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1. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
What it’s about: Over the course of a Labor Day weekend in the late ’80s, 13-year-old Henry and his depressed mother Adele’s lives change when they harbor fugitive Frank Chambers at home. Frank fills a fatherless void for Henry and brings out life in Adele, all while the police are on the hunt for the escaped murderer. It’s a deeply moving read with unpredictable twists, and Kate Winslet is bound to shine as Adele in the film.
Release date: Jan. 31, 2014
Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin
2. The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter
What it’s about: Based on a true WWII story, museum curators, art historians, and others, collectively called the Monuments Men, risked their lives to save pieces of art that the Nazis planned to destroy. This book is a fascinating story about a rare WWII topic and shows how important it is to cherish artwork. As for the movie, the film features a kick-ass cast and it will be exciting to see everything unfold on the big screen.
Release date: Feb. 7, 2014
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray
3. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
What it’s about: Orphan and mechanic Peter Lake attempts to rob a Manhattan mansion only to find Beverly Penn, the daughter who resides in the home Peter believed to be empty. Thus begins the love affair between a middle-aged Irishman and a fatally ill young woman in a magical New York City. If you’re looking for a novel laced with fantasy and romance, this is a good place to start. Hopefully Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay do the characters justice!
Release date: Feb. 14, 2014 (Click here to watch the trailer)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe
4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
What it’s about: St. Vladimir’s Academy is a school for dhampirs, vampire-human hybrids who serve as guardians, and Moroi, “good” vampires with an ability to use magic from one of the four elements (water, fire, air, and earth). Vampire princess Lissa Dragomir and dhampir Rose Hathaway are best friends, connected through a special bond that they can’t quite explain. After escaping school for two years, the girls are brought back to the academy and are faced with Lissa’s mystery element (or lack thereof?) and the danger it brings. The series is six books long, but definitely worth it, and the movie was created by the directors of Mean Girls.
Release date: Feb. 14, 2014
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Sarah Hyland
5. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
What it’s about: Four people come together on New Year’s Eve on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination known as the last stop for those who are ready to end their lives. The story is told from four distinct points of view, filled with second chances and regrets. Despite its somber topic, the book balances the provocative and the hilarious, and mixes in intense and moving moments. This just screams indie flick.
Release date: March 7, 2014 (U.K.)
Starring: Aaron Paul, Rosamund Pike, Imogen Poots, Pierce Brosnan
6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
What it’s about: In a dystopian Chicago, society is split into five factions based on personality type (Dauntless, Amity, Erudite, Abnegation, and Candor). When Tris Prior finds out she doesn’t quite fit into any one faction, she’s declared Divergent, a dangerous revelation she must keep secret in order to survive. Once the Choosing Ceremony begins, Tris must decide to either join her family or follow her own path. The book is completely captivating and will keep you up at all hours of the night until you finish. All of the initiation scenes should translate great in film and the fear simulations will be even more exciting to see.
Release date: March 21, 2014
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet
7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
What it’s about: A tumor-shrinking medical miracle bought Hazel a few years of time, but she’s a terminal time bomb, suffering from stage IV cancer. At a support group for her illness, she meets fellow cancer survivor Augustus Waters, a boy who pretends to smoke cigarrettes and has a prosthetic leg. With a shared obsession for the novel An Imperial Affliction and a similar sense of sarcasm, the two fall in love, despite their inevitable fate. John Green’s story is honest and hilarious, exposing the fear, anger, and sadness that accompanies a terminal illness. It’s an emotional read, and it’s bound to be a heartrending two hours at the movie theater.
Release date: June 6, 2014
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort
8. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
What it’s about: When tragedy pushes Hassan and his family out of India, they eat their way around the world, settling in Lumière, a small town in the French Alps. The family opens an Indian restaurant that becomes wildly popular among the residents, infuriating their French rival Madame Mallory. After she wages a culinary war with the family, Mallory finally agrees to mentor Hassan, leading him to Paris and the launch of his own restaurant. The novel is endearing, cultural, and a downright delicious read. Not only does Helen Mirren star in the movie, but it’s also produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.
Release date: Aug. 8, 2014
Starring: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal
9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
What it’s about: Everything is perfect; diseases have been eradicated, everyone is equal, and society is under control. Each person is assigned a position by the Community, and 12-year-old Jonas has been picked as the “Receiver of Memories.” Only “The Giver” knows the truth of the past, and he must now pass that information down to Jonas. This book has often been described as the first YA dystopian novel (in correlation with the current trend) and it shows that a utopian society has its downsides, like a lack of personal freedom. Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep make this a highly anticipated movie, and hopefully Taylor Swift will prove her acting chops.
Release date: Aug. 15, 2014
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Taylor Swift
10. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
What it’s about: Libby Day was 7 when her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in an event known as “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She testified that the person responsible for the cruel acts was in fact her 15-year-old brother, Ben. Fast-forward about 25 years and Libby is approached by the Kill Club, a group of people obsessed with solving notorious crimes. They believe Ben was wrongly accused, and she is eventually sucked into the investigation to uncover the twisted truth. Christina Hendricks plays Charlize Theron’s mom, so that should be interesting!
Release date: Sept. 1, 2014
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks
11. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
What it’s about: Judd Foxman’s father just died, and on top of that, his wife Jen had an affair with his boss, which recently became painfully public. Judd is forced to sit Shiva and spend seven days and nights with the dysfunctional Foxman clan, facing confrontation and dealing with old grudges. The book is hilarious and the movie features Jason Bateman and Tina Fey. Enough said.
Release date: Sept. 12, 2014
Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver
12. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
What it’s about: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he remembers is his name. His memory is blank, and he’s surrounded by a group of boys in a place called the Glade, a large space entrapped by tall, stone walls. Every 30 days another boy is delivered, but when a girl named Teresa appears in the lift the next morning, her presence is almost as unexpected as the message she delivers. The language is a little tough to get through in the beginning, but once you catch on to the lingo, you’ll be racing to find out what happens. It’ll be very interesting to see how the book is translated in film, especially with the monstrous creatures called Grievers.
Release date: Sept. 19, 2014
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario
13. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
What it’s about: It’s Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary when Amy mysteriously disappears. Nick is oddly evasive and evidence is slowly going against him, but did he really kill his wife? Gillian Flynn’s novel is packed with suspense, twists, and plenty of emotions. Readers are pretty split on their feelings about the end, but the entire book is definitely thrilling and the movie will probably be just as captivating.
Release date: Oct. 3, 2014
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
14. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
What it’s about: This true story follows Louis Zamperini, a track star from the ’30s and a participant in the Berlin Olympics. Zamperini became an airman in WWII and in May of 1943, his plane was shot down, leaving him adrift in the Pacific Ocean with nothing but a raft. Facing starvation, dangerous waters, and a situation in which he is taken prisoner by Japanese forces, this fascinating account is both vivid and powerful. The film is directed by Angelina Jolie.
Release date: Dec. 25, 2014
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney, Domhnall Gleeson
15. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
What it’s about: Twentysomething Cheryl Strayed lost her mother and her marriage all in a short amount of time. Four years later, with nothing to lose, Strayed took an 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in order to deal with her catastrophic past. This honest memoir is filled with suspense and humor, a journey worth the read. Reese Witherspoon takes on the role of Strayed and she’ll probably be her usual charming self.
Release date: 2014
Starring: Reese Witherspoon
16. Serena by Ron Rash
What it’s about: The book is a thrilling story that follows newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton on their journey to create a timber empire and ruthlessly kill all who fall out of favor. George fathered an illegitimate child, and when Serena discovers that she cannot bear children, she sets out to kill the son George fathered without her. If Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper’s previous films together are any indication of their chemistry, then it’s guaranteed this movie will be a must-see.
Release date: 2014
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper