Earlier this week The Hollywood Reporter announced that several new shows are planned to stream on Amazon Prime that are inspired by young adult novels. The end game is to target a younger audience.
I have to say I love it. Still, this is nothing new. Books, especially in the YA genre, have been inspiring cinema since the silent-film days, with younger viewers set as the ideal audience. For instance, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables first hit the silver screen in that melodramatic era. Since then, it’s been reinterpreted again and again. Most recently in the Netflix series Anne with an E.
Of course, I can go on and on with an endless list of YA titles transferred to both film and TV. But instead, I’ll just say I’m so glad to see this trend continue. For one thing, it’s a great way to encourage young readers. In my own experience, I can’t count how many times I became hooked by a movie or show and then intrigued when I found out it was based on a book or novel series. I had to read it. Of course, it works the other way too. YA novel fans eagerly scrutinize what they see on the screen to see whether it lives up to what’s found in the pages of their favorite read.
But today’s young readers (and those young at heart who love a good YA novel) are more sophisticated than past generations. It’s no wonder. Life is a lot harder, issues are more complex and challenging. Not to mention the fact that we’re a lot more open as a society and ready to talk about things rather than push them under the rug. The stories we crave reflect all of that.
Kudos to new Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke for recognizing that and delivering to the streaming service. It’s exciting to see how Lauren Oliver’s Panic, Sarah Streicher’s Daredevil’s, and Marja-Lewis Ryan’s 6 Balloons will translate to the small screen.
As a fan of the YA genre, I’m glad to see it evolve and continue to get attention. As a writer hoping to one day publish in the genre, it simply gives me hope that my own work might someday gain a following in both settings.