Who needs original intellectual property when there are literally thousands of compelling books that are worthy of adapting for the big or small screen? The answer: absolutely no one in Hollywood. But as devoted readers, we’re not complaining—not when there’s a steady drip of content this year giving us an excuse to revisit or read, for the first time, books bound for streaming services. Either way, these shows are coming, and you’d best be prepared by grabbing a copy of their corresponding books below before they air.
10 Book-to-Screen Adaptations We Can’t Wait to Watch in 2023
Emily’s Pick #1: Every time I read a Taylor Jenkins Reid book I sink into the couch until I’m bleary-eyed and sighing over the last page. Her page-turning plots and immersive settings make for great TV so it’s no wonder that all of her books seem to be making their way to the big screen this year! The one I’m most excited about is ONE TRUE LOVES, which tells the story of Emma, who finally begins to put her life back together and fall in love again after her fiancé has disappeared only to have to make an impossible choice once, against all odds, he returns. With an incredible cast that includes Phillipa Soo and Simu Liu I’m beyond excited to watch this film and see their acting skills take off with such a heartbreaking plot.
Emily’s Pick #2: Okay, I don’t know how this slipped by me, but a film for ARISTOTLE AND DANTE has been made already and it premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. This adorable romantic coming-of-age story about two Mexican American boys growing up in El Paso, Texas, felt epic in its proportion, and when I read it I was obsessed with wanting to see their meet-cute brought to life on the screen. I was so happy to find a trailer that seems to capture the book almost exactly as I’d envisioned it. Here’s hoping some distributor picks up this film so that we can all finally watch this fantastic story come to life.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common, but as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.
Molly’s Pick: THE NIGHTINGALE is a gorgeous novel by Kristin Hannah about two sisters who resist the German occupation of France during World War II, each in her own way. My favorite WWII historical fiction novels are those that focus on the role of women in the French resistance, and this is one of the best in the genre. It’s vivid, dramatic, and full of heart: perfect source material for a film adaptation. Real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning have signed on to star and I couldn’t be more thrilled about this casting choice—they haven’t been on-screen together since 2001! I can’t wait to see how they transform this incredible story.
Andie’s Pick #1: Out of all the books-to-screen adaptations coming out this year, The Last Thing He Told Me TV show is at the top of my list. This suspenseful novel by Laura Dave was one I read in one sitting, so having to wait every week for a new episode to release for the miniseries is going to be torturous! I love a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick turned Hello Sunshine Productions project and I know they’ll pull out all the stops. There are so many twists and turns in this story and the shocking revelations just keep going—perfect for the small screen!
The plot: Hannah, along with her husband Owen’s daughter, Bailey, searches for the truth surrounding Owen’s disappearance.
The star-studded cast: Jennifer Garner as Hannah, Angourie Rice as Bailey, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Owen. Yes, yes, and yes! I highly recommend reading this thriller before checking out the miniseries coming to Apple TV+ soon.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BLOCKBUSTER * REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK * SOON TO BE AN APPLE TV+ LIMITED SERIES STARRING JENNIFER GARNER * MORE THAN 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD
The “page-turning, exhilarating” (PopSugar) and “heartfelt thriller” (Real Simple) about a woman who thinks she’s found the love of her life—until he disappears.
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a “page-turning, exhilarating, and unforgettable” (PopSugar) suspense novel.
Andie’s Pick #2: Rock ’n’ roll, baby! The Daisy Jones & the Six miniseries cannot come soon enough. I watched the trailer probably five times in a row when it was released. The cast, the music, the costumes, the atmosphere: this show is everything fans of the book have been dreaming of. I’m really excited to see how they’ll adapt the interview-style storytelling into the series. This style is one of the reasons I loved the book so much. Filled with emotion and heart, you can’t help but feel compelled to learn more about this ensemble of characters. For the non-groupies: Daisy Jones & The Six follows the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up decades later. The curtain rises for Daisy Jones & the Six on Amazon Prime Video March 3.
Chris’s Pick #1: Elizabeth Macneal’s haunting historical fiction tale has the perfect setting and premise priming it for a stellar adaptation upcoming on Paramount+. Set in London during the 1850s, just as Hyde Park is preparing the Great Exhibition, we are introduced to Iris Whittle, a painter of miniature faces who is eager to be accepted as a real artist. Luckily, she meets Louis Frost, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and makes a deal: she will pose for him if he provides art lessons. A partnership and budding romance occur, leaving Iris in a state of ecstasy. But, unbeknownst to her, she’s become the apple of another’s eye. Silas, an obsessive taxidermist, has become fixated on Iris since the most brief of encounters and has spent his time pursuing her in the hope of attaining her for himself. I’m sure this dramatic gothic tale will keep me on the edge of my seat when I inevitably watch it on the screen.
The #1 international bestseller and The New York Times Editor’s Choice
“As lush as the novels of Kate Morton and Diane Setterfield, as exciting as The Alienist and Iain Pears’ An Instance of the Fingerpost, this exquisite literary thriller will intrigue book clubs and rivet fans of historical fiction.” —A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“A lush, evocative Gothic.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This terrifically exciting novel will jolt, thrill, and bewitch readers.” —Booklist, starred review
Obsession is an art.
In this “sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art, and obsession” (Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train), a beautiful young woman aspires to be an artist, while a man’s dark obsession may destroy her world forever.
Obsession is an art.
In 1850s London, the Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and, among the crowd watching the dazzling spectacle, two people meet by happenstance. For Iris, an arrestingly attractive aspiring artist, it is a brief and forgettable moment. But for Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by all things strange and beautiful, the meeting marks a new beginning.
When Iris is asked to model for Pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly, her world begins to expand beyond her wildest dreams—but she has no idea that evil is waiting in the shadows. Silas has only thought of one thing since that chance meeting, and his obsession is darkening by the day.
“A lush, evocative Gothic” (The New York Times Book Review) that is “a perfect blend of froth and substance” (The Washington Post), The Doll Factory will haunt you long after you finish it and is perfect for fans of The Alienist, Drood, and Fingersmith.
Chris’s Pick #2: Soon to be an Apple TV+ series, DEAR EDWARD is Ann Napolitano’s masterpiece on confronting pain and grief and channeling it into a life worth living. The sole survivor of a plane bound for California, twelve-year-old Edward is grateful to be alive but can’t stop thinking about that part of himself that’s been left in the sky. Also aboard the flight were his parents, his brother, and a whole host of characters that impact readers despite their short time with us. They include a Wall Street financier, a war veteran, a young pregnant woman, and a soon-to-be divorcée. The story captures what it’s like to lose those you care about, yes, but it focuses more on how a young boy must wrestle with some of life’s biggest questions in an effort to find closure from this horrific event.
Chris’s Pick #3: Currently in development as a Hulu show set to air this year, BLACK CAKE is a beautiful journey and I couldn’t help but imagine how it would translate into a show. Following the death of their mother, Eleanor, her two children, Byron and Benny, are stunned to find themselves in a lawyer’s office looking at their only inheritance: a black cake made from a family recipe and voice recording. Upon listening to the message, the siblings learn the truth their mother had been hiding all those years—one that involves a tantalizing murder mystery. While the siblings no longer share any type of meaningful relationship, both can’t help but be captivated by the story of a young bride escaping an unnamed island in the ’60s following the suspicious death of her gangster husband. It turns out everything they thought they knew about their mother was a fabrication. Alternating between the past and present day, readers learn the full heartbreaking story of Eleanor and how she hoped to use her death to bring her children together once more.
Sharon’s Pick: Like so many others, I was enraptured by “Cat Person” when it was first published. The story brilliantly captures the curiosity and uncertainty that accompanies modern dating, and I am intrigued to see how this story translates onto the big screen.
I encourage anyone who is a fan of this story to read “Cat Person” and Other Stories, Kristen Roupenian’s short-story collection. Similar to “Cat Person,” the stories in this collection examine the most universal and raw human experiences with unflinching detail. I still constantly think about “Look at Your Game, Girl”, which centers on a twelve-year-old girl who receives a Walkman from a fan of Charles Manson in the park and must decide whether or not to return it to him.
FEATURING A BRAND NEW STORY
“What’s special about ‘Cat Person,’ and the rest of the stories in You Know You Want This, is the author’s expert control of language, character, story—her ability to write stories that feel told, and yet so unpretentious and accessible that we think they must be true.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Kristen Roupenian isn’t just an uncannily great writer, she also knows things about the human psyche—things that I always supposed I would learn at some point, but never did…The world has made a lot more sense since reading this book.” —Miranda July, New York Times bestselling author
“If you think you know what this collection will be like, you’re wrong. These stories are sharp and perverse, dark and bizarre, unrelenting and utterly bananas. I love them so, so much.” —Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award Finalist and author of Her Body and Other Parties
A compulsively readable collection of short stories that explore the complex—and often darkly funny—connections between gender, sex, and power across genres.
Previously published as You Know You Want This, “Cat Person” and Other Stories brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker.
Spanning a range of genres and topics—from the mundane to the murderous and supernatural—these are stories about sex and punishment, guilt and anger, the pleasure and terror of inflicting and experiencing pain. These stories fascinate and repel, revolt and arouse, scare and delight in equal measure. And, as a collection, they point a finger at you, daring you to feel uncomfortable—or worse, understood—as if to say, “You want this, right? You know you want this.”
Heather’s Pick: Amazon Prime’s The Summer I Turned Pretty TV show had a lot to live up to, because its source material, Jenny Han’s trilogy of novels by the same name, is a perfect YA romance series. Luckily, Han is also the creator of the show, and the first season turned out to be downright magical, giving fans everything we love about the books (like the Conrad/Belly/Jeremiah love triangle) and more (like richer stories for all the other characters in Belly’s orbit). So, as I patiently wait for the second season of this excellent coming-of-age TV series, I’ll be rereading IT’S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU (book 2 in the series) and trying to predict which scenes will make it onto the screen next. Just as it does in the books, Isabel “Belly” Conklin’s story reminds you that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart, and I cannot wait for more of this adaptation.
Now an Original Series on Prime Video!
Belly finds out what comes after falling in love in this follow-up to The Summer I Turned Pretty from the New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (now a major motion picture!), Jenny Han.
It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come. But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started—at Cousins Beach.
Photo credit: iStock / tataks