6 Books We’re Waiting For Someone (Reese) to Bring to TV

published May 9, 2022
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Credit: Liz Calka

If you loved “Station Eleven” and “Little Fires Everywhere” and “Big Little Lies”… that’s just the beginning of possible book-to-screen adaptations! Here are a few books that came out in the last few years that someone (ahem, Reese Witherspoon) should make into TV shows.

If you read “Mary Jane”, Jessica Anya Blau’s 2021 novel, you know that Blau has a way with coming-of-age storytelling. “Mary Jane” is the classic “summer that changed everything” narrative that steeps you in nostalgia and feelings a la one of my favorite movies of all time, “Now and Then.” My advice to Reese: get these rights ASAP and find the next Elsie Fisher to star. We need a feel-good, teen-angsty, slightly tear-jerky summer movie. (For what it’s worth, I would also watch an on-screen adaptation of Blau’s earlier work, another great coming-of-age novel called” The Summer of Naked Swim Parties“.)

In Julia Fine’s 2018 novel, a young Maisie has grown up in near-total isolation because of her strange power to kill or resurrect anything she touches. As she enters her teenage years, a mysterious presence in the forest beckons her and… I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s surreal and suspenseful and adventurous and I need it on the big screen. To see Maisie’s power in action, to see her ancestors stories unfold along her own, and to see what happens when you mix mystery and magic — that’s something I’ve been missing from the movies.

I’m surprised that nobody has optioned the title novella of Evans’ collection, because it has so many elements that are working on TV already — it’s slightly dystopian, but grounded in reality that it feels more like a warning than an imagining. In the story, Cassie is a field agent for the “Institute for Public History,” a governmental agency that claims to fight misinformation by sending its employees across the company to correct everything from mislabeled souvenirs to misleading company celebrations. Cassie’s newest assignment, to set the record straight about a decades-old murder, goes from a whodunnit to a thoughtful meditation on the what we seek when we seek the truth. It may be a novella, but there’s enough material there for a TV series — dare I say, one with multiple seasons?

Did you watch “Sex Lives of College Girls” on HBO? I’m not saying “The Other’s Gold” is like that, but I am saying that this beautiful story of four roommates-turned-best friends would make a great television series. The book lends itself quite well to a miniseries, actually: it’s organized into four parts, each revolving around one girl’s life-changing mistake. I’m picturing maybe five hour-long episodes, each from one friend’s perspective, with the finale bringing all of the storylines together. 

The setting: New York City, a woman’s lifestyle website, a millennial suffering from early-onset ennui. The twist: She finds herself pulled into an elite society of superfans, dedicated to cult-like worship of pop star Adriana Argento. And it spirals from there. The TV show would follow the arc of the narrator’s descent into celebrity-fandom-darkness, an obsession that becomes oppressive and dangerous.  I could see this on the CW, easily, but would probably watch it almost anywhere. Sydney Sweeney to star, obviously.

If everyone is watching “Yellowjackets,” then everyone would watch “We Ride Upon Sticks: The TV Series,” because both revolve around a group of fiery, dangerous high schoolers who are pushed into extraordinary circumstances as they chase a sports victory (what soccer is to “Yellowjackets”, lacrosse is to “Sticks”). “We Ride Upon Sticks” is a little witchier than the Showtime series (though… well, we’ll discuss that later) as the team finds that going to the dark side is the key to winning. How dark does it get? You’ll have to read to find out — or petition for the TV series that is begging to be cast. I want the next Christina Ricci to play the determined team captain, Abby Putnam, and maybe Kiernan Shipka to play her co-captain, Jen? I have ideas, Reese. Call me.