Library Blog

The Movie was Just as Good

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Sometimes, the answer to the eternal question isn’t so clear.  Sometimes, the movie is as good as (or, very rarely, better than) the book.  It’s not often, but it does happen.  And for a brief moment, readers and non-readers alike are in harmony as they discuss the movie with smiles on their faces.  Voices are raised in excitement rather than anger, and everyone holds hands as they skip to go get ice cream.  

Okay, so maybe it’s not quite that harmonious, but good movie adaptations do happen.  To prove this point, we’ll do this just like last time.  We’ll compare ratings on Goodreads and IMDB, with IMDB’s traditional 10-star rating being cut in half to match Goodreads’ five-star rating.  And we’ll look at movies that have a rating within half a point of the book.  Let’s get started! 

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan/Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) 


Goodreads: 3.7 

IMDB: 3.3 

The book tells the story of Nick & Norah in alternating points of view over the course of one night.  Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for a few minutes after seeing his ex, and their whirlwind night begins.  Even though the movie changed a few key details, those changes were received well by audiences, and the movie has developed a small but devoted following much like the book.  The cast was as much to do with this as anything, as fan favorites Michael Cera and Kat Dennings played the title roles. 

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews/Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (2015) 


Goodreads: 3.55 

IMDB: 3.85 

Greg & Earl are friends, and they spend their days making bad parodies of movies.  One day, Greg’s mom tells him his childhood friend Rachel has leukemia, and he has to go see her.  What follows is a sweet story of friendship as Greg, Earl, and Rachel set out to make Rachel the star of a truly horrible movie.  Reviews of both the book and movie are peppered with words like “quirky” and “real,” which definitely add to the appeal of YA adaptations.  Add a strong supporting cast to the mix, and you end up with a movie that fares slightly better than its source material.  

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli/Love, Simon (2018) 


Goodreads: 4.23 

IMDB: 3.8 

Simon isn’t ready to come out to his friends and family, but he has been sending secret emails to another gay teen at his school.  When those emails are discovered by another student, Simon is blackmailed – help this kid date Simon’s friend or have the emails made public.  While the movie changed some major plot points, the emotional roller coaster from the books was still there.  That, combined with some on-point casting, helped keep fans of the book happy enough to enjoy the movie.   

And there you have it.  YA books getting an adaptation isn’t always bad news.  In fact, things go well often enough that readers still get excited to hear about upcoming movies and shows being made from their favorite titles.  Don’t worry, though – readers most likely aren’t going to be 100% happy with the adaptation, so we will definitely find something that didn’t fit what we had in mind.  And that’s okay. 

Happy reading & viewing! 


Sarah is a youth services librarian in Canfield. She pretty much only reads YA books, but she is easily distracted by a good picture book or anything Doctor Who related. Sarah loves to crochet and knit and can usually be found with a pile of yarn in her lap with one of her three dogs nearby. Originally from Texas, she still says “y’all” all the time and refuses to call carbonated beverages “pop.”