Best TV Series Based On YA Novels You Can Watch Right Now

It’s no secret that books are often adapted into movies, but once in a while a novel is released with so much material that it has the potential to become a TV series. Many books have become shows like You by Caroline Kepnes A series of unfortunate events by Lemony Snicket and The stewardess by Chris Bohjalian, but YA content has particularly lent itself to the small screen with various channels and streaming services showing numerous programs based on a handful of books for young adults.

Opting for a TV series rather than a movie helps tell the story in more detail. Instead of cutting many chunks of the story to fill a two-hour time slot, a series would grant tiny features to make the adaptation successful. Plus, it might allow the story to continue, stretching further than the book originally intended. Surely more YA novels will hit our TV screens, with a possible Harry Potter upcoming series on HBO Max, a upcoming Amazon Prime series based on The summer when I became pretty by Jenny Han — the same author who wrote the To all the boys trilogy — and Netflix’s Next Gay YA Heart stroke series. While we wait to see the release of all three, and other possible shows, here are some of the best TV series based on YA novels you can watch right now.

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7 Pretty little Liars


yashow_pretty little liars
free form

Pretty little Liars was written as a book series by Sara Shepard in 2006. With over 20 books, readers can follow the endless and chilling adventures of Aria, Emily, Hannah and Spencer, a group of high school friends whose friendship falls apart after their best friend Alison goes missing. The series was made into an ABC Family TV show that ran for seven seasons and spawned two spinoffs: Ravenswood and The perfectionistsalthough both were short-lived. Pretty little Liars is available to stream on HBO Max and despite previous failed attempts, the franchise is embarking on yet another spin-off titled Pretty Little Liars: Original Sinwhich will also be available on the platform.

6 Gossip Girl


yashow_gossip girl
HBO Max

Blake Lively and Leighton Meester defined a generation of teenage girls when Gossip Girl premiered on The CW in 2007. Although teens were eager to engage in the outrageous teenage world of Serena van der Woodsen, the show was called highly inappropriate by some adults, with the The Boston Herald called it “every parent’s nightmare.” Gossip Girl struck a chord with viewers, leading the show to even win its own holiday: Gossip Girl Day on January 26. The book series was written by Cecily von Ziegesar and consisted of over ten books as well as a second series titled The Carlyles. The original show is currently streaming on HBO Max, as is its spin-off of the same name, which debuted in 2021.


5 looking for alaska


yashow_looking for alaska
Hulu

John Green’s novels are no strangers to adaptation, with paper towns, let it snow and, of course, the biggest teen romantic sensation of 2014, Blame it on our stars, returning it to the silver screen. Her 2005 novel, looking for alaska, was picked up for a limited series on Hulu in 2019. With eight episodes, the coming-of-age story tells the story of Miles, a boarder who goes looking for a “big maybe.” After the death of a friend of his named Alaska, he and others go to investigate. The book drew controversy for its profanity and explicit scenes, but it still won numerous awards, including a Michael L. Printz Award, given to the best YA novel written each year.

4 13 reasons why


yashow_thirteen reasons why
netflix

One of the most infamous teen dramas ever to air is 13 reasons why, which began as a book by Jay Asher. The Netflix original, while popular, was widely criticized for its graphic content and sensitive subject matter. Still, the book was a bestseller, its recognition only growing once the streaming service brought it into the limelight.

Related: Here are some of the best TV shows about being a teenager

3 one of us is lying


yashow_one of us is lying
peacock

one of us is lying by Karen M. McManus is the type of YA novel that can easily be found in a Google search, due to its high popularity and being on the New York Times bestseller list for 129 weeks. It also won Entertainment Weekly and Buzzfeed Young Adult Book of the Year awards. The multi-perspective mystery follows Addy, Bronwyn, Cooper and Nate after the inexplicable death of their classmate Simon, which only the four were there to witness. The hour-long series of episodes is currently airing on Peacock, with a season two having recently been announced. Since the book series has a sequel, One of us is nextit’s likely that the upcoming season will follow the same narrative.

2 Love, Victor


yashow_love winner
Hulu

Simon against the Homo Sapiens agenda by Becky Albertalli has been adapted into Love, Simon starring Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, and Jennifer Garner, a film that premiered in 2018. From there, Hulu picked up the story for a spin-off called Love, Victor, which centers around a new character named Victor, who, like Simon, navigates the world of high school, while adjusting to his new surroundings and struggling with his sexual orientation. While Robinson has only appeared twice on the show, he serves as the series’ narrator.


1 little pretty things


yashow_tiny pretty things
netflix

Netflix has recovered little pretty things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra and all ten episodes were released in 2020. The drama, described by Goodreads as “Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars,” follows an exclusive ballet school in Chicago, focusing on students, teachers, and everything the world in between. The show scored 53% on Rotten Tomatoes and 3.7/5 on Goodreads.


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