These are the books you need to read before their film adaptations hit the screen

There's nothing more divisive than a well-known book-to-film adaptation. And from the screenplay to the casting, there's room to have an opinion on everything.

Was Anne Hathaway the Emma Morley you envisaged? Did Paul Mescal fill Connell Waldron's shoes the way you wanted? And did HBO's Big Little Lies stay true enough to Liane Moriarty's story?

Film and TV adaptations prompt question after question, but in order to have an opinion on them, you have to have read the book first.

With Netflix, Hulu and HBO pumping out non-stop book-to-film adaptations, there's plenty of stories to read up on.

Don't sweat it - we've done the hard work for you, rounding up the books you need to read before they hit the screen.

Here are some brilliant books to read before they hit the screen...

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the most anticipated book adaptations of the decade, spending 124 weeks on the bestseller list. Set in Barkley Cove, North Carolina, the story follows the life of Kya, known to locals as the ‘Marsh Girl’. Set in two different time periods, the chapters alternate between Kya’s childhood fending for herself alone in the marshes, and her adulthood, where she is made a suspect in the murder investigation of Chase Andrews.

With Reese Witherspoon at its helm, the film is set for a 2022 release, starring Daisy Edgar Jones. The female-led venture also sees Lucy Alibar writing the script and Olivia Newman directing.

2. The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

The Last Letter from Your Lover is in cinemas right now, based on the best-selling book by Jojo Moyes. The romance is set in two different time periods, following a journalist who discovers a collection of love letters from the 1960s and sets out to find out more about the people behind them.

Directed by Augustine Frizzelle, this film has an impressive cast, starring Shailene Woodley, Callum Turner, Joe Alywn and Felicity Jones.

3. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends is going down the same route as Normal People, adapted by the same team into a 12-part television series. The Hulu project, set for release in 2022, will star Alison Oliver, Joe Alwyn, Sasha Lane and Jemima Kirke.

The story is set in Dublin, following ex girlfriends and best friends, Frances and Bobbi, and the unexpected relationship that they embark on with the beautiful and successful married couple, Melissa and Nick.

4. Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Naoise Dolan’s debut novel Exciting Times is set to be adapted into a US TV series by Black Bear Pictures, with Naoise announced to be involved as an executive producer. The release date and cast have not yet been officially announced.

The story follows Ava, a millennial Irish expat living in Hong Kong, teaching English to rich children. She inevitably finds herself in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer – both work obsessed and extremely intelligent – and is forced to choose between them.

5. House of Gucci by Sara G Forden

House of Gucci is perhaps the most highly-anticipated film of the year, with the Ridley Scott adaptation starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Jared Leto. And let's not forget its wider cast of Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek and Al Pacino.

Set for release in November 2021, the adaptation of Sara G Forden's book is inspired by the family empire behind Gucci and the real-life murder of Guccio Gucci’s grandson Maurizio.

6. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie was an instant hit after its 2019 release, following a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman navigating life post major break up. Hailed a must-read, it was unsurprisingly picked up for a TV adaptation.

The cast and release date are yet to be announced but we do know that Queenie was bought by Further South Productions and is being penned for Channel 4 by Candice Carty-Williams herself.

7. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty’s best-selling book, Nine Perfect Strangers, has been turned into a Hulu drama mini-series, set for release on 18 August. Cast-wise, it's star-studded, with Nicole Kidman at the helm. Also joining her are Melissa McCarthy, Samara Weaving, Luke Evans and Bobby Cannavale.

The premise is simple - nine people gather at the Tranquillum House Resort for a 10-day wellness retreat held by Masha, a Russian businesswoman turned wellness guru. While they have come to heal and practice self-acceptance, they quickly find that the retreat is not what they signed up for.

8. She Said by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor

She Said tells the very real story of the New York Times Harvey Weinstein exposé, written by the reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor about their experience unearthing and breaking the story. Now, it is coming to the big screen, starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the two journalists.

There is no release date yet, but the female-led film is set to be adapted by Rachel Lenkiewicz and directed by Maria Schrader.

9. The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Melissa Broder’s bestselling 2018 book The Pisces is being adapted for the big screen, with the author herself set to direct and co-write the script. And while there is no release date yet, the lead actress has been confirmed as Claire Foy.

The unusual story follows Lucy, a depressed PhD student who travels to Los Angeles to dog sit for her sister and ends up falling in love with a Venice Beach merman.

Happy reading.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.