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17 Books You’re Going to Want to Read Before You See the Movies

Editor’s Note: Babble and Disney Book Group are both a part of The Walt Disney Company. Babble also participates in affiliate commission programs, including with Amazon, which means that we receive a share of revenue from purchases you make from the links on this page. 

Books are truly wonderful things. Each time we crack one open, we dive in and immerse ourselves fully in fantastical stories, untangling mysteries and discovering new worlds. What could possibly be better than that? I’ll tell you what: Watching those words on the page come to life onscreen.

Book adaptations have been coming to the big and small screens almost faster than we can can get our hands on a paperback. But trust us, these page-turners are worth a read before you head to the movies or turn on Netflix to watch their stories play out.

Image Source: Disney Book Group

1. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Harris Dickinson
Release Date: August 2018

Ruby’s whole world changed the morning of her 10th birthday, when she woke up and realized something about her was different. Her parents noticed it, too — and locked her in the garage before calling police. After then being carted off to a brutal government “rehabilitation camp,” she manages to survive a mysterious disease that kills most of America’s children, but leaves her with uncontrollable, frightening abilities. Trust me, you and your teen won’t want to miss this action-packed book — or the movie that just hit theaters.

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A copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.
Image Source: Dial Press

2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Starring: Lily James, Jessica Brown Findlay, Matthew Goode
Release Date: August 2018

Juliet is a writer looking for her next subject when a letter from a stranger arrives not long after the end of World War II. He’s a member of a book club on the small island of Guernsey, which she quickly decides she absolutely must visit. When she does, her world is never the same. Told in a series of letters, the book has charmed millions as the main character’s friendship with the islanders and research into her next story encourage her to live the life she really wants — and find the love she deserves.

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A cover of 'Crazy Rich Asians' by Kevin Kwan
Image Source: Anchor Books

3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Starring: Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, and Henry Golding
Release Date: August 15, 2018

The mega-hit first book of Kwan’s internationally bestselling trilogy is now the rom-com we didn’t know we needed in our lives. Even before it hit theaters this month, the movie was making headlines for being the first major Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast in 25 years. The story centers around New Yorker Rachel Chu, who heads to Singapore for the first time to meet her boyfriend’s family. There’s just one thing he forgot to mention: His family’s rich — like, crazy rich — and this is going to be one helluva family getaway.

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A cover of The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters
Image Source: Riverhead Books

4. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Starring: Josh Dylan, Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson
Release Date: August 31, 2018

Stephen King himself called this book “terrifying,” and once you begin reading, you’ll understand why. It’s 1947, and Dr. Faraday has been asked to visit a patient at Hundreds Hall, a manor that has lost the glory he recalls from the last time he saw it 30 years ago. Could a house actually hate the family who lives there? And can the doctor help a patient while surrounded by eerie secrets? Part mystery, part historical fiction, part horror, this one is bound to give you chills.

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A cover of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Image Source: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, John Corbett
Release Date: August 17, 2018

The 16-year-old in all of us will spontaneously combust over this one. The drama begins when the secret love letters Lara Jean has been writing to her crushes for years — and safely hiding in a hatbox — are suddenly mailed off to each and every one of them. (Gah!) Will she handle it better than we would? Probably. Do we need to see exactly what happens when the shy, private teen gets her innermost thoughts thrust out into the world? Absolutely.

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A book cover of The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Image Source: Puffin Books

6. The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

Starring: Jack Black and Cate Blanchett
Release Date: September 21, 2018

Both kids and adults have been charmed by this book full of fun visuals, action, and suspense. Wacky neighbors are the witches in charge of a magical house that gets more than it expected when a young orphan who doesn’t realize that he, too, has powers moves in. With Jack Black and Cate Blanchett starring in its film adaptation, how could this possibly not be a great story?

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A cover of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Image Source: Puffin Books

7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Starring: Lea Thompson, Ian Bohen, Lucas Grabeel
Release Date: September 28, 2018

Our favorite classic novel about sisters is coming to the big screen once more in a modern retelling — but if you haven’t read the original, you must. The story revolves around sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, who are all growing up in uncertain times. With their father off at war and their mother working hard to support the family, they must learn to rely on each other, despite their many differences. (Hint: Read it with tissues.)

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The cover of 'First Man' by James R. Hansen
Image Source: Simon & Schuster

8. First Man by James Hansen

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke
Release Date: October 12, 2018

When we think of Neil Armstrong as the first man to walk on the moon, we tend to focus on the moon in that story, purely because it’s incredible to imagine touching something so far away. But this book focuses on the man — the one who had 38 years of life before ever getting on that space shuttle. In those years, he was a son, friend, engineer, soldier, husband, and father, all before becoming an astronaut. If you’re into biographies, pick this one up for an in-depth look at the life that led to one of the most iconic moments in U.S. and world history.

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The cover of the book 'The Hate You Give'
Image Source: Balzer + Bray

9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, K.J. Apa, Anthony Mackie, Regina Hall, Issa Rae
Release Date: October 19, 2018

Starr is only 16 when she witnesses her lifelong friend being killed by a police officer during a suspicious traffic stop. When the murder makes national headlines, she has to decide what she wants to say about it and to whom, all while straddling her two worlds. One is the fancy private school she attends during the day in a mostly-white suburban town, and the other is the mostly-black community she returns home to, filled with people whose choices are never easy. As she plucks the threads that tie her to her friends, family, and community, she begins to find her voice. Hearing it is absolutely worth the wait.

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The cover of 'Boy Erased'
Image Source: Riverhead Books

10. Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton
Release Date: November 2, 2018

When author Gerrard Conley was just 19, he was outed as gay to his deeply religious parents in a moment that rocked his family. This moving memoir tells the story of that experience and all that followed after, as he was forced to choose between losing his family and his faith, or going through a conversion therapy to “cure” him. In the process, Conley examines his heart, inspiring readers as they follow his journey toward embracing his true self. (If you watch the trailer, prepare to get a little teary.)

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A cover of How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Image Source: Random House Books for Young Readers

11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch
Release Date: November 9, 2018 (as The Grinch)

Okay, so this one isn’t exactly an adult novel, but it’s a timeless classic your kiddo will love (and you’ll enjoy reading over again). By now, we all know the story: A cranky, crabby Grinch is sick and tired of living at the edge of a town that simply looooooves Christmas, so he tries to take it away from them. The upcoming animated feature, The Grinch, has fun with the holiday classic, as we watch him try to execute his plan, only to see his heart grow instead.

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A Girl in the Spider's Web book cover
Image Source: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard

12. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

Starring: Claire Foy, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks
Release Date: November 9, 2018

A brilliant hacker is asked to help a journalist with a tendency to only take on the most dangerous of assignments. Together, they dive deep to get the information they both want (for different reasons), despite the fact that someone is willing to kill to prevent that from happening. This cyber villain-filled spy story will keep your pulse racing until the very end.

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The book cover of Dumplin'
Image Source: Balzer + Bray

13. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Starring: Danielle Macdonald, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Benward
Release Date: 2018

Willowdean (AKA Dumplin’) is flawed and wonderful; the kind of teenager who introduces herself as “the fat girl” so she can own the label before someone else tries to use it against her. In an act of rebellion against her ex-beauty queen mom, Dumplin’ enters The Miss Clover City beauty pageant along with a smattering of other unlikely entrants, hoping it helps boost her confidence while showing her small-minded town that everyone has something to offer. Consider your heart stolen.

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Image Source: Candlewick Press

14. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Starring: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Mads Mikkelsen
Release Date: March 1, 2019 as Chaos Walking

How do you escape a world where everyone can hear each other’s thought at all times? In this dystopian thriller, Todd needs to figure this out as quickly as possible, for he’s the only boy left in a (mentally loud) town full of men who are hiding something from him. On the run with his faithful dog (whose thoughts he can also hear), he discovers that “the Noise germ” did not kill every female it reached, like he had been told. Now he needs to figure out how the quiet girl survived and how many lies the adults fed him before those on his tail catch up.

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Image Source: Back Bay Books

15. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Starring: Judy Greer, Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Emma Nelson
Release Date: March 22, 2019

The darling of book clubs everywhere, Where’d You Go Bernadette is the story of a quirky genius named — you guessed it — Bernadette, who causes strong reactions in everyone she meets (sometimes good, sometimes not-so-good). She disappears just before it’s time to have a family vacation, and it is up to her 15-year-old daughter Bee to piece together the puzzle that her anxious mom left behind to find her. The heartwarming, compulsively readable book is coming to theaters with a strong female cast that fans are already excited about.

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Image Source: Random House Children’s Books

16. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Starring: Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton, and Gbenga Akinnagbe
Release Date: May 17, 2019

When Natasha and David first meet on a New York City street, she’s a girl trying to prevent her family from getting deported to Jamaica and he’s a boy wondering why he always has to be such a rule-follower. In a single day, they take us with them as they tangle with hope, fear, passion, family ties, and love. If it’s anything like the book, the movie version is going to make you want to hug it when it’s over.

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Image Source: Knopf Books for Young Readers

17. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Starring: Elle Fanning and Justice Smith
Release Date: 2019

If you enjoy reading love stories that grab your heart until it explodes — forcing you to tell everyone you know that they need to read it, too — then you need to snag a copy of this one ASAP. It tells the story of two teens, Theodore and Violet, who find one another on a rooftop at the exact moment they need each other the most. (As for why, I’ll let you discover that one for yourself.)

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