As SheReads’ resident thriller and adaptation contributor, it’s no surprise that I love a movie or television series version of a book. Some of my favorite books were turned into my favorite movies, and some of my favorite movies led me to finding some of my favorite books! From the incredible actors and actresses to brilliant directors with a vision to the perfect storyteller to write a script that brings the film to life, it truly takes a village to make a successful adaptation. From classics that you may not know are based on books to hot new releases streaming on Netflix, here are twenty of my favorite book adaptations!

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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Based on the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

A young girl named Dorothy and her dog Toto find themselves swept away from their home in Kansas and end up in the magical land of Oz, where she meets three new friends that must help her get home while trying to escape an evil witch.

Psycho (1960)

Based on the novel Psycho by Robert Bloch

When Marion Crane is on the run from the police, she checks into the Bates Motel and becomes the object of obsession from a lonely man, Norman Bates, who owns the hotel.

Here’s our favorite TV/movie adaptations for thriller lovers>>

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Based on the novel The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

In a quiet New England town, three women unaware of the power they hold discuss their desires and characteristics for the perfect man right before a mysterious stranger moves into town with his eyes set on each one of them.

The War of the Roses (1989)

Based on the novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler

After a blissful eighteen years of marriage begins to fall apart, a wealthy couple’s divorce becomes intense, as material items such as their beautiful home become the catalyst in a shocking battle between husband and wife.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Based on the novel The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

A young FBI cadet named Clarice Starling must work with an incarcerated and cunning psychiatrist known as Dr. Hannibal Lecter (or Hannibal the Cannibal) to help hunt down a sadistic serial killer known as Buffalo Bill who is hunting women.

Here are the best horror movie and scary book pairings>>

Interview With the Vampire (1994)

Based on the novel Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

A reporter from San Francisco interviews a man named Louis de Pointe du Lac who claims he is a vampire. Beginning in 1791 in New Orleans, Louis reveals the details of how he became a vampire up until present time.

American Psycho (2000)

Based on the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Patrick Bateman is an educated and successful investment banker who works on Wall Street by day—but at night is a ruthless serial killer who hunts the streets of New York City in the 1980s.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Based on the novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

On his eleventh birthday, a young orphan named Harry Potter discovers his parents were two of the most powerful wizards who had magical powers, and he himself is also a wizard about to embark on a journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Mean Girls (2004)

Based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman

Loosely based on a self-help book, Mean Girls is about a young teenager named Cady Heron who enters public school for the first time and is immediately drawn into an unfamiliar world of female social cliques when she meets the popular trio known as The Plastics.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Based on the story Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Ennis and Jack are two cowboys hired to work together as ranch hands who develop a secret and encompassing relationship that follows them throughout several years of their lives.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Based on the novel The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

A recent college graduate and aspiring journalist gets an unexpected job as an assistant to the one and only Miranda Priestly, a cold and challenging editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.

The Social Network (2010)

Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich

In the early 2000s at Harvard University, a young college student named Mark Zuckerberg would ultimately partner with a friend to introduce the world to the social media platform known as Facebook. This is the story of how it all began.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Based on the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A disgraced journalist teams up with a young genius hacker after he’s hired by a man from one of the wealthiest families in Sweden to investigate the 40 year-old disappearance of his niece.

The Help (2011)

Based on the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett

In the 1960s, an aspiring writer forms a secret and unlikely friendship with two Black maids in hopes to write a book telling the world what life is like from the perspectives of the maids during the Civil Rights movement.

Gone Girl (2014)

Based on the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A husband finds himself as the main suspect when his wife unexpectedly goes missing on their wedding anniversary in a story that goes back and forth between his perspective, beginning with the day she goes missing, and her diary entries, detailing how their relationship began.

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright

An unhappy art gallery owner receives a mysterious manuscript written by her ex-husband that bears similarities between his work of fiction and their relationship, causing her to revisit the past.

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Based on the novel Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

In 1980’s Italy, an intense romance begins between an adolescent boy named Elio and the American graduate student, Oliver, who is staying with Elios’ family over the course of a summer that will forever change both of them.

Love, Simon (2018)

Based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

A coming-of-age story about a closeted gay teen who forms an unexpected online friendship with another closeted gay student who is anonymously known as Blue.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Based on the novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean’s life is about to take an unexpected turn when five secret love letters she’s written, one for each boy she’s ever loved, are mailed out to the boys she never wanted to read them.

You (2018)

Based on the novels You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

A bookstore manage becomes obsessed with an aspiring writer after their paths cross and begins stalking her, using social media and the internet to try and infiltrate his way into her life.

Check out these books to read after you binge You on Netflix>>

Cruel Intentions (1999)

Based on the novel Dangerous Liasons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
In a modernized retelling of the French novel, Kathryn bets her stepbrother, Sebastian, that he won’t be able to bed the wholesome Annette, who is looking for true love. If Sebastian loses, he gets to sleep with Kathryn.

Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Based on the novel  Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane

Two private detectives in Boston investigate the mysterious disappearance of a little girl. Upon investigating, they find a slew of suspects amid a media frenzy. 

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Based on the novel I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
One year after an accident that they believe resulted in a mans death, four friends begin to receive threatening messages and find themselves being stalked by a hook-wielding killer.

Lost Girls (2020)

Based on the book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

A woman will stop at nothing in forcing the police to help her search for her missing daughter. As she investigates, she finds there could be a connection between her daughter’s disappearance and unsolved murders of young sex workers in Long Island.

The Shining (1980)

Based on the novel The Shining by Stephen King
A man brings his wife and young son to an isolated hotel in Colorado where he has just taken a job as the winter caretaker hoping he can write his novel. As the family stays in the desolate hotel, the young son begins to have disturbing visions and the father finds that the hotel has a dark history. 

Room (2015) 

Based on the novel  Room by Emma Donohue
A young woman and her five-year old son finally find freedom after being held captive in a room for years, letting the child experience the world outside of the room for the very first time. 

Will Trent (2023)

Will Trent is one of my favorite characters in crime fiction and the new series airing on ABC is a great adaptation that shows how important it is to have people who feel the passion within these books and can showcase that on screen. The series follows Will Trent, who is a GBI special agent with the highest clearance rate in the GBI and his colleagues as they solve some of the most brutal crimes in Atlanta.

American Psycho (2000)

While the book was quite controversial when it was released, Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho is a story that sensationally combines satire with horror and psychological thriller aspects in a story that will leave you shocked. The film not only features Christian Bale portraying Patrick Bateman flawlessly, but truly captivates the dark comedy, satire, and spine-tingling horror that is within this book. Between the heavy hitting cast, the brilliance in the screenplay, and the contrast between glossy perfection and terrifying chills, this is one you won’t want to miss out on. Patrick Bateman is a successful, young, and handsome Wall Street worker by day and a ruthless serial killer by night, haunting New York City in the 1980s.

Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Part coming-of-age, part murder mystery, Where the Crawdads Sing is a film that perfectly captures the essence of the novel through a strong screenplay, brilliant performances, and a song by Taylor Swift of course! Kya was abandoned as a young girl and forced to raise herself in the marshlands of North Carolina. Rumors of Kya ensured that she would be shunned from the community, until she opens up to two men from town. When one of them is found dead, Kya is the main suspect that results in a trial that could expose all of her secrets.

A Simple Favor (2018)

Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick? Sign me up. This dynamic duo handles the mystery and comedic aspects of this novel perfectly on screen. Kendrick plays a mommy blogger who launches her own investigation when the mysterious and glamours Emily – played by Blake Lively – goes missing. I loved the way these two actresses handled their characters in this adaptation and thought this was such an entertaining watch that perfectly blended together a dark comedy with a thrilling mystery.

A Time to Kill (1996)

Samuel. L. Jackson. That is all you need to know about this one. Jackson gives a stunning performance in this adaptation about a man who shoots the racist men responsible for his young daughters rape as they are on their way to trial. Matthew McConaughey plays Jackson’s lawyer in this legal thriller that deals with racism in the south that is as equally heartbreaking as it is terrifying. Rounding out this amazing cast also has performances by Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, Sanda Bullock, and Ashley Judd.

Here are all the 2021 book to screen adaptations to check out>>