17 Books to Read Before They Hit the Screen

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It seems like there are more movies and TV series that are based on books now than ever before. Clearly, it’s an insanely successful formula because some of the most talked about TV shows and movies in recent memory were based on books—think Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, Behind Her Eyes, The Handmaid’s Tale, Game of Thrones, and more. 

I can’t even tell you the number of times that I have seen a new show or movie pop up on a streaming platform, only to learn that it’s based on a book and tell myself that I am not allowed to watch it until I read the book first. I am a strong believer that that’s just the correct order to do things—there’s something about getting the whole experience and being able to compare notes (but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t set myself up for disappointment sometimes).

Luckily for us, there are lots more movies and TV series that are based on books heading our way in the next year and a half or so. Check out these 17 books to read before they hit the screen:

Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, and some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury, pampering, mindfulness, and meditation, they know these 10 days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging those next 10 days are going to be.

Adaptation: Mini series, Hulu
Release Date: Aug. 18, 2021
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy

Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

A modern play on The Breakfast Club, this novel is about five very different teenagers who go into detention together—but one of them ends up dead before it's over. It's a classic who-done-it story that will have you dying to know everyone's secrets and leave you guessing until the very end. And don't forget to check out the sequel when you're done!

Adaptation: TV series, Peacock
Release Date: Oct. 7, 2021

Sara Gay Forden

The House of Gucci

In March 1995, Maurizio Gucci, heir to the fashion dynasty, was murdered on the steps to his office by an unknown gunman. Two years later, Milan’s chief of police arrested Maurizio’s ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani, for murder. Did Patrizia kill her ex-husband because his spending was wildly out of control? Did she do it out of jealousy because he was preparing to marry his mistress? Or is it possible Patrizia didn’t do it at all?

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: Nov. 24, 2021
Starring: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late '60s, sneaking into clubs and sleeping with rock stars. By the time she’s 20, both her voice and her beauty are getting noticed. At the same time, a band called The Six is also gaining fame. A producer then realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together, and what happens next will become the stuff of legend.

Adaptation: Mini series, Amazon Prime
Release Date: Late 2021
Starring: Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse

Sally Thorne

The Hating Game

Lucy and Joshua are not just competitive coworkers in the publishing industry; they literally hate each other. When they’re both up for the same promotion, their passive aggressiveness turns into fierce competition, only for them to discover that they might not actually hate each other after all.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: Late 2021
Starring: Lucy Hale

Patricia Highsmith

Deep Water

Vic and Melinda's loveless marriage is held together only by an arrangement in which, in order to avoid the messiness of divorce, Melinda is allowed to take any number of lovers as long as she does not desert her family. Eventually, Vic can no longer suppress his jealousy and tries to win back his wife by asserting himself through a tall tale of murder―one that soon comes true.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: Jan. 14, 2022
Starring: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Jacob Elordi

Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive

As a teenager at a prestigious school, Ani endured a shocking public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s so close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But there's something else buried in her past that still haunts her and threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

Adaptation: Movie, Netflix
Release Date: Spring 2022
Starring: Mila Kunis, Connie Britton

Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So when a handsome local is found dead, the locals suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. Kya has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life—until the unthinkable happens.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: June 24, 2022
Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones

Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

In 1939 France, Vianne says goodbye to her husband as he leaves to fight the Nazis, and then she is forced to live with the enemy to keep her family alive. Her young and rebellious sister, Isabelle, falls completely in love with a young partisan man, only to be betrayed—leaving her to join the Resistance and risk her life time and time again.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: Dec. 23, 2022
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning

Jessica Goodman

They Wish They Were Us

If you're a fan of thrillers, you need to read this book. Its story arc is much like that of the famous Gone Girl-type books, with the perfect amount of YA teen romance and friendship drama mixed in. It's about a secret society at an elite prep school and the mystery surrounding the murder of the school's most popular girl—AKA everything you could ever want in a YA book.

Adaptation: TV series, HBO Max (renamed "The Player's Table")
Release Date: TBA (2022)
Starring: Halsey, Sydney Sweeney

Bethan Roberts

My Policeman

In 1950s Brighton, Marion meets Tom when he teaches her to swim and quickly falls in love with him. A few years later, Patrick meets Tom. Patrick is besotted and opens Tom's eyes to a glamorous, sophisticated new world of art, travel, and beauty. Tom is their policeman, and in this age, it's safer for him to marry Marion and meet Patrick in secret. The two lovers must share him—until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: TBA (2022)
Starring: Harry Styles, Emma Corrin

Denis Johnson

The Stars at Noon

Set in Nicaragua in 1984, The Stars at Noon is a story of passion, fear, and betrayal told in the voice of an American woman whose mission in Central America is as shadowy as her surroundings. Is she a reporter for an American magazine as she sometimes claims or a contact person for Eyes of Peace? And who is the rough English businessman with whom she becomes involved?

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: TBA (2022)
Starring: Taron Egerton

Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy

If there is any book universe you will want to live in (outside of magic ones because that's just not fair), it's this one. These books really stick with you, and the story is one that can often be revisited—plus, it's written by Jenny Han of the To All the Boys series, so you already know it's good. It's about Belly, a teenager who spends her summers at the beach with her family friends—a set of brothers with whom she becomes entangled in an intense love triangle. You'll change your mind about whose team you're on multiple times, and you'll love the vulnerability of this story.

Adaptation: TV series, Amazon Prime
Release Date: TBA

Tomi Adeyemi

Child of Blood and Bone

An instant New York Times bestseller and a TIME Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time (among many other things), Children of Blood and Bone is widely regarded as one of the best YA books in recent years. The story follows Zélie, a warrior on a mission to restore her home to the way it should be by fighting back against an unjust monarchy and restoring the magic they are trying to eradicate for good. Can't get enough? Don't worry, this book has a sequel.

Adaptation: Movie, Disney
Release Date: TBA

Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half

The Vignes twin sisters grew up in a small, southern Black community and ran away at age 16, only to grow up and live completely opposite lives. One sister lives with her Black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even when separated by so many miles and just as many lies, their fates remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

Adaptation: Limited series, HBO
Release Date: TBA

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising

This story is about a group of four famous siblings who are the children of a legendary singer. They’re known for their annual end-of-summer party, but with each sibling dealing with their own personal struggles, this year's party gets out of control. You’ll get secrets, drama, and everything else you love about Taylor Jenkins Reid novels.

Adaptation: TV series, Hulu
Release Date: TBA

Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal

Sophie Whitehouse has a lovely home, two adorable children, and a handsome, successful husband. In other words, she has the “perfect” life. But everything changes the night her husband James comes home and confesses an indiscretion. Suddenly, her neat, ordered world is turned upside down. Did she ever really know the man she married?

Adaptation: TV series, Netflix
Release Date: TBA
Starring: Sienna Miller

 

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