Tag Archives: james dawson

Page to Screen: YA Books That Would Make Great Movies

A lot of people seemed to love Paragraphs to Pictures, a blog post I published a few weeks ago on the YA books I’d love to see adapted as graphic novels. So, here’s a follow up post – this time, I’m looking at some books I would love to see on the big screen!PicMonkey CollageI’m normally team The Book Was Better when it comes to adaptations of books I love – take City of Bones, Stormbreaker or Harry Potter for instance – some of the increasing number of YA novels that have been brought to the screen. As brilliant as the films are, there’s always something more magical about reading the printed word and imagining the scenarios in your head.

I went to see Paper Towns a few weeks ago. I loved the book and it may be my favourite John Green novel – but the movie was unexpectedly maybe even better than the book. I thought the cinematography was perfect – scenes such as Q and Margo driving around the town at night captured beautifully. I think the story was translated fantastically.

It got me thinking about other YA books  that I love and treasure. What if these works were brought to big screens? Who would I pick to play characters, or direct the film? Here’s a list of some titles I think would be brilliant on screens.

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ALL OF THE ABOVE (James Dawson, Hot Key Books)

As soon as I put down All of the Above, I wanted to pick it up again. It’s a beautifully messy book, capturing the life of a teenager flawlessly. There’s lots of scenes I imagined so realistically in my head – I’ve never really envisioned a book’s setting so in-depth as I did with All of the Above! There’s potential for lots of beautifully shot scenes in the crazy golf course at night, where Toria and the crowd she falls in with hang out. Polly would totally be played by Cara Delevingne, as Cara has that crazy-awesome personality.

THE NEXT TOGETHER (Lauren James, Walker Books)

I am obsessed with a TV show called Orphan Black at the moment, which is about a woman called Sarah Manning, who finds herself falling into a dangerous spiral of events when she discovers she is a clone. The actress, Tatiana Maslany, portrays lots of different clones and it’s amazing. I was watching Orphan Black around the time I read The Next Together, and my thoughts while reading were often about how riveting a film of this book would be. Not only because the plot is constructed so well, and the different eras would be so cool to stitch together in a movie, but like Orphan Black, the same two actors would be portraying many different versions of themselves. It would be awesome.

ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE (Benjamin Alire Saenz, Simon & Schuster)

Aristotle and Dante is a beautifully written novel. Everything about it is beautifully crafted. Old me would say making this book into a film would be a terrible idea because you’d lose the magic of the writing. But I think seeing it in a different medium could bring a whole new level of magic to it. Also, of course – both of the main characters are LGBT* and Mexican. Name one movie out there with two PoC & LGBT* leading characters… *radio silence*

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES (Sabaa Tahir, HarperVoyager)

This book was one of the most epic fantasties I’ve read in a long time. It was fast-paced, gripping, and didn’t want to be put down for a second. I adored the characters and the writing evoked so much imagery for me. I couldn’t stop imagining the Empire in my head, how it would look and feel. I have a feeling Peter Jackson would be a pretty good choice as director / producer, as he’s fantastic at creating beautifully detailed alternate worlds – he did a stunning job with the world of The Lord of the Rings.

ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE (Gabrielle Zevin, Pan Macmillan)

All These Things I’ve Done is a dystopian novel where chocolate is illegal and the main character is part of a famed family that sells it. It’s so hard to describe (I recommend it to people all the time, but there’s no way to put its brilliance into words!) but it’s gritty, emotional and captivating. Anya Balanchine is one of my all-time favourite protagonists and she would be so cool on a big screen. The setting would be quite interesting to depict in a different medium, too, as it’s 2083 New York with a mafia undertones.

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So, there’s my choices! What would yours be?

Book Review: All of the Above by James Dawson

Published September 2015 by Hot Key Books.

23156540Goodreads Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly…love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

My Review: I’ve been excited about this book for such a long time. I’ve been a fan of James Dawson’s books ever since his first horror novels – to see him delving into another genre is really exciting, and he’s done so excellently!

I adore how Dawson writes his characters, and All of the Above definitely has some of his best. I loved the friendship group the story is centered around so, so much – each character was really unique and although the book wasn’t that long, each character was really well developed and explored. Kudos to James for writing a great story where characters just happen to be queer / PoC, without the story being entirely about that. We need more books like this.

I really loved Toria, she was an incredibly relatable protagonist – from her tumblring to her exam pressure, to her process of figuring life out, she just really resonated with me, so I’m sure she’s going to be well received by other readers. Polly was an awesome character: Strong willed, stubborn and completely wild, she felt like a mash-up of John Green’s Margot and Alaska, though was completely unique.

The romance side of the book is brilliant – Toria falls for the local band’s lead singer, Nico, and for a while things are going great. But Polly, Toria’s best friend, is beginning to mean something else to her. The relationships felt so raw and realistic. I think the ways they progressed was perfect, and beautifully written.

The back of the physical copy of the book says “It would be neater, wouldn’t it, if this was a story about self harm or sexuality or eating disorders or ridiculously hot bass players, but it’s a story about all of them. Yeah, it’s a mess. And it’s about to get messier.” Sidenote: Most fantastic blurb ever. And the fact that ‘it’s a mess’ is the reason this book stands out. So much happens. There are parts that will make you grin from ear to ear. There are parts that hit you really hard, parts that will make you cry. Some elements are wrapped up perfectly at the end. Some things are never resolved. But that’s the best thing about it – it’s not sugar-coated and nothing is perfect. And that’s what makes this book perfect.

Overall, All of the Above was an exceptional book, and I can tell it’s going to be loved and related to by a lot of teenagers. As much as I loved James Dawson’s horror YA, (and would love to read more of the genre from him again) I can tell his ‘phase two’ is going to be awesome. Dawson covers so many topics in this book, and so well, it’s admirable. I really recommend this, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

My Rating:four

I received a copy of All of the Above from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

New Books! #52

As I’m writing this, it’s Sunday night – I normally post book hauls on a Saturday, but I completely forgot I’d taken photos for this post earlier in the week… So, oh well, I’ll mess up the usual blog schedule and post this on a Monday! Why not:)

NewBooksMemeBanner1The most recent books I’ve bought and been sent in the post have been really exciting titles – some I’ve been waiting on for what seems like forever! As there are only a couple of weeks left of the summer before school (*shudders*) I’ve made it my top priority to read all of the ARCs on my tbr… Because I’m sure starting year ten is going to be hectic. I’m hoping to read, review, and schedule lots of things over the remainder of the summer so starting school is less busy!

Purchased:

IMG_0669 Hollow Pike by James Dawson & The Realm of Possibility, Two boys Kissing & Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan: Just before the recent London event with James and David in conversation, I visited Foyles Charing Cross Road and Waterstones Piccadilly’s YA sections to buy the books by them that I didn’t own yet. Between buying it and writing this post, I’ve already read The Realm of Possibility (it was amazing!) and so I’m really hoping to get around to the others very soon. IMG_0670   Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: Although I still haven’t read Anna and The French Kiss, (I know, I know… *hangs head*) I fell in love with Lola and the Boy Next Door, so I preordered the last instalment online! Though it came late (As I think everyone’s Amazon orders did…) I dived straight into it as soon as I got it. I admit I wasn’t as blown away as I was with Lola, but it was still brilliant. After I buy and read Anna, I’m hoping to do a post on all three books.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher & The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski: I’ve seen a lot about both of these titles around the blogosphere, and decided to cave in and use my saved up Waterstones points. 😉

WINGER by Andrew Smith: I have seen even more around the blogosphere about WINGER! I’ve read so, so many stunning reviews, but it was mainly Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary’s review that completely swayed me to rush out and buy a copy at last. I can’t wait to see first-hand why everybody is raving about it. I also didn’t realise it was by author of Grasshopper Jungle, another book I’be read a lot about. If I enjoy this I think I’ll be buying that next!

Received in Post:

IMG_0716  Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: I was interested in this novel right away, just from reading the blurb in an email – and when a copy arrived I was so excited! It’s sounds like it’s going to be a very controversial but poignant and relevant book. Thank you for the copy, MiraINK!

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan & Vivian Versus America by Katie Coyle: If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might have seen me getting very excited over Natasha Ngan’s début, The Elites, around this time last year. you might have also seen my review of Katie Coyle’s previous book, Vivian Versus the Apocalypsetoo (which was a joint-first ever winner of the Hot Key Books Young Writer’s prize). I’ve been really eager to read more from both authors – so a huge thank you, Hot Key Books!

The Hunted by Charlie Higson: I… I can’t even begin to sum up my feelings. This SERIES. Basically…

Yep, that’s pretty much it. I am so nervous and excited and I’ve just started reading it and it honestly was a struggle to put it down to write this post. Review up soon-ish! (Thanks to Ellie at Four Colman Getty, the publicity managers, for the copy)

[Not Pictured] 365 Days of Wonder: Thank you to Random House for this! I’ve already written a blog post on it, which you can view by clicking HERE. (: