I love being able to walk around the fiction section of a library or bookstore, pointing to random shelves while mumbling in sing-song, “Hollywood hasn’t bastardized you yet, my pretty!” At least, until it starts attracting the attention of parents with small children. But then whenever I hear about some studio snatching up the rights to a book that hasn’t even been published yet, I argue that there are so many books already out that would make fantastic films. You can’t win for trying.
Deadline reports not just one but two upcoming young adult novels – is there anything else anymore? – have been acquired by two major studios. Warner Bros. will be making Chris Weitz’s The Young World, while Dreamworks picked up Francesca Haig’s The Fire Sermon. Let’s look at them one by one.
The Young World, which will be published sometime in 2014 by Little Brown, tells the New York-set story of a group of survivors living in a world that experienced some kind of catastrophe that killed anyone younger than 12 years old and older than 21. Obviously, a generation of 12-to-12-year-olds will have trouble coping without the “heat, running water or any of the amenities they’ve grown up with.”
Perhaps even more interesting than that story is that it’s the first novel from writer-director Weitz, who will also be directing. He’s most notable for helming the Nick Hornsby adaptation About a Boy and the Stephanie Meyer adaptation The Twilight Saga: New Moon, one of which made a tad more money than the other. He also adapted Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass for his 2007 movie of the same name. Weitz’s last film was 2011’s familial drama A Better Life. It will be quite interesting to see what his imagination is filled with, given his numerous projects based on other people’s work.
Next up is The Fire Sermon, which Deadline reports won’t even have a U.S. publisher until July 10, as the project attracted its buzz after a heated U.K. auction for the book’s rights. Author Haig is a both a published poet and a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Chester in Cheshire, England.
The story takes place 400 years after a nuclear apocalypse, when technology has ceased to exist. And get this: all humans are twins! Alphas are the perfect twins while Omegas bear some form of mutation, and when one twin dies, so does the other. The mutated siblings are forced into settlements in the same kind of apartheid society that plagues all of these post-apocalyptic YA novels. The narrative focuses on a brother and sister, following what happens when the brother becomes the leader of the repressed society. And while it doesn’t say that he’s a teenager in the description, I’ll have a hard time believing a younger guy is going to lead a bunch of angry mutants to rebellion.
It probably won’t even happen in this book because yes, it will eventually become a trilogy.
Stay tuned for more news on The Young World and The Fire Sermon as we get it.