Hollywood skimps on originality, and this year is no different, with a long list of book adaptations coming up. Here are 11 books to read (or pretend to have read) to figure out if it’s worth seeing the movie as well.
The Spook’s Apprentice (The Seventh Son)
Author: Joseph Delaney
Tom is a 12-year-old who was born and raised on a farm in The County. He's a seventh son of a seventh son, which enables him to see boggarts, ghosts and ghouls. Mischief arises when he becomes the apprentice of a Spook and goes on adventures. This adventure-meets-magic movie is a perfect midterm hell-week distraction, but reader beware – this is the first book in The Wardstone Chronicles series, which means if you read one, you’ll read them all.
Release Date: February 6, 2015
Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E.L. James
I couldn’t not include. For your sanity and mine, if you’re going to do something this Valentine's Day, I’d rather you read the book. Not because it’s good, but just to appreciate the fact that Lifetime didn’t pick up the movie first (Flowers in the Attic, anyone?) Just don’t read it in Norbucks ... and don’t be the guy who goes to the theater for that movie, please.
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Author: Veronica Roth
This is the second book in the Divergent trilogy, and the second movie in the series that will make no sense to you unless you read the book. Roth is a Northwestern alum (and wrote for NBN), so that itself is enough reason to go see it. The story follows Tris as she struggles to survive in a dystopian world where factions based on personality traits rule over blood. Now factionless, Tris and her friends have to learn how to destroy the system once and for all.
Release date: March 20, 2015
Author: Ron Rash
In depression-era South Carolina, George and Serena are newlyweds struggling to maintain George’s timber empire. When George discovers that Serena cannot have children, his life spirals into a complicated mess. More notably, this movie stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper – the book-to-movie adaptation dream team. If you read Silver Linings Playbook after the movie, you’d know not to make the same mistake twice with this duo. This comes out on iTunes and On Demand on February 26th, but since we all know how unreliable (read: awful) Northwestern wifi can be, you have an extra month until the film hits theaters to read the book.
Release Date: March 27, 2015
The Longest Ride
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Let's be honest, the books are usually better than the movies with this author. Plus, you have all of spring break to sob through the novel without being seen.
Release Date: April 10, 2015
Author: Gillian Flynn
When Libby Day was seven years old, her mother and two sisters were murdered in a Satanic cult ritual. Libby, as the sole survivor, testifies in court that it was her teenage brother. Twenty-five years later, a group of amateur investigators meet with Libby. They hope to show that her brother is innocent. As they search for the truth, she finds herself running from the killer once again. Who knows how long you have to read this one, since there isn't an actual release date, but I'd got on it fast ... we all know how Gone Girl went.
Release Date: mid- to late 2015
Author: John Green
Cara Delevingne (of 2012’s Anna Karenina) is playing Margo, which is reason enough to see the movie. John Green wrote the book, which is reason enough to read it first. Nuances will be lost on you completely unless you read this first. The story follows the mystery of Margo Roth Spiegelman, Quentin Jacobsen’s next-door neighbor and childhood crush. When Margo asks Quentin to join her in her latest revenge scheme in the middle of the night, he doesn’t hesitate to follow – and finds that he’s gotten way over his head. When day breaks and Margo disappears, Quentin must follow her clues or lose her forever. The movie comes out in the middle of finals week, which makes it a perfect break for your post-Dillo brain.
Release Date: June 5, 2015
Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark has it all, except she's never left her small village. Desperate for a job, she begins working for Will Traynor, spender extraordinaire – and now that he’s wheelchair bound, he may not be able to live that way for long. Louisa is determined to show him that life is worth living. This is another sappy summer novel you can fit under your desk during that mind-numbing internship or in your purse for those long, please-no-awkward-eye-contact "L" rides.
Release Date: August 21, 2015
The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
This is the second book in TheMaze Runner series, so I’d recommend reading that first. Caution: if you haven’t read TheMaze Runner, stop reading here. The Scorch Trial starts with Thomas discovering the world outside the Maze, and realizing his whole life was a lie – the world is infected with the Flare, and not everyone is immune. Thomas and Theresa must try their hardest to save their friends and themselves, while entering a whole new maze: the Scorch. Since the movie comes out right before school starts, it’s a perfect summer-break series to read. Plus, the trilogy is complete, so you don’t have to wait endlessly for a new one to come out.
Release date: September 18, 2015
Author: Mary Shelley
Everyone who had to read Frankenstein in high school, or people who somehow avoided it – pick it up and read it again, or this one will just be another movie starring Harry Potter and the Time I Tried Serious Acting. Again.
Release Date: October 2, 2015
Author: Suzanne Collins
The second part of this movie cannot come soon enough. This end to the Hunger Games series has been salvaged by an incredible director, so you can only appreciate what brilliancy he's done for the movie if you’ve read the book first. Otherwise you’re missing out on the movie magic. Norris tends to do early screenings for this series, so I’d recommend snagging a ticket ASAP — you’ll get spoiler bragging rights for at least three days.
Release Date: November 20, 2015