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The 25 Worst Movies Based on YA Novels

The 25 Worst Movies Based on YA Novels September 10, 2019Leave a comment

You love to read them and hate to watch them when they're made into movies. Some are surprises, some you probably haven't heard of, and some you know too well. Here's our list of the worst movies that are based on young adult novels.

Ender's Game

The Verge

Ender's Game tells the story of a young teen that gets recruited by a military group to fight against bad aliens. The book is pretty beloved for sci-fi teens but the movie just doesn't hold up for some reason. The cast is star studded but it just feels so long and boring. We guess sometimes reading is more thrilling than watching a movie adaptation.

Beautiful Creatures

NY Times

After Twilight hit it big with the paranormal love affair involving teenagers, many other similar styled young adult books tried to make their break on the silver screen and Beautiful Creatures is one of them. A girl falls for a southern boy but her family is cursed. There's not any vampires but there's demons and witches, but unfortunately, still not a good plot or movie.

The Giver

Stanford Daily

The Giver is one of the most beloved young adult books of all time but unfortunately the movie is another that does not translate. It is a dystopian story about a boy that has to feel and learn everything so everyone else doesn't have to. Even with Meryl Street and Jeff Bridges starring in the film it is still boring and the story isn't as fun to watch as it is to read.

City of Ember


City of Ember is another dystopian story that follows a girl who lives in, you guessed it, a city of ember but their lights are fading and she's determined to figure it out. It's definitely an easily forgettable movie, fortunately there are many other great Bill Murray and Saoirse Ronan moves you can watch on Netflix instead.

Ready Player One


Ready Player One was a fun book that combines nostalgia of your favorite fandoms with a cute coming of age story but the movie just falls flat. Directed by Steven Spielberg so it is very pretty and epic to look at but the epic-ness kind of loses the heart of the story.

Mortal Engines


Mortal Engines is another post-apocalyptic story that follows a girl living in a world where all cities are on wheels. Although the screenplay was partially written by Lord of the Rings creator, Peter Jackson, this movie just doesn't have the same quality. It was barely in theaters before it disappeared to the land of VOD.


Rolling Stone

After the Hunger Games series was such a big hit Hollywood wanted to give another dystopian female-lead action book series a shot at the silver screen. Unfortunately, although they did make two out of the three books movies they cancelled the third just because they weren't as successful as they though they were going to be.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones


The Mortal Instruments is another series of sci-fi, kicking butt books. When her mom goes missing, a girl named Clary finds out she's part of a line of demon-fighting warriors. The books are fun and action-packed but the movie just doesn't have that same electricity.

I Am Number Four

Empire Online

Alex Pettyfer unfortunately was the lead in a few of these young adult movie adaptations and one of this is I Am Number Four. Aliens and their guardians are hiding on earth from bad guys but they can only be killed in their numerical order and this is Number Four's story. Who knew movies about aliens wanting to kill each other starring pretty teens can could be so boring?


The Nominations Girl

Eragon is a great and well-known book for young adults that follows a farmer boy that finds a dragon's egg which leads him on a whole new journey. It is part of the Inheritance Cycle series. Unfortunately, it is another one of those books that they only made the first one because the movie didn't meet expectations.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant


Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant is another book in a series, this one called the Vampire Blood series. It could be after the Twilight hype Hollywood tried to dive into as many young adult sci-fi series' as possible and this one also involved vampires so they had to do it. This movie was a huge flop though. Many argued that John C. Reilly playing the lead vampire was a little weird and the story just didn't translate as they wanted to.

The Host

Empire Online

The Host was a movie based off of Stephanie Meyer's other book, Meyer, is famous for penning the Twilight trilogy. The Host was supposed to be her "adult" book but let's be honest it was catered to the Twilight crowd that got older. It tells the story of a girl who gets taken over by an alien parasite but the end up forming a friendship. It flopped at the box office.



Inkheart tells the story of a man who can bring characters to life from books. He accidentally releases a villain and his daughter has to stop him. Both the movie and book are pretty similar to the early 90's movie Pagemaster and that could possibly be why it flopped.


Slant Magazine

Beastly is a modern take on Beauty and the Beast based on the novel with the same name. It stars Vanesssa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer and just isn't as good as the original Beauty and the Beast story. Maybe because it was missing the music? Or maybe the story and acting overall wasn't quite there yet.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader


For the most part, the Chronicles of Narnia movies aren't that bad, the first one is very solid, but the final one is not. It focuses on the younger siblings and their journey on a ship with Prince Caspian. I think once you don't have Aslan, the lion, anymore it just doesn't come off as good.

Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker


Alex Rider is like a kid's version of Mission Impossible. It's based off of the Alex Rider book series, which started being written in 2000 and now has over 10 books in the series. While the series is standing strong and a constant success the book was an immediate flop.

The Duff


The DUFF is based of the novel with the same name. DUFF stands for designated ugly fat friend and that should tell you why the movie was panned. Mae Whitman plays the duff and fortunately she is very pretty and not a "duff" in our opinion. Teens seem to enjoy the book though.

The Indian in the Cupboard


One could say this movie was one of the first young adult adaptations, The Indian in the Cupboard was made into a movie in 1995. Some fantasy books should stay books, the clunky acting and vaguely racist remarks toward the tiny Native American just didn't work on screen.

The 5th Wave

The Verge

The 5th Wave is a wildly successful book series among young adults so fans were excited once they heard it was being adapted. It follows a girl trying to save her younger brother after an alien attack. It's an action-packed alien sci-fi story, or at least the book is. The movie leaves out all the thrill and is kind of dud.

Everything, Everything


Everything, Everything tells the story of a girl who is essentially a "bubble girl" because of a special illness. She ends up falling for the boy next door. The movie doesn't hold up because maybe we realize how messed up the twist is: because her mom she has Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Vampire Academy

Los Angeles Daily News

Vampire Academy is a super cheesy but fun young adult book about a vampire school. Hot off the heels of Twilight, vampire young adult novels were a big craze. Unfortunately this book didn't translate as well to the silver screen box office success-wise as Twilight did.

The Seeker: Dark is Rising

TV guide

The Seeker is actually based off the second book of the Dark is Rising five book series from Susan Cooper. Possibly because they didn't start with the first one, but the movie was a bust. A boy finds out he is a special warrior on his 14th birthday and has to fight against the dark, sounds fun but just doesn't hold up on screen.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Plugged In

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a great and heartbreaking book that tells the story of a friendship between two boys during the Holocaust. One boy is imprisoned and the other is living the life of luxury. They meet everyday by a part of the fence to talk and play. Apparently the author wrote the novel in two and a half days, it's short but memorable. Unfortunately the heartbreak and sincerity of the novel doesn't appear much in the movie.

The Golden Compass


The Golden Compass was apart of the His Dark Materials trilogy written by Phillip Pullman. It was a more controversial version of the Chronicles of Narnia. The books are dark and questions religions and God as a whole. The movies decided to not involve any of that and just give the boring story without the dark themes. The lackluster Golden Compass explains why they didn't continue with the trilogy in movie form.

The Twilight Saga


Of course we are going to add Twilight, you guys knew that was coming. The entire franchise is so cheesy and the acting is stiff and uncomfortable, but boy did we all watch them. Though they broke box office records, the movies were panned by critics and just don't hold up to the cheesy YA romance in the books.