Book-to-Screen Adaptations

More than ever, books are getting adapted for TV shows and movies and I am loving it! There's been so many this year already and I wanted to do one big post of all the ones I've watched in 2022 alone so far. But I do want to call out that I'm going to specifically talk about the shows/movies where I read the book first. (So I won't review House of the Dragon since I never read the book.) Let's get started!

The Time Traveler's Wife
Available on HBO Max

When I heard HBO was going to adapt The Time Traveler's Wife into a TV series and the cast was going to include Theo James and Rose Leslie, I was so excited. I decided to re-read the book for the first time in 18 years (!) and I'll be honest, it didn't age well for me at all, which did temper my excitement for the show. But I was still super curious to see how it would translate to screen for the second time (I didn't love the movie). And I was so disappointed! From the first episode, I was quite turned off and while Theo and Rose portrayed their individual characters well, I didn't feel any chemistry between them. Plus the things I had issues with in the book became even more glaring on screen and it didn't help that the show made changes which actually leaned into those problems, making it worse. Still, I was committed to watching the entire season no matter what and I did. The first season barely covered the first half of the book and in case you didn't know, it was canceled. I wish they had just made it a mini-series instead of dragging it out. 

Final verdict: Skip it (and the book too). Although if you want to see Theo James in various states of undress, then you may want to watch it just for that. 

A Discovery of Witches
Available on Showtime (directly or via an add-on through Amazon Prime or Hulu)

I talked about the first season a few years ago, watched the second season at the beginning of the year, and now I need to make time for season 3 sometime soon. I enjoyed the first season but I thought the second season really built upon that solid foundation and got even better. This actually mirrors my reading experience, where I progressively liked each book more and more so I have high hopes for season 3 when I get to it. As always, Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode truly inhabit Diana and Matthew and even the supporting cast was in some ways better than I imagined. It's also pretty faithful to the books (from what I remember; it's been a while!) so if that's important to you, then you should be happy to hear that!

Final verdict: Check it out! If you like vampire lore (that's more geared towards adult) and history, this is for you.

The Summer I Turned Pretty
Available on Amazon Prime

This will 100% be on my best shows of 2022 list at the end of the year! Before the show aired, I reread the whole trilogy and it did two things. One, I was reminded of how much I loved these books and two, I realized this is my favorite series from Jenny Han. There's just something about this story that touches me and I always rooted for Belly and Conrad in a way that I didn't necessarily do for Lara Jean and Peter from  To All the Boys I've Love Before (I ship their movie counterparts more so than the book!). Realizing all this made my expectations for the show even higher and I don't know why I'm surprised, but I freaking LOVED the show. It was perfection. I binge-watched the entire thing in the span of 24 hours and completely fell in love with everything about it. It was just the right balance of taking the heart of the book series and making necessary changes to update it for TV and the current times. I loved the heavier focus on the moms as best friends. Lola Tung is a total breakout star as Belly. The chemistry between her and Chris Briney, who played Conrad, was palpable and I felt every second of the tension between them. The music was A+. I mean, I could go on and on. 

Final verdict: Watch it ASAP and read the books. If you haven't seen this show yet, make it a priority to do so! 

Hello Goodbye and Everything in Between
Available on Netflix

This is one of my favorite Jennifer E. Smith books and I meant to do a re-read before the movie was released but unfortunately that didn't happen. At a high level, I remember the basics of the plot but not all the details. In fact, the thing I remember most is how much I ended up crying so when I sat down to watch, I had tissues ready. But I didn't cry at all and I wasn't in love with the adaptation. Don't get me wrong -- it wasn't bad! I just wouldn't describe it as good either. It was just okay, in my humble opinion. I do think the cast was great and I found Jordan Fisher, in particular, incredibly charming. I think what didn't appeal to me anymore was the story itself or how it was portrayed? It makes me wonder if my rating for the book would go down if I re-read it.

Final verdict: Watch if you're in the mood for a quick movie (it's a little less than 1.5 hours) and if you were a fan of the book. 

Along for the Ride
Available on Netflix

I was very surprised, in a good way, by this adaptation! I remember liking the book a lot but I purposely didn't re-read it before watching the movie and I thought they did a great job. Details started coming back to me as I watched and each character was portrayed really well. There's definitely a balancing act with Auden's character specifically, who straddles a line between reserved and socially awkward that could come off condescending. But the actress who played her, Emma Pasarow, gave her a vulnerable edge that worked and made me root for her even more as she slowly discovered who she was and wanted to be over the course of a summer. There was also a focus on friendship that I don't remember from the book but loved in the movie.

Final verdict: Watch it! Especially if you were a fan of the book. I think you'll be really happy with it, even if it doesn't become a new favorite movie.  

Available on HBO Max

I might be in the minority when I say this but I didn't love the book. I liked it and the story was compelling but the author's writing had a detached tone to it that made it hard for me to connect to the characters. When I heard about the show though, I immediately thought I would enjoy it more as a series and I was right. Youn Yuh-jung as Kim Sunja, the main protagonist, gave the story an emotional center that really moved me and gave me the connection I was looking for in the book. What happens to Kim Sunja and her family was beautifully and heartbreakingly told and I truly felt transported as I watched (the cinematography was also gorgeous!). I was invested in almost every character, in a way I didn't feel as I read. 

Final verdict: Highly recommend watching! I'd actually say skip the book and go straight to this. There are more seasons to come and I'm looking forward to it. 


Have you watched any of these adaptations? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


with love,