Could ‘Paper Towns’ Launch Wave of Contemporary Teen Movies?

paper townsWe all remember the classics…you know, like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything, Some Kind of Wonderful, etc. These are some of the most popular teen romance flicks of the 80s…but for some reason, the desire to make such films as good as these has dwindled monumentally since he 80s.

In the 90s, we had such films as Ten Things I Hate About You, Clueless, She’s All That, Never a Been Kissed, among others. While some of those were good movies, they still never reached the same mood as those from a decade before.

In the 2000s, we were given Mean Girls, The Girl Next Door, John Tucker Must Die, Juno, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Why is it that movies like these are few and far between these days? Has the need for teen romances dwindled or is the audience determining that action films like Avengers and Transformers are better suited for the modern movie goer?

I, for one, would love to see a resurgence of contemporary teen movies in the mainstream media. We’ve been given the amazing adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2012 and will be seeing The Fault in Our Stars in June, but we need more! Why are production companies only buying up and making The Hunger Games and Divergent instead of contemporary love stories? Easy….money. Companies are willing to buy into a potential franchise for more money in the long run, but not dishing out for a slow burning indie or smaller budget contemporary one off much like those from thirty years ago.

With the announcement of Paper Towns moving forward with pre-production due to the buzz surrounding the release of The Fault in our Stars, it makes me hope there is a resurgence of this genre of films. The team behind TFiOS are even coming back almost in full to produce and write Paper Towns, showing their support for this type of movie plus their faith in the fans of John Green.

I can only hope that through the making of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, even Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (currently in post-production), more contemporary books will be eyed for adaptation for the big screen. Even if on a small budget or by an independent company.

I’ve compiled a list of contemporary books I loved and think would be a great success on the big screen. Read below to see each book and why I think movie goers would want to see it!

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1. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Seriously. In similar vein to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, this band book has roadies, music, small towns, dank venues, and is set in the Pacific Northwest. You can’t go wrong.

2. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This is one of those books that has been in the pipeline for a while now. It is one of those stories that strikes a chord and, with the right main guy character, could become classic status.

3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Speaking of classic status, this book could bring back what it means to be an 80s teen movie. With its setting and characters that are easy to fall in love with, toss in some mixtape and it’ll be a blast from he past. This book shatters the norm giving two main characters not widely discussed in movies and literature, one is a lit-loving curvy redheaded girl and the other a music obsessed Korean boy.

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4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
We’ve already established that music works in films for teens. Sarah Dessen is one of the most widely recognized YA contemporary authors and could seriously pull in a crowd to the theaters with this one!

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
It’s Stephanie Perkins. Done. One of the reasons I think ANNA would work so well on screen over LOLA is the travel aspect. As fantastic as ANNA is, adding the local of Paris is what sets it above the rest. It’s the “City of Love and Lights” for goodness sake!

6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This book is hard to describe. It’s so complex and takes you somewhere that most books scrape the surface of. It’s a poignant, emotional book that readers around the world have adored.

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7. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
British boy. American girl. Travel to England. Full of everything you want in a love story.

8. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Another travel book that blew me away. I am a sufferer of wanderlust and will read any book involving travel. Plus this one is full of Shakespeare and guys with accents.

9. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
One thing seriously lacking in theaters is LGBT love stories. And who better than David Levithan to help this take off? Boy Meets Boy has spoken to thousands of teens and readers everywhere, helping those who were afraid of speaking out and finding their voice.

What contemporary books would you
like to see become films?

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Jeremy West

Head Designer at Red Creative
Jeremy is the managing editor for Novel Thoughts and head designer for Red Creative Design. To pay the bills, he currently works at a children's publishing house in NYC and spends his spare time setting up photoshoots, going to book events, and pretending he is a chef at home.
  • http://www.themodernlibrarian.com The Modern Librarian

    Great list! I can’t wait for Paper Towns, one of my all time favorite books. I’d also add Winger by Andrew Smith to the list.

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