Young adult (YA) fiction has been around, in various forms, for as long as there has been literature. But the vast success of “Harry Potter,” both at the bookshop and on the big screen, turned YA film adaptations into a veritable industry.
This year, a brilliant variety of young adult movies is based on novels that feature elements of fantasy, tragedy, romance and thrillers. They’re all coming to AMC soon. Here are the best new YA movies coming to theatres.
Five Feet Apart
Being 17 years old is hard enough. Being 17 in a hospital while undergoing treatment for cystic fibrosis takes that challenge to a whole new level. Based on the best-selling novel by Rachael Lippincott, FIVE FEET APARTtells the story of Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) as she navigates through her treatment options and tries — to the best of her ability — to enjoy life on her own terms.
While in treatment, Stella comes across another patient her age, Will (“Riverdale” star Cole Sprouse), whose approach to tackling his illness is significantly more lax. Stella and Will grow closer together even as they’re forced to stay at least six feet apart — a guideline from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation meant to decrease the risk of cross-infection between patients. FIVE FEET APARTis directed by Justin Baldoni, known for playing Rafael Solano in TV’s “Jane the Virgin.” (March 15)
2018 gave us showstopping movie-musical numbers from Lady Gaga (A STAR IS BORN) and Natalie Portman (VOX LUX). By springtime, Elle Fanning will kick 2019 into high gear as she steps up on stage in TEEN SPIRIT. Fanning, who played Aurora in Disney’s 2014 SLEEPING BEAUTY reimagining, MALEFICENT, stars in TEEN SPIRIT as Violet, a quiet teenager from a small European town who is thrust into stardom when she enters a singing competition.
As Violet, Fanning performs music by an all-star ensemble of pop stars, including Robyn, Ellie Goulding, Tegan and Sara, Annie Lennox, Orbital, Sigrid, and Carly Rae Jepsen. The soundtrack is expected to deliver even more hits, with music by Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Grimes, the Undertones, Aqua, Alice Deejay, Whigfield, Major Lazer and No Doubt. The film is directed by actor Max Minghella, son of legendary filmmaker Anthony Minghella (THE ENGLISH PATIENT). (April 5)
What started out innocently enough as Harry Styles fan fiction blossomed into a best-selling novel. Now, it’s a major motion picture. Well, maybe “innocent” isn’t the best way to describe this movie. This hot-and-heavy thriller is based on the novel of the same name by Anna Todd, who reportedly began the project as fan fiction centered around the One Direction star. Harry was scrubbed out entirely from the novel’s manuscript, which reintroduced the character as the mysterious Hardin Scott. Same initials, sure, but totally different characters because, in the movie, they have different haircuts.
Josephine Langford stars as Tessa, who embarks upon a steamy romance with the brooding Hardin Scott. He’s played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, nephew of Ralph Fiennes. Things aren’t as rosy as they initially appear, as Tessa finds out when she begins to unravel the layers behind Hardin’s dark background. (April 12)
The Sun Is Also a Star
Fans of 2017’s EVERYTHING, EVERYTHINGwon’t want to miss THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, the latest adaptation of a novel by acclaimed author Nicola Yoon. The movie centers around a whirlwind teenage romance, set on the streets of New York City, between Natasha (Yara Shahidi of “Black-ish”), a Jamaican immigrant on the verge of being deported along with her family, and Daniel (Charles Melton), the son of Korean shopkeepers en route to a college interview.
The pair cross paths in the Big Apple and spend the following 24 hours together, falling in love just as their lives are about to take dramatic turns. Shot on location and featuring the iconic sights of New York City, there are shades of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s romance from Richard Linklater’s BEFORE SUNSET trilogy in this YA adaptation. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is directed by Ry Russo-Young, who also helmed 2017’s BEFORE I FALL. (May 17)
The beloved science fiction YA series by Eoin Colfer finally hits the big screen in this summer’s ARTEMIS FOWL. Kenneth Branagh (CINDERELLA, THOR) directs the story of Artemis, played by Ferdia Shaw, a 12-year-old genius who is a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. When his father goes missing, Artemis sets out to find him — and to prove the existence of fairies, which could be related to his father’s disappearance.
Unfortunately, the fairies don’t want to be found, and Artemis finds himself engaged in a battle of wits with the secretive civilization. Never a good thing to get into when dealing with a race that has been clever enough to remain hidden for centuries. But then again, Artemis is a genius. With a total of eight novels in the “Artemis Fowl” series, this might be only the first of many adventures for the irrepressible young hero. (August 9)
Check back in with the AMC Scene for more YA adaptions soon!