There’s nothing better to do on a hard day than sink in a comfy chair and read a book that takes you to a different world: a world that isn’t yours, a world that doesn’t bother with your problems, and better yet, a world where your problems do not exist. And when your favorite 300-page novel is summarized into a three-hour movie? Well, debatable.
While the movie vs. book debate is here to stay, there’s one thing for sure: it is almost always beneficial to read the book before jumping into the film. Not only does the book give you knowledge of what to expect, but you’re also able to compare your vision of the characters to that portrayed in the movie.
When the famous author Guinevere Beck walks into the library he works at, Joe Goldberg does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. It’s easy to find her with her public accounts and incessant tweeting. Determined to make her fall in love with him, Joe stalks her relentlessly and controls her life from the moment he first meets her.
YOU is Caroline‘s debut, a riveting tale of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation. The book contains graphic violence and sex and is definitely not YA, as opposed to the show.
The Fault in Our Stars
Despite the medical miracle that gave her an extra few years of life, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, as first described by her diagnosis. But when a girl meets a boy, the plot spins on its axis. Augustus Waters joins Hazel’s Cancer Kid Support Group, and maybe, it’s time to rewrite the stars and their stories.
A heartbreaking tale of terminal love, The Fault In Our Stars has left even the strongest-hearted bawling their eyes out. While the movie covers most aspects of the book, many scenes and characters are dropped because of time constraints, not succeeding in creating the full emotional impact of the novel.
Conversations With Friends
Frances Oliver is a twenty-one-year-old aspiring writer who devotes herself to a life of mind in a relationship with beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. Nick Alwyn is a bored actor who never quite lived up to his potential and is married to Melissa, a journalist who invites Frances and Bobbi into their house. But things start to shift when they forge a strange, unexpected connection with a married couple.
While the series is loved by audiences far and wide, the book emphasizes the characters and provides a better setting than the show.
The Hunger Games
In a shrewd move to keep the districts in line, the cruel nation of Panem forces its civilians to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve to eighteen to compete in The Hunger Games, held annually, a fight to the death on Live TV. When Katness steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games, she’s ready to die. She’s been close to death before, but if she is to live, she must make choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
While the movie establishes a fantastic setting, reading the book allows you to imagine the story’s world before believing the one in the film.
Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice is the tale of Elizabeth Bennett, a country gentleman’s daughter, and her beau Fitzwilliam Darcy, a wealthy aristocratic landowner who, from their first encounter, both possess too much “pride and prejudice.” The story accurately presents the reality of being a woman during the 19th Century and the challenges that a true love match must face through the love story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
While countless adaptations have been made on the film, nary any showcase the arguments of gender inequality and the struggle of discovering oneself Jane writes about. Pro Tip: Pride and Prejudice (2005) has been anonymously voted the best representation of Elizabeth and Darcy’s banter.
Simon is a not-yet-out gay kid who only likes drama when it’s a part of the school musical. But a wrong email correspondence has the power to mess everything up for change-averse Simon. When the secret about his sexual identity is put at risk, he must come out to his friends while keeping his anonymous (and a confusing, adorable) friend’s identity a secret.
The film, titled Love, Simon, is a beautifully cast rom-com that does not portray Simon’s sexuality as a big deal and plays it cutely. The book, albeit a little heavier on emotion than the film, is handsomely detailed and makes for a great read.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stuck in a world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends, sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Charlie is a high schooler caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. While Charlie’s diary entries give no hints of where he lives or even who he writes to, the world he shares feels tangible. A heartbreaking masterpiece, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is more intimate than a diary and wraps around you like a hug.
The film captures every last drop of the plot’s essence. However, in reading the book and Charlie’s letters, the reality of the book feels more accurate and tactile.
The Hating Game
Lucy Hutton has never met a man more coldly efficient, impeccably attired, and physically intimidating than Joshua Templeman, the man she shares an office with. When they’re both set up to fight for the same promotion, Lucy decides to embark on a ruthless game of one-upmanship against Josh. But when an innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy is left contemplating their relationship.
While the movie is almost as good as the novel in this rare case, the film misses some significant emotional moments and Lucy’s fantastic monologues.
A classic case of boy meets boy, Heartstopper is the story of an openly gay high schooler Charlie Spring, who is attracted to his form partner, Nick Nelson, “the straightest guy he’s ever seen.” Despite his friends’ warnings, Charlie leans into the crush, unlocking something in Nick he did not know existed.
The TV series has been edited to feature Alice’s illustrations from the original graphic novel and is strongly built around the plot without removing any important scenes. However, the book is a great short read and features beautiful illustrations, making the show all the more endearing.
Shadow and Bone
When the great nation of Ravka is torn in two by the Shadow Fold, Alina Starkov is the only one who can save them. She swears to take revenge when her regiment is attacked on the Fold, and her best friend is brutally injured and is whisked off to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
While the show is critically acclaimed, the books set a beautiful background. The TV series also makes numerous changes to the original storyline, thus rendering ‘reading the Shadow and Bone books’ inevitable.
NEXT: Best TV Shows Based on Books to Stream on Netflix