I’m Already Disappointed with the Movie Adaptation of ‘The DUFF’

DUFF: Movie Title
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As an avid reader and movie-watcher, I’ve had a variety of experiences with films that were adapted from novels. Some were good, some were bad, and some were really and truly terrible. The DUFF is in a whole new ballpark.

I found the trailer for The DUFF movie in Buzzfeed’s “21 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen in 2015” list. It seemed like it would be a fun movie, so I decided to read the book. Perhaps my expectations were set incredibly low by the movie trailer, but the book surprised me by delving into serious issues like substance abuse and society’s preconceived ideas about sexuality.

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Looking Ahead at the YA Novels-Turned-Movies of 2014

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Photos via Penguin, Veronica Roth Books, and Wikipedia

Photos via Penguin, Veronica Roth Books, and Wikipedia

As far as movies adapted from young adult novels go, 2013 was both a really great and a really awful year. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was one of the biggest blockbusters in theaters during a year of many great big budget films. It also swooped in at the last minute and stole the title of highest grossing film of the year from Iron Man 3, netting $409.4 million in just under 50 days at the box office. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, many films adapted from YA novels did incredibly poorly at the box office: Beautiful Creatures, The Host, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. In 2013 we saw incredible success and incredible failure when it comes to movie adaptations, but it certainly wasn’t the last year of Hollywood attempting to bring YA novels to the big screen.

Photo via Lionsgate

Photo via Lionsgate

Since we ended 2013 on such a high note with Catching Fire, which was both a success in terms of box office sales as well as staying true to the book, it’s hard not to be optimistic about 2014. Catching Fire seems to have renewed fans expectations of their favorite novels being turned into movies. It’s no longer guaranteed that the film adaptation will be horrible–although, statistically speaking, it’s still likely. However, with so many more films debuting in 2014 that are adapted from YA novels, we might be able to take what we learned in 2013 and predict how the films will do this year. (I am by no means a movie scientist–no matter how much I wish that were an actual profession–and I’m merely making semi-educated guesses here.)

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‘Percy Jackson:’ the Movies vs the Books

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Photos courtesy of Puffin Books and 20th Century Fox.

Photos via Puffin Books and 20th Century Fox.

When the first Percy Jackson & The Olympians novel, The Lightning Thief, was originally published in 2005, I was still young enough to fall within the realm of a young adult, but for some reason I missed the boat on this one. Instead, my first introduction to the Percy Jackson world was through the 2010 adaptation of The Lightning Thief. But I think anyone who’s a fan of the Percy Jackson books can attest that The Lightning Thief film was absolutely horrible both as an adaptation and as a movie in general. I went into the theater with no knowledge of the Percy Jackson canon and I spent two hours mildly entertained, slightly confused, and wholly underwhelmed. So it’s possible–and entirely likely–that I subconsciously avoided the book series because the film was so awful.

Photos courtesy of Hyperion Books and 20th Century Fox.

Photos via Hyperion Books and 20th Century Fox.

However, I recently picked up The Lightning Thief novel and I loved it. I finished the book in a few days and flew through The Sea of Monsters as well. Modern day Greek mythology in a young adult novel with a cast of cool and relatable characters? Yeah, Rick Riordan’s series is right up my alley. (I may have been inspired to read the books because I wanted to watch the Sea of Monsters film for the sake of Nathan Fillion.) After finishing the two books, I rewatched The Lightning Thief, then saw Sea of Monsters. If there was one thing I noticed, it’s that the books, the first movie, and the second movie are all very different and I have a lot of opinions about each of them. So let’s discuss.

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5 Favorite Chick Lit Authors

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One of these books will reappear later in my list. (Photo courtesy of Melanie S on Flickr.)

One of these books will reappear later in my list. (Photo courtesy of Melanie S on Flickr.)

Growing up and attending school within the U.S. education system meant reading a ton of books I didn’t want to read–The Scarlet Letter immediately comes to mind. But while I was struggling to get through whatever classic I had been assigned, I would take a break, curl up on a Saturday, and get through a whole chick lit young adult novel in one sitting. On more than one occasion I’ve stayed up until the wee morning hours (4 or 5 a.m.) in order to finish a book because I needed to know what happens. So it’s safe to say I’m a book-lover–and chick lit is my favorite genre.

Chick lit, which refers to literature written for and mainly appealing to women, is often brushed off as silly or trashy fiction with weak female characters. Of course, if you’ve read chick lit, you know that is a complete misconception. Sure many chick lit novels contain a romance aspect or plot, but they also delve into the main character’s professional life, as well as their relationships with family and friends. The best chick lit deals with all aspects of a woman’s life, not just her love life. I’m not the first or only person who’s defended chick lit, though, so has Jamie Beckman of The Frisky. But, since I’ve read many, many chick lit novels–both for women and young adults–I thought I’d list some of my favorite authors who specialize in women’s fiction, as well as some of my favorite novels.

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An Introduction to the Cast of ‘The Maze Runner’

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The official logo for 'The Maze Runner.' (Photo courtesy of 'The Maze Runner' on Facebook.)

The official logo for ‘The Maze Runner.’ (Photo courtesy of ‘The Maze Runner’ on Facebook.)

Amidst all the other young adult dystopian novels being turned into movies, The Maze Runner is one that I am especially excited to see. The movie is based on The Maze Runner by James Dashner, which he told fans during the Nerd HQ panel at SDCC this year, was inspired by books he liked when he was younger: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It’s easy to see the inspiration from those books in The Maze Runner, as well as the other two books in Dashner’s trilogy: The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. I just recently finished the trilogy and it’s made me even more excited for the film.

One of the first stills released of the whole cast in the Glade. (Photo courtesy of 'The Maze Runner' on Facebook.)

One of the first stills released of the whole cast in the Glade. (Photo courtesy of ‘The Maze Runner’ on Facebook.)

Since I didn’t start The Maze Runner until after I found out about the casting choices, while I read the books I envisioned the characters as the actors who were chosen to play them. Although I usually don’t like to picture the actors as the characters while I’m reading, for The Maze Runner it worked. Many–if not all–of the cast members are a perfect fit for their character. For instance, the protagonist, Thomas, will be portrayed by Dylan O’Brien, a talented actor (currently working on Teen Wolf) whose ability will definitely do justice to Thomas’s character. As for the rest of the cast, I’ve seen some of them in other projects, but many were unknown to me. So I conducted a few online research into these actors and began to fall in love with everyone in the main cast. Not only do they constantly post pictures to Instagram and tweet about each other, they also seem to absolutely adore each other:

“I would genuinely describe this entire set as one big bromance.” –Will Poulter

Wes Ball’s adaptation of The Maze Runner comes out February 14, and personally I can’t wait. For anyone else who’s excited, or who wants the lowdown on the cast & characters, I compiled all my research (or internet stalking, whatever) about everyone into one post. So here’s a little bit of info about the Gladers, and the actors behind the characters.

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