Thursday, March 10, 2011

Show Me the YA Version

Sara Shepard's popular series Pretty Little Liars was conceived as Desperate Housewives for teens, which got me thinking about other programming and properties that have been successfully re-imagined and reshaped for a younger audience.

Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall (which has been optioned for a film adaptation) is sort of like Groundhog Day for teens, and Carrie Ryan's dystopian future / zombie novel Forest of Hands and Teeth mixes elements of Cormac McCarthy's The Road with M. Night Shymalan's The Village for teens.

It works the other way, too. What is Lev Grossman's The Magicians if not Harry Potter for grown-ups?

Here's my (admittedly bizarre) wish list of projects I'd like to see redone in YA style:

1) Lost (Not in a Lord of the Flies or Survivor way, though -- I'm more interested in seeing the metaphysical aspects, the sense that certain people are destined to affect one another throughout their lives, plus time travel, obvs)

2) Inception (Entering people's dreams and altering their daylight decisions? Yes, please)

3) Prime Suspect  (How this would even remotely work I have no idea. But it'd have a strong heroine and be awesome)

Are there any films, TV shows or adult books you're dying to see adapted into YA format?


  1. How about "The King's Speech?"Dealing with an already fragile journey of finding a voice coupled with modern take on overcoming obstacles? You could argue this theme has been done to death, but why not make it about a speech class at an inner-city public school?

  2. I love it, Jeff. Really great idea. I hope someone writes this now! :)

  3. I want to see the YA version of "Cheers." The main character would be a Sam Malone type and all the other characters would revole around him. The MC would struggle with finding love and dealing with all his friends' problems. At this bar for teens, they would serve Shirley Temples and Cherry Cokes, and some of the drama would happen when the evil rival teen bar down the street starts doing pranks, and offering spiked drinks.

  4. Nice! I miss "Cheers." The Rebecca Years were my favorite. Nothing against Diane, but Kirstie Alley was amazing. I would definitely read a YA "Cheers." :)

  5. Sarah--have you seen "Veronica Mars"? Season 1 in particular is about as close to a YA "Prime Suspect" as you could get, and it's *fantastic.* Great stand-alone mysteries, great overarching mystery. Season 2 is almost as good, which still makes it some of the best TV in existence.

    Also, if you like YA takes on things, the movie "Brick" is every Raymond Chandler mystery turned into YA, with the darkness intact. It's incredible.

    Came here because I'm querying my fantasy novel & researching your awesome agency.

  6. Hi Greg,

    Thanks so much for commenting! I think we have a lot in common :)

    I was a huge "Veronica Mars" fan and you're so right -- that's a good analogy to "Prime Suspect." I'm attempting to write a high school noir story right now, so I've been reading lots of Dashiell Hammett, watching great films like "Double Indemnity" for the first time, and also re-watching "Brick," which was extraordinary. (I blogged about it a little while ago here:

    Best of luck placing your fantasy novel with an agent. I can't say enough good things about Sara Megibow and everyone at the Nelson Agency.