Young Adult Fantasy Novels That Were Made Into Movies

By Tynne De Leon


Two weeks ago, 8List.ph got the chance to talk with Lauren Kate, author of the bestseller Fallen series, who went to the country for the premiere of its film adaptation. Fallen was part of my high school booklist, so imagine how thrilled I was that I finally got to see it on the big screen after seven years. Kate was joined by Harrison Gilbertson and Addison Timlin, the stars of the movie.

As a teenager, I practically grew up reading young adult novels, and it’s always a delight seeing them come to life. Watching Fallen seven years after reminded me of the recent fantasy novels I’ve read that were also adapted to the big screen, with some even exceeding my expectations.

Here are some of the most recent ones, including their plot:

8. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones


Written by Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments tells the story of fifteen-year-old Clary Fray who discovers that she is a demon-hunter named Shadowhunter, and is tasked to get rid of demons in the earth and control the werewolves and the vampires. Raised as a normal human, Clary met the attractive, blonde-haired Shadowhunter Jace Wayland and eventually joined him in their world to discover her true identity.

The first book, City of Bones, was adapted into the big screen in 2013 starring real-life couple Lilly Collins as Clary and Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace. The movie was relatable for those who haven’t read the book, but as some big screen adaptations go, the film did not sit well with critics and die-hard fans of Clare’s work. Thus, the sequel never saw the light of day.

But there was enough clamor that The Mortal Instruments was rebooted as a television series called Shadowhunters which premiered at Freeform network last January.


7. Twilight


Having one of the biggest fan bases among the YA set, Twilight has captured  audiences with its vampire-themed romance fantasy novelw. Written by Stephenie Meyer, the series was about the love story of human Bella Swan and 104-year-old vampire Edward Cullen.

There are plenty of plot lines from the book that weren’t included in the movie . Although it became largely the butt of most jokes since it came out, there are some critics who actually liked the film more than the book.


6. The Hunger Games



This compelling story of a televised death match in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, known as The Hunger Games, was widely received by both fans and critics. The story follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteered to be the District 12 tribute for the 74th annual Hunger Games as a replacement for her sister. She is joined by Peeta Mellark, and their participation in the deadly competition has awakened a revolt.

Topbilled by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Katniss’ best friend Gale Hawthorne, the film adaptation of the first book, The Hunger Games, was a box-office success.


5. Beautiful Creatures


Via Amazon

Beautiful Creatures is the first book from the highly praised The Caster Chronicles series of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It’s about the supernatural love story of Lena Duchannes, a Caster and Ethan Lawson Wate, a human. Ethan is drawn into the complicated and magical world of the Caster, not just because of his blossoming relationship with Lena, but there’s some connection between them that links to both of their pasts.


The film, topbilled by Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert as Ethan and Lena respectively, was sadly a box office disappointment. The movie certainly bore an uncanny resemblance to Twilight.

4. The Maze Runner


Via Amazon

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Maze Runner is the first of a trilogy by James Dashner, about a group of people stuck inside a place called the Glade. The story starts with Thomas’ first day at the Glade, transported there by unknown entities, unable to remember anything except his name. He eventually learned that the people there, who call themselves Gladers, were transported there mysteriously and a new person would be transported to the Glade every month.

The movie starring Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee and Patricia Clarkson,  got a lot of positive reviews, which is why the second book, The Scorch Trials, was also adapted into a film in 2015. The third book, The Death Cure will be shown on the big screen on 2018.


3. The Host


From Twilight creator, Stephenie Meyer, The Host is also a work of romantic fiction, but set in a post-apocalyptic era (hm, there seems to be a trend here) when the Earth was taken over by the “Souls”, a parasitic alien race. Souls are implanted into a human body which they call “The Host”, erasing the human’s memories. The heroine, Melanie Stryder, taken over by a soul named Wanderer, was somehow able to resist the invader.

The movie adaptation, starring Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and Jake Abel, was intriguing, and showcased the romantic feel of the novel. However, the slow pace in which the story unfolded bored audiences.


2. Divergent


Often compared to The Maze Runner, Divergent is the debut novel of Veronica Roth. It is the first book from the Divergent trilogy, where a post-apocalyptic (there it is again) version of Chicago divides its citizens to five factions based on their personality and social affiliations. Every year, all sixteen-year olds are required to choose from the five: Abnegation (The Selfless), Amity (The Peaceful), Candor (The Honest), Dauntless, (The Brave) and Erudite (The Intellectual). The protagonist, Beatris “Tris” Prior defied odds and chose Dauntless instead of Abnegation, her original faction. As she enters the Dauntless world, she meets Four, her trainer and who eventually becomes her lover.

The movie had a strong cast. Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Miles Teller ably portrayed the book’s characters in the big screen. While not fully faithful to the book, the movie definitely gave justice to Roth’s series.


1. Fallen


Fallen is an enchanting young adult fantasy novel by Lauren Kate. The story centers on Lucinda “Luce” Price, a young girl who’s been seeing weird elements in shadows since her younger days, when she enters “Sword and Cross”, a reform school. She eventually met the recluse Daniel Grigori, whom she feels an unusual connection with, but is mysteriously avoiding her. She also meets the antagonistic Cam, whom she also had feelings for, and eventually caught in a love triangle with. It was revealed that Daniel is a fallen angel who refused to pick a side between Heaven and Hell, and instead chose Love. In the course of the story, Luce eventually gets the answers to her questions and later realizes her connection with Daniel and the group of angels.

The film, portrayed by Addison Timlin, Jeremy Irvine and Harrison Gilbertson, was a good film that carries a different tone from the book. It was a slow burner at first, then awkwardly fast in the middle up to the end.  But if you’re one of those who waited for seven long years to see Lauren Kate’s words come to life, then you should definitely see it, as she’s also the film’s executive producer.

Distributed by Pioneer Films, Fallen is still showing at some SM Cinemas. Go check it out this weekend!


Got other favorites that are not on our list? Sound off below!

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