerous secrets within the royal family. So, she must choose between protecting herself and her sisters or saving the princess. Clayton breathes colorful life into The Belles, crafting a world and cast of characters that pop off the page. She writes with a clear vision that would translate beautifully on screen if done right. The Belles is succeeded by The Everlasting Rose.
The Entire Rick Riordan Presents Catalogue
Yes, this is more than one book, but it offers a rich catalogue to choose from. Each book in the imprint aims to spotlight diverse authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds. All the books offer unique and fantastical stories that draw inspiration from folklore, written by authors who understand it best. Recent additions to the imprint include Aru Shah and the End of Time, The Storm Runner, and Dragon Pearl, among several others.
What other books do you think would make great adaptations? Let us know!