The best young adult novels that went on to inspire TV shows (read the books first)

Stacy Kravetz Author Of Keep Your Frenemies Close
By Stacy Kravetz

The Books I Picked & Why

A Discovery of Witches

By Deborah Harkness

Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

Why this book?

This book had me at the outset with an old, magical manuscript that stirs up the otherworldly beings and binds a witch and a vampire together—I love that witches get their due here! Descended from a long line of witches, Diana Bishop is the only one who can break the spell, despite her resistance to the task. Harkness made her writing debut with this book, and it has all the magic, strong female characters, and beautiful prose to keep me enthralled. Great show too!

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Looking for Alaska

By John Green

Book cover of Looking for Alaska

Why this book?

I’d follow John Green down any literary road he paves with his wonderful characters and heart-tugging emotions. Oh, Pudge, and his quirky, sexy boarding schoolmate, Alaska—this couple is sweet, tender, raw, lovely. I won’t ruin the plot but let’s just say that once Alaska draws Pudge into “the great perhaps,” his life is changed forever. This one gets special love because it’s been banned by some libraries—I’m stubborn like that. Great mini-series as well.

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Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Why this book?

There’s a reason why this book (and the other 2 in the series) is still a must-read classic, and it’s Anne (who always reminds people of the E at the end of her name). At age eleven, she’s taken in by siblings who were hoping for a boy to help on their fram, but in short order, Anne bewitches the entire town with her spirit, her imagination, and her misadventures. I love that she charges through life with exuberance and her sights on college, only to turn down a scholarship so she can stay in Avonlea when a tragedy befalls her adoptive family. Anne is the kind of character who inspires young women, so it’s no surprise she inspired an excellent Canadian TV series, Anne with an E.

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13 Reasons Why

By Jay Asher

Book cover of 13 Reasons Why

Why this book?

Asher’s book takes on heavy themes of suicide, bullying, and mental health in such a magnetic way that the book is impossible to put down, impossible to forget. After Hannah Baker’s death, her friends are left with a series of tapes detailing the role each played in her decision to end her life. Yes, it’s heavy, but I like it for its examining of suicide and toxic friendships on a deeper level with questions about agency and blame. The TV series was equally stunning. 

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One of Us Is Lying

By Karen M. McManus

Book cover of One of Us Is Lying

Why this book?

This book stirred up all my Breakfast Club feels with a little Agatha Christie on the side. It’s a mystery revolving around five high schoolers locked in detention, one murder, and a whole host of secrets. McManus is a master of plot twists and great characters with secrets that keep on coming. The best part is that a clever reader can solve the mystery and feel like an ace detective.

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