McPhillips: Read it before you see it | Local

Some readers love to see their favorite characters come to life on the big screen; others have strong feelings about preserving a story on the page and in their imaginations. Love it or hate it, transforming a story from page to screen has been a formula for success for many movie makers. Young adult novels have done particularly well in the past and 2018 promises a few to get excited about.

First up is “The Death Cure.” This is the final installment in James Dashner’s popular series that started with “The Maze Runner.” Readers are lifted right into the action in the series opener, entering a dangerous and terrifying world along with 16-year-old Thomas. He arrives in the Glade unaware of how or why he’s there and is greeted by other boys who arrived the same way. There is a dangerous maze outside the walls of the Glade that they believe is their way out. When a girl arrives after Thomas bearing the news that she’s the last person who will be sent and no more supplies will be coming, the stakes are raised. Kirkus called the series closer “an explosive ending.” Will the movie live up to the book? There’s time to read this fast-paced trilogy before the movie hits theaters in January.

In March, we meet Simon and his friends in the film adaptation of Becky Albertelli’s “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.” When Simon reaches out to another teen online, friendship and fondness develop over the course of many anonymous emails. Simon forgets to log out of his email one day at school and Martin reads the conversations between Simon and “Blue,” discovers something about Simon that no one else knows, and uses it as leverage to get him to set Martin up with Simon’s good friend, Abby. Simon has to make decisions that not only affect him, but Blue, too. And who is “Blue” anyway?

Later that month, step into a virtual world with Wade Watts in “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. Wade’s life is no piece of cake, but he retreats each day in OASIS, a virtual reality that is so much a part of everyday life, it’s what people mean when they refer to the internet. People attend school, have jobs and live out much of their lives in this virtual plane. When the reader is introduced to Wade, the very wealthy creator of OASIS has died and having no heirs, has left this fortune somewhere in the virtual world. Whoever finds it first gets it all, and Wade is determined. He’s not the only one, of course, and as he gets closer, the competition closes in and things get very dangerous for Wade.

Other stories are making the jump to film in the coming year. Watch for Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” Alexandra Bracken’s “The Darkest Minds” and Jennifer Niven’s “All the Bright Places.”

Stop by the library to borrow these novels, or call us at 402-564-7116 to reserve a copy.

Rachelle McPhillips is the readers’ advisor and in charge of young adult services at Columbus Public Library.

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