Me and Earl and the Adapted Girl: Learning to Write a Young Adult Adaptation




Zhang, Michelle

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Since the late 2000s, the movie industry has experienced a boom in Young Adult (YA) book-tomovie adaptations, from the wildly popular Twilight series to romantic drama The Fault In Our Stars. Having been an avid YA literature reader throughout my teenaged years, I found myself consistently disappointed with the quality of these adaptations in the way they portrayed their source material, often feeling that the cinematic qualities of the adaptation weren’t on par with the literary. This frustration prompted me to wonder: How would I go about writing a YA adaptation? With this question in mind, I went on a personal discovery of what makes up my favorite literary genre and how I would adapt it into a film. To understand the contextual and analytical background of my question, I researched the state of the YA literature and movie industries, as well as looked at film theory on adaptations. I then analyzed a case of what I consider to be a good YA adaptation — Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, a 2012 novel by Jesse Andrews and a 2015 movie directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon — to understand what qualities in particular I find important to adaptation. In my final section, I put theory into practice by writing my own adapted screenplay based on Please Ignore Vera Dietz, a 2010 novel by A.S. King, going on to discuss the problems I faced, choices I made, and revelations I discovered in the writing process.



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