This weekend’s release of “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” a prequel to the massive hit book and movie series “The Hunger Games,” is a reminder of the not-too-distant past, when adaptations of young adult novels ruled the blockbuster landscape. They’re still a rich territory for adaptation, even if the dystopian teen movies seem to have run their course, but perhaps “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” will usher in a new appetite for that subgenre, which ruled the 2010s.
So while you may be rewatching the “Hunger Games” in preparation for the prequel, here’s a list of some of the other YA movie adaptations of the recent past and where to stream them.
We have to start with “The Hunger Games,” the 2012 film adapted from the Suzanne Collins book, which ushered Jennifer Lawrence into true movie stardom over the course of four films. Set in the distant future, Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, a young woman who competes in the nationally televised event in which teenagers fight to the death. Stream the whole series of films, which includes “The Hunger Games,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts 1 and 2” on Peacock, or rent them on all digital platforms.
But before “The Hunger Games” took over, there were, of course, vampires. Stephenie Meyer’s book “Twilight” transported readers to the Pacific Northwest, where a vampire falls in love with a human girl. The movie adaptation in 2008 made Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson instant movie stars (they’ve since proven to be fascinatingly arty character actors). It is the 15th anniversary of the movie’s release date next week, so ring in the occasion with a rewatch or reread of the book. Stream “Twilight” on Prime Video, Tubi, or rent it elsewhere.
We can’t forget the other dystopian teen movies that “The Hunger Games” begot, including 2014’s “Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James. Based on the book series by Veronica Roth, the story takes place in post-apocalyptic Chicago, where people are strictly divided into factions. While the series fizzled out, the first film did show promise. Stream it on Tubi or rent it elsewhere.
There was also the lively “Maze Runner” series based on the series of books by James Dashner and starring the appealing Dylan O’Brien. These movies are a bit more muscular and action-packed as the post-apocalyptic teens have to escape from a maze while also trying to establish a functioning society. The whole series is quite entertaining, especially the sequel “The Scorch Trials.” Stream “The Maze Runner” (2014) on Max, and rent “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” on all digital platforms. Completists can stream the third film “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” (2018) on Hulu.
But it’s not all dystopia and monsters in young adult lit. There’s also romance, like in the enormously charming “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” the 2018 adaptation of Jenny Han’s book, starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, and streaming on Netflix. There’s also romance among sick teens, a whole subgenre that was kicked off by the success of “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014) starring Woodley and Ansel Elgort, based on the book by John Green. Stream it on Disney+, Hulu or Prime Video. There are social issue films, like “The Hate U Give,” about a young girl growing up in Los Angeles, grappling with the death of her friend in a racially motivated police shooting. Adapted from the YA novel by Angie Thomas, the film stars Amandla Stenberg. Stream it on Tubi or rent it elsewhere. There are also films about sexuality, including the 2018 movie “Love, Simon,” starring Nick Robinson, about a queer teen coming out to his family and friends, based on the book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” by Becky Albertalli, and streaming on Hulu.
Finally, for a bit of stylized period fantasy adventure, check out “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (2016) adapted from the book by Ransom Riggs, directed by Tim Burton and starring Eva Green. Stream it on Disney+ or rent it elsewhere.