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Announcing The YA Adaptation Showdown

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

It’s been a phenomenal few years for YA book-to-movie adaptations. Even in looking at the ultimate list of YA movie adaptations, it’s clear that we’re still in the golden age of adaptations. Netflix adaptations like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and big-screen titles like The Hate U Give are highlighting the wide-ranging depths and powers within YA literature.

It is awesome to be a YA lover right now.

Truth be told, though: it’s always been awesome to be a YA fan. It’s a secret those of us who are part of the YA world know, and it’s a secret that more and more people are discovering. YA books have something for every single type of reader, and those who don’t get it or who choose to be negative about this incredible category of books are missing out.

So, this one’s for all of the YA fans out there.

It’s time for a showdown of YA movie adaptations, as determined by mega fans of YA literature.

Join us at Book Riot for the incredible YA Adaptation Showdown, a week-long event to take place right here on site from December 17 through December 21. That’s five days of talking about the best parts and the less-than-best parts of a handful of YA adaptations that you may be familiar with and that might be new to you.

For four days, guest judges will make selections from a single bracket of two YA adaptations, having read both the book and viewed the adaptation, that highlight the “best.” What’s the “best?” That determination is up to our highly skilled, highly savvy, and passionate-about-YA-literature judges.

What about that final day of the event?

That’s where you come in!

The final day of the YA Adaptation Showdown will be dedicated to everyone who reads YA literature and wants to have their voice heard. From now until December 10—that’s a little over one month—you are invited to share your favorite YA adaptation from the titles within the brackets. You can go about this however you choose. If you want to pick from memory, feel free. If you’d like to challenge yourself to read and view all of the titles in this month? You’re a champ. What matters is this: you throw your voice into the ring and tell us what your pick is and why.

To take part: the form below will be open and available through December 10. All you need to do is fill it out when you’re ready. And never fear—you’ll see reminders all month long, both on social media, on the “Hey YA” podcast, and in the “What’s Up in YA?” newsletter. Feel free to go as in-depth as you’d like or simply select your favorite and leave it at that. December 21, we’ll share the Viewers’ Choice pick and a selection of responses from those who choose to leave them.

So, who are the guest judges, you ask? There are three rounds of judges for the brackets:

Round One Judges for the YA Adaptation Showdown

Ana Grilo

Ana Grilo is a Brazilian who moved to the UK because of the weather. No, seriously. She works with translations in RL and hopes one day The Book Smugglers will be her day job. When she’s not at The Book Smugglers, or hogging our Twitter feed, she can be found blogging over at Kirkus with Thea or podcasting with Renay at Fangirl Happy Hour.

Francina Simone

Francina Simone lives in Boise with her husband, sons, and cat. When she isn’t filming and uploading videos to her Youtube channel, she spends most of her time battling children and litter boxes. But when things are quiet—you can hear her frantically typing away; her mind far away with her characters in their quest to make the right decisions in worlds brimming with romance, moral ambiguity, and often times, a touch of magic. For her, reading is the gateway to the worlds we hold deep within, and every story is just a piece of us yet to be discovered.

Mark Oshiro

Mark Oshiro is the Hugo-nominated writer of the online Mark Does Stuff universe (Mark Reads and Mark Watches), where he analyzes book and TV series. He was the nonfiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction! and the co-editor of Speculative Fiction 2015, and is the President of the Con or Bust Board of Directors. When not writing/recording reviews or editing, Oshiro engages in social activism online and offline. Anger is a Gift is his debut YA contemporary fiction novel.

Nita Tyndall

Nita Tyndall is a tiny southern queer who loves writing as much as they love sweet tea. They have very strong opinions about the best kind of barbecue (hint: it’s vinegar-based). They were a resident at the Lambda Literary Emerging Writers’ Retreat in 2017, where they studied with Malinda Lo. They are currently pursuing their second bachelor’s in German, and live in North Carolina with their partner and pets.

They can be found moderating the popular LGBTQIA+ YA website YA Pride, and blogging for Barnes & Noble’s YA blog, B&N Teens.

Round Two Judges for The YA ADaptation Showdown

Dana L. Davis

Dana L. Davis is an author and actress who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her debut novel, Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now, was nominated for YALSA’s 2019 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. Her second novel, The Voice in my Head, is set to release May 28th, 2019, from InkYard Press (formerly HarlequinTEEN). She has starred in Heroes, Prom Night, Franklin & Bash, and 10 Things I Hate About You. Dana is a classically trained violist and the founder of the Los Angeles–based nonprofit Culture for Kids LA, which provides inner-city children with free tickets and transportation to attend performing-arts shows around LA County. She currently stars in the following animated series: Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Craig of the Creek, and She-Ra.

Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo is the author of several acclaimed books for young adults, including I Believe in a Thing Called Love and The Way You Make Me Feel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and cat, Maeby.

Round Three Judge for the YA Adaptation Showdown

Nina LaCour

Nina LaCour is the Michael L. Printz Award winning author of We Are Okay, Hold Still, Everything Leads to You, and The Disenchantments. She is also the co-author, with David Levithan, of You Know Me Well. A life-long lover of books and storytelling, she is on the faculty of Hamline University’s MFAC program and runs The Slow Novel Lab, an online novel writing course. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wife and daughter. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @nina_lacour or at

And now to release the official brackets!

To make these selections, a lot of hard science happened. These needed to be readily-accessible books and adaptations, meaning that all of the films were released outside of the theater before September 1. This immediately eliminated a powerful contender, but it also means that that title will be an option for future iterations of YA Adaptation Showdowns (convenient!).

Brackets were paired by loose themes within the stories, as to make initial decisions easier and later decisions more difficult. This will become more apparent when the event plays out in December.

Three sets of brackets were created, which will be winnowed down as titles move forward. Round one judges each choose among two titles and advance two titles each (taking the total number of titles from eight down to four). Round two judges select one title from the two given in their bracket (taking the total number of titles from four down to two). The final round three judge will select one title from the two passed on.

Obviously, you’ll only see the eight titles in contention below, as sorted into their first brackets. How it plays out will come during the event in December.

YA Adaptation Showdown Brackets

Bracket One: The Book Thief vs. Persepolis (aka “what makes a story a YA story?” bracket)

Bracket Two: Everything, Everything vs. The Fault In Our Stars (aka grab the tissues)

Bracket Three: Twilight vs. Beautiful Creatures (aka creature features)

Bracket Four: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before vs. Love, Simon (aka all the heart eyes).

This Is Where You  Vote!

Big introduction settled and eight films listed for the event, now you get to weigh in! Find below an easy-to-use Google Form for you to take part in. The eight titles above are the only ones in the bracket, but because I know there are so many other great adaptations, I’m leaving space for you to share those, too. Keep your selections to the same criteria: movies that came out before September 1. 

Form is open through December 10.

The Fun Begins DEcember 17. Be ready!