This year in Minneapolis it feels like we skipped spring and barrelled ahead into summer. Taking a fun, fast-paced young adult (YA) novel to the lakes and reading in the sun is one of my favorite Minneapolis activities. But summer is also the season of epic Midwest thunderstorms, so it can also be fun to retreat indoors to a movie or bingeable TV show.
Here are some recent YA novels and their complimentary on-screen pairings for all your indoor/outdoor entertainment needs. (Straight book-to-film adaptations not included, because where’s the fun in that?)
1. Book: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
Movie: Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Twinkle Mehra wants two things in life: to become a film director, and to climb a few social rungs so she’s in the orbit of her eternal crush, Neil Roy. When Neil’s (much dorkier) twin brother, Sahil, offers to help Twinkle produce a film for the school arts festival, Twinkle jumps at the chance to show off her talent and possibly get closer to Neil. But as she gets to know Sahil better, she is forced to rethink her master plan. Written in the form of a diary addressed to Twinkle’s favorite female directors, this cute and clever novel showcases a believably flawed protagonist and a romance to root for.
In From Twinkle, With Love, one of Twinkle’s favorite directors is her fellow Indian-American, Mira Nair. In Nair’s film Monsoon Wedding, an extended family returns to India from all over the world for a large, expensive arranged wedding. Full of drama, intrigue, and pre-wedding chaos, Monsoon Wedding is a classic!
2. Book: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Movie: Black Panther (2018)
Seventeen-year-old Zélie is a divîner, one who is born with the ability to perform gods-given magic. When their magic fully manifests, divîners can become maji—but that was before the king of Orïsha ordered an anti-magic raid that killed Zélie’s mother. Adeyemi’s debut novel follows Zélie on her dangerous journey to restore magic to the kingdom. Accompanied by her brother Tzain and runaway princess Amari, Zélie must outrun the crown prince Inan, who’s determined to stop the return of a magic society that would restore power to people like Zélie. Epic, sexy, powerful, and full of great world-building detail, don’t miss the start of this addictive new series.
While COBAB is more fantasy-driven than Marvel’s recent blockbuster, it similarly features a sprawling nation drawn from African history and culture, a rich mythological backdrop, and powerful characters struggling to make things right in a messed-up world. Anyone who enjoyed the fresh feeling and epic storytelling of Black Panther will probably love COBAB, and vice versa.
3. Book: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Jordan Sun is a Chinese-American junior at elite arts-focused boarding school. As a theater student on scholarship, Jordan feels extra pressure to prove herself, but her low singing voice keeps her from landing traditional female roles. Desperate to change her luck, Jordan notices an open call for a tenor in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s top all-boy a Capella group. Jordan is determined to find a place at school, even if it means months of deception and possibly extreme consequences. But life as Julian—her male alter ego—is freeing in a way Jordan never expected. As narrator, Jordan unpacks the complicated interplay between her class, gender and friendships, making for a more-nuanced-than-usual take on the boarding school novel. Fun and feisty!
Though it’s a little emotionally deeper than both of these films, the plot of Noteworthy is a perfect mixture of college a Capella flick Pitch Perfect and high school rom-com She’s the Man. Pitch Perfect showcases the world of competitive a Capella with catchy songs and raunchy humor. It features a similar “new kid in town” story, following Beca as she reluctantly joins an a Capella group and comes to love it. She’s the Man–based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night–follows a girl determined to play soccer, despite the fact that her school’s team was disbanded. Taking advantage of her troublesome twin brother’s absence, Viola heads to boarding school in his stead so she can play the game she loves. Antics and romance ensue.
4. Book: Invictus by Ryan Graudin
TV show: Doctor Who (2005-present)
Illegal time traveler Farway Gaius McCarthy was literally born outside of time: he was born during transit between ancient Rome and the 24th century. Now 17 years old, he and his crew are on their latest heist when a young woman foils their plan and demands a place on the team. With the mysterious and determined Eliot on board, Far and his shipmates are pulled into a literal race against time that could change—or even erase—their past, present and future. While the novel at first appears to be the story of one exceptional boy, much of the action is carried out by the awesome female crew: Imogen, Eliot and Priya. A meld of historical fiction, sci-fi and heist story rolled into one thrilling tale.
The dizzying paradoxes, loving friendships and witty banter between the crew of the Invictus match the vibe of long-running TV show and cult classic Doctor Who. A quirky alien known only as “The Doctor” travels through time and space, usually with a wayward Earthling or two along for the ride as trusted companions. Equal parts goofy and exciting, with a solid emotional core, just like Graudin’s novel.
We hope you enjoy these pairings, and remember you can visit us any time for more suggestions from our booksellers!