The world has a love-hate relationship with young adult (YA) novel adaptations. Films that used to reign over our 2012 Tumblr dashboards are now either timeless favorites (s/o to “Perks of Being a Wallflower”) or just a horrifying memory of prepubescent woes. In today’s vibe check, the infamous Netflix film “The Kissing Booth” is getting mixed reviews with some icing on the top like, “Who asked for a third movie?”
Before you veer away from the YA world again, we’re giving you an ultimatum. In a sea of questionable plots and two-dimensional characters, there are narratives that are still worth your time (and sulking). If you’ve ever forgotten what youthful feelings are like, add these to your watchlist immediately.
“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” (2008)
Dir. Peter Sollett
Ah, to wander around the city and talk about music with someone unexpected (but harmless). One of the most enjoyable mumblecore films to non-mumblecore fans, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” follows bass player Nick and music enthusiast Norah. In one whole night, these two high school seniors pretend to be a couple to ward off people. Come for the remarkably awkward Michael Cera, stay for the soundtrack.
Dir. Rob Reiner
It’s either you love the book or the film, but this has both. With a “you never forget your first love” ethos, “Flipped” tells the story of neighbors Juli and Bryce. Juli has been in love with Bryce for years but he never reciprocated. But when Bryce starts changing his mind, Juli is ready to give up.
“You Are The Apple of My Eye” (2011)
Dir. Giddens Ko
Friendly warning: You’ll get mad at this Taiwanese film for pretending to be that typical push-push romance between the best and most reckless student. It’ll be more than that. Based on the director’s autobiographical novel, “You Are The Apple of My Eye” tells us how Ko Teng and Shen Chia-Yi learn the pains of growing up, growing apart and taking chances.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (2018)
Dir. Desiree Akhavan
A heartwarming story that reminds us of empathy? Absolutely. In 1993, after Cameron is seen with the prom queen, her conservative guardians force her to sign up for a gay conversion therapy center in a remote area. There, she meets fellow residents and pretends to go through the “process” until they’re released.
“The Hate U Give” (2018)
Dir. George Tillman, Jr.
Sixteen-year-old Starr witnesses a police officer shoot her unarmed best friend. Since then, the African-American teenager experiences a fallout, battles through the pressure of society, and stands up for what is right. Not only does the story confront us with harsh truths regarding economic strata—it most especially tells us this: “Violence, brutality. It’s the same story, just a different name.”
“You Are The Apple of My Eye” still from The Hollywood Reporter