No, I Don’t HAVE To Go See That YA Movie Adaptation

Posted August 7, 2014 by Debby in Columns / 25 Comments

Phew, okay, this is a rant that’s long overdue – one that actually spawned in my mind back in February. Yeah, I’m THAT behind on blogging. But as we have a new set of YA movie adaptations coming to us very soon, I thought I would take the time to write it ANYWAY.

Now, I am a proud YA reader. Anyone who has been on this blog would be able to tell you so. And I like movies. So when some of my favorite YA books get adapted to movies, that can be pretty exciting. But that does not mean that I’m excited for ALL YA movie adaptations, nor that I think all of them are high quality. Now, why am I getting into this right now? Because, whenever there’s a rush of new YA movie adaptations hitting theaters, on Twitter I see A LOT of sentiment in the YA community, PARTICULARLY from authors, along the lines of the following:

“Watch [insert YA movie adaptation here] to support more YA movie adaptations! If you don’t watch, they won’t happen!! Bad fans!!”

Excuse me. No.

This is one argument that I want to never see again. And let me outline in excruciating detail why.

Point 1: Hollywood isn’t going to stop adapting YA books if one film flops. Not all YA is created equal.

And this is probably the most important point. Let’s give Hollywood a little credit, okay? They have enough resources to have market researchers who will tell them that NOT ALL YA IS ALIKE. And they do know this. Of course they know this! Otherwise they would have STOPPED making YA movie adaptations entirely after flops like Beautiful Creatures, The Host, and City of Bones, but you know what? They didn’t. They keep coming anyway, because Hollywood also sees that the paranormal romances are dying out, so they move with the trends to dystopias like Divergent and contemporaries like The Fault in Our Stars. They will keep trying so long as there’s money to be made. They will keep trying to find the next Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Seriously.

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And think about it this way, would you say the same about other adaptations? So many films are adapted from books, or comics, or what have you. Are they going to stop making superhero flicks because The Green Lantern flopped? Are they going to stop making romantic dramas or comedies if god forbid a Sophie Kinsella or Nicholas Sparks movie flops? (If it ever happened, doubtful as it is.)

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Now yes, if ALL YA movie adaptations flopped, Hollywood could take a note and back away slowly. That’s why I’m not saying we shouldn’t go see ANY YA movie adaptations – but we should be free to support the ones we really want to support. And there will be stand-out hits like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, so I’m not worried. And believe me, when I like a movie adaptation, I make that shit known to the WORLD. I’ll watch it TWICE in theaters, buy merchandise, buy the special edition DVD, spam my Facebook and Twitter friends — THE WORLD WILL KNOW. All of these things, in fact, I did when The Hunger Games came out. And that’s what being a fan truly is to me.

Point 2: I’m not going to watch a YA movie adaptation if I KNOW it’s bad.

And this comes mostly because this argument was running rampant when Vampire Academy hit theaters. Come on, guys. We all saw that trailer that turned a kick ass vampire story into Mean Girls: Vampire Edition. We heard the reviews. We saw the 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Why would I PAY to go see that? Because it’s YA? God no. If I were to go see that in theaters, it would send entirely the wrong message to Hollywood. It would tell them, “Sure, take a massively popular book and turn it into a parody of itself – I’d love to pay money to see that.” Quality? What quality? PSH, at least they ADAPTED it, because that’s all that MATTERS now.

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By supporting movie adaptations like that (and I realize that it’s mostly a one-off exception), Hollywood could get the wrong idea. We want MORE paranormal romances. We want the drama turned up, the worldbuilding and plot consistencies turned way down, and we don’t really care about the tone of the book shining through. I know adaptations can’t be 100% faithful to their book counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that butchering the book is okay with me. It is not. (And note, I didn’t even really like Vampire Academy that much.)

Not going to see that movie doesn’t mean I’m a bad fan of YA – it means I’m not going to sit by and let my YA books be butchered. Fine, I’m a bad fan of bad quality adaptations. I want better adaptations. If anything, that means I’m the BEST fan of YA. *hair flip*

Point 3: Not everyone has the money to go see 10 movies per year in theaters.

And yeah, we are getting about that many YA movies per year, aren’t we? Just this year we have Vampire Academy, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver, If I Stay, The Maze Runner, Mockingjay: Part 1 — okay, fine, 7, but I digress. Depending on where you live, movie tickets can cost quite a lot. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of freedom in my budget. If someone can’t cough up the cash, that doesn’t mean they’re a bad YA fan. Please stop. Let’s not give each other shit for that, okay?

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So as this new wave of YA movie adaptations approaches..

Know that you don’t HAVE to go watch them. Not going to see it in theaters doesn’t make you a bad fan of YA. If you don’t think it’s a good quality adaptation based on the trailer, or you don’t want to watch that dystopian movie because you don’t like those kinds of stories, you don’t HAVE to watch them. Send Hollywood the right kind of message so eventually they will learn what we want from our movie adaptations. And if someone gives you SHIT for that, send them here. Kindly shut up, sir/ma’am. You’re being ridiculous.

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25 responses to “No, I Don’t HAVE To Go See That YA Movie Adaptation

  1. Agree so much! Like in an ideal world I’d have money to support all these movies but then when I really think about it it’s like you said….I want better. I don’t want bad adaptions. I want amazing ones like The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Hunger Games and even TFIOS and the Book Thief I thought were really good ones. And I went to them because i LOVED those books. Not because they were YA. I went to City of Bones with book club and after it was done I was kind of upset because money is tight and I felt like I wasted money to see that. I can’t do that! And honestly…sometimes when they butcher these movies I have to believe they are turning off potential fans to the book and I want to be like NOOOO THE BOOK WAS SO AMAZING. Like Vampire Academy..I’ve only read book 1 and I liked it alright…but what I saw in the trailer made that book look dumb!

    And at the end of the day…..I think I do enough to support YA and I’d rather keep doing the things I’m doing that directly support authors that I love than spend my energy and money supporting shit adaptations.
    Jamie recently posted The Summer I Fell Head Over Heels In Love With Fantasy Because of ONE SeriesMy Profile

    • RIGHT, if the adaptations were good quality of the YA books I love (and not all the paranormal romances that I don’t care for), I would save up the cash and be first in line to watch them all opening weekend. Perks was amazing, and I cried so hard at the end. The Hunger Games and TFIOS were also pretty much perfect. I haven’t seen The Book Thief, embarrassingly, but I also haven’t read the book yet, more embarrassingly >.>

      Overall, yeah, I go to movies that sound interesting and not because there’s a book that I should be supporting, so it really irks me that people want to exert this pressure on us simply because we’re in the YA reading sphere. And I totally get that about turning off fans to the book. A bad YA adaptation being a successful, highly promoted film could do more harm to us who love reading YA books, because we’re perpetuating this stereotype of YA books being stupid, shallow, melodramatic, etc. Can we not? YA is awesome, so the adaptations should be too – and they should make the audience more open-minded to our books.

      TRUE, we bloggers do our fair share, so no one has the right to make us feel guilty about not supporting bad adaptations. That’s just ridiculous. If I see authors tweeting this stuff I’m instantly less tempted to review and promote their books, tbh…

  2. Oh my God, YES. I’m in the bookish community for fun, friends, and books, not peer pressure to go see movies I’m not interested in. The only people who can make me see something I don’t want to are my BFFs and they only did that once. I thought we were seeing Magic Mike and they took me to a Step Up movie instead. I think that should have been the other way around, but whatevs.

    Since City of Bones came out, I’ve been plugging my ears to calls of “YOU HAVE TO SEE IT BECAUSE YA MOVIE.” Um, noooooo. Ally Carter was one of the people who said that and that’s why I won’t read her books anymore. With City of Bones in particular, people had even MORE reasons to not want to see it compared to your average YA film. For instance, Cassandra Clare being a plagiarist, bully, hack, elitist, etc. and they didn’t want to give her money. That’s a very good reason to boycott a movie, so people saying we needed to go see it anyway because YA movie was more infuriating than the same calls have been for any other movie.

    People will all have their own reasons to go see YA movies (I saw TMI because it would entertain my followers and it would fail regardless of what I did; I saw VA to see exactly how badly the filmmakers butchered the source material), but none of them should ever be related to peer pressure of the idea that seeing all these YA movies will make more happen. It’s just not right.

    Awesome post, Debby. People are so frustrating sometimes when it comes to YA movies.

    • Haha, right? I’m finally watching more YA movies because of Fuzzling Flicks with Christina – and we’re doing it JUST so we can make fun of them, pretty much. That says a lot about how much we don’t like what Hollywood is doing to our books. (Primary issue being that they’re choosing the worst books to adapt, but okay.)

      Ugh, Ally Carter was one of those? I don’t follow her but I’m glad I didn’t see that. I can’t remember who all was tweeting this thought… I think Lauren DeStefano was one of them though, and that’s super disappointing because she’s so awesome for the rest. Yeah, City of Bones is the most ridiculous – but CC’s fangirls are just intense and scary. I guess VA was the most surprising to me because I thought it was pretty much OBVIOUS to everyone that that movie was terrible and a disgrace, and people were still yelling it. I mean, at least City of Bones was a pretty faithful adaptation for the most part.

      🙂 thanks Ashleigh! Let’s hope we can get them to shut up about this now. If I see it happen again in the coming months with If I Stay, The Maze Runner, and The Giver, I’m going to lose my shit.

  3. I had planned on writing some long, detailed comment about how much I agree with this, but I have nothing more to add! *standing ovation* Especially with the Pascal gifs 😉

    THANK you for making the point about the money! Tickets where I live can go up to $15 if I want to see the movie when it’s first released, so I usually wait until it’s at our discount theater for $4 or out in Redbox a few months later. I WANT to see the movies, but sometimes it takes me a while to get there. I can’t count how many people have asked me, “You STILL haven’t seen TFiOS??” It’ll happen eventually, just not now.
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted The 5 Stages of Book HangoverMy Profile

    • Hahaha, thank you Kayla 🙂

      Yeah, movie tickets are pretty expensive here too, in the range of 10-15 euros, and I’m unemployed at the moment. I feel you on TFIOS – I just saw it a couple weeks ago because it came out more than a month later than in the States. *sigh* I was definitely feeling the pressure to see it, and I went the second weekend it was out here. We do what we gotta do – just because one person’s super excited for a movie doesn’t mean all of us HAVE to be. And even if we are, that doesn’t mean it’s a priority.

  4. I agree with your post, it’s silly to argue that someone should see a movie just because it’s YA. That makes no sense. But I do have to stick up for the VA movie. The trailer did make it look like some Mean Girls type of movie, but it actually wasn’t. Richelle Mead posted about the fact that the marketing people were trying to expand the audience by marketing it that way and also to make sure people knew it wasn’t a Twilight type movie just because it had vampires in it. I would say it was pretty true to the book and I really enjoyed it. I usually don’t pay attention to critics, etc. If I want to see a movie, I’ll just see it (I usually don’t like the ones critics like anyway).
    Pam@YA Escape from Reality recently posted Book Review: Solving For Ex by Leigh Ann KopansMy Profile

  5. I agree!! I want to support YA adaptations if it’s something GOOD. As a die hard lover of VA, it broke my heart when I saw the preview. The only reason I went to see it was because I was in denial and thought MAYBE it would be good. (it wasn’t.) However, ones that are done well, I tell everyone to go see and to read the books! I don’t think there shoudl be lines about what is a “good” fan. If you’re a fan, you’re a fan. That’s it.
    Wendy @ Book Scents recently posted A Queen of the PeopleMy Profile

    • Exactly! That whole part of the argument where they insinuated that we’re bad YA fans if we chose NOT to go see VA? A fan is a fan, and a fan can choose to support one form of the story but not another. Especially if they’re a blogger, I feel like they’re doing more than their fair share of spreading the love of YA. SMH.

  6. I agree with you, they’re not going to stop making movies just because some people choose not to watch them. I’m picky about which movie adaptations I do end up seeing because time, money, and all that other stuff about going to the movies.

    • That Pascal gif gives me life, it’s SO PERFECT hahaha.

      Yeah, it was mostly authors claiming this on Twitter and it really made me want to just unfollow every single one of them. Let me choose what media I want to enjoy and when. As such, I feel like I’m doing a perfectly fine job of spreading the love of YA anyway. 😛

  7. […] “No, I Don’t HAVE to Go See That YA Movie Adaptation” @ Snuggly Oranges – this is my feeling on the topic exactly – we shouldn’t have to support ALL YA adaptations in order to be a good fan, just like we shouldn’t have to go to all movies with female protagonists if we’re good feminists (still mad about that), and we should only support the kinds of movies that we want to see more of in the future […]

  8. I am having this issue with this very thing with (I know) Sailor Moon. There is so many people saying “If you don’t watch the new SM, you’re not a true Moonie!” Look, I LOVE Crystal, but how is bullying others into watching something helping ANY FANBASE?
    It makes me so MAD to see others telling everyone what makes a TRUE fan!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted Book Review: Rain ReignMy Profile

    • Yeah, not everyone has the time nor desire to see everything the instant it’s available. That doesn’t make them less of a fan, it just means it’s not their top priority – which is… probably kind of healthy? This also reminds me that I haven’t watched the newest Sailor Moon episode yet. Look at that, 3 days late, and I’M STILL A FAN.

  9. One of my most favorite reads this year was The Book Thief. It was a book that I struggled to pull myself away from. It was something I just wanted to go lock myself up and read from start to finish. One with characters who really made me care/feel something. I was super excited to see it was going to the big screen. I rented the movie to watch at home with my daughter, who had never read the book. BIG, HUGE Flop!!! They couldn’t have ruined the story in the movie any worse than if they had set out to just make a mockery of the book. I hated it. I was so disappointed, this could have been done so well. So, after watching this movie and the movie My Sister’s Keeper (where they totally changed the ending!) I’ve about given up on movies and almost want to pledge to just keep reading the books. I mean has anyone ever said, “The movie was WAY better than the book?” – I doubt it!
    Gina recently posted Book Reviews: These Broken StarsMy Profile

  10. I totally agree! I mean, I watched City of Bones and it was such a disappointment. Also, as much as I loved Vampire Academy, I didn’t even bother to watch the movie adaptation because I knew it wouldn’t be good. So yeah, fans don’t have to go gaga over every YA movie adaptation the Hollywood is cooking up.
    Julie @ Books and Insomnia recently posted [REVIEW] The Giver by Lois LowryMy Profile

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