Books Before They Become Movies

Read these compelling novels before their films come out!

Spoiler alert: I love books. Mystery, drama, murders, romance – I’m here for it all. So, when one of my favorite books is being made into a movie, I count down the days until it comes out so I can watch and compare (think Harry Potter midnight release party, except for every book ever).

We’ve all heard the expression “Don’t judge a book by its movie,” but what about the other way around? I love judging and appreciating the differences between movies and their books. Will the handsome mysterious neighbor look the same as how I pictured? Will the slightly psychotic female narrator be as compelling, smart, and unpredictable as she was in the book? Will the main plot resolve in the same way? I can’t wait to find out!

Below you’ll find five compelling novels you should read now before you see their movies.

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch is about Theo Decker, a 13-year-old who survives an accident that kills his mother. When a wealthy family takes him in, he clings to a small, beautiful painting of a tiny bird that reminds him of his mom. Fast-forward a few years, and Decker is now an adult, obsessed with the exclusive New York art community. After finishing this riveting tale that explores grief, loss, survival, and love, see the movie starring Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) and Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies), which was released in theaters on Sept. 13!

Photo: Vanity Fair

Photo: Vanity Fair

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

We all read the classic novel Little Women as pre-teen girls, but it’s time to revisit this lovely coming-of-age story once again. This story is about the March sisters – hardworking Meg, passionate Jo, shy Beth, and spoiled Amy – who are raised by their mother while their father is away at war. This heartfelt tale shows the inside details of family life during hardships, and how sisters come together, grow up, and go on life’s greatest adventures together – all while defying society’s expectations of how women should be. The original book was released more than 150 years ago, and has been adapted into several films, TV, stage, and musical productions since then. Its newest adaption will be released on Christmas Day this year, starring Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast), Eliza Scanlen (Sharp Objects), and Meryl Streep (Big Little Lies).

Photo: W Magazine

Photo: W Magazine

The Rhythm Section by Mark Burnell

This exciting action novel is perfect for anyone who craves suspense or has always wished to be a secret agent (haven’t we all?). The Rhythm Section is about Stephanie Patrick, whose family died in a plane crash. Patrick is understandably devastated and turns to drugs and prostitution to cope, until one day she learns that the crash was a terrorist act. Seeking revenge, she joins a covert intelligence organization to fight back! This thriller is being made into a movie starring Blake Lively (A Simple Favor) and Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), set to premiere in January 2020.

Photo: YouTube

Photo: YouTube

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

If you don’t like books in the so-good-you-can’t-stop-reading-even-though-you’re-slightly-terrified genre, then don’t pick up The Woman in the Window. This is a book that iconic thriller author Stephen King dubbed “unputdownable.” So yeah, it’s really good. This novel is about Anna Fox, a recluse who never leaves her home in New York City and spends her days drinking wine, watching TV, and spying on her neighbors. When she sees something happen in the Russells’ house, her world begins to fall apart. She doesn’t know what to do – or what is real. Later, catch the film of the same name, starring Amy Adams (“Sharp Objects”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), and Julianne Moore (“After the Wedding.”)


Sydni Ellis grew up in the great state of Texas, where the iced tea can never be too sweet and everyone does their makeup before going to the grocery store. She has her master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and she loves talking about her passions: writing, shopping and reading murder mysteries. Follow her on Twitter @sydnimellis to see her latest stories on fashion, entertainment, travel, lifestyle, and local events—and to see 500+ pictures of her two blonde babies.