This story would add a unique element to some of the family dramas we see on TV all the time. Flipping from 1939 to the present day and based on real-life events, it tells the story of a young girl and her siblings who were taken from their shanty riverboat and brought to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage before being renamed and sold separately to wealthy families. It also delves into the story of Avery Stafford, a woman born into wealth and privilege who must unravel the mysteries of her family’s past in connection with the orphanage. This powerful, emotional narrative about one of America’s most notorious scandals as well as the potential for a gripping new period piece make Before We Were Yours an ideal choice for a TV adaptation.
Elevation by Stephen King
Any of The King’s novels would make a great show given their eerie storytelling, exhilarating twists and downright creepiness; Hulu’s Castle Rock is evidence of this. This book in particular though would thrive as a show, as it embodies King’s iconic mysteriousness but is also about a community that struggles with prejudice, a man’s quirky affliction and unlikely alliances, adding some TV show-worthy depth to the plot.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
In The Wife Between Us, you think you are reading about an ex-wife who is jealous of her husband’s young, new fiancé, but nothing is as it seems — which is why this book would make an insatiable mystery/drama show. With plot twists you’ll never see coming, this book has everything it needs to be made into a chilling new show.
The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
Who wouldn’t want to see a book about time travel be turned into a show? With The Dream Daughter, the excitement that goes hand in hand with time travel is present, but it is not too sci-fi focused that it would make a niche show. This book is about a pregnant woman who, after losing her husband in the Vietnam War, travels to the present day with the help of her mysterious brother-in-law to get a fetal heart surgery that is unavailable in 1970 but is necessary for her unborn baby to live. This book is much more of a drama than anything else, but it is still adventurous and pushes the boundaries of space and time.
The Assistants by Camille Perri
The Assistants has all the aspects of a good show — corruption, scandal and embezzlement in the corporate world. The plot consists of three young assistants banding together and creating the ultimate scheme of stealing their boss’s money to pay off their student debts. The scheme grows to monumental proportions, with more and more New York assistants getting in on the action and spreading the wealth of these powerful men. With a feminist angle, high stakes and a light, fun air surrounding such a serious crime, this book would make a TV hit, especially among fans of shows like Suits or Scandal.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing is a compelling coming-of-age story that also provides an interesting twist on a murder mystery, and a show based on this book would definitely be the first of its kind, to say the least. It revolves around a North Carolina town’s “Marsh Girl,” Kya Clark, who has survived and grown up alone in the marsh for years. This all changes though as she experiences a sexual awakening, becomes the interest of two young men who are fascinated by her wild beauty and is named the prime suspect of a murder. Kya’s primitive lifestyle, the town’s misled perceptions of her and an intriguing mystery make Where the Crawdads Sing the perfect adaptation-to-be.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Liane Moriarty is no stranger to TV adaptations, with her book Big Little Lies becoming one of the most popular shows on television and Nine Perfect Strangers set to become a Hulu series in 2020. What Alice Forgot could easily follow in this pattern and become a hit drama. The book depicts a woman who is happily married and pregnant with her first child — that is, until she wakes up on the floor of a gym to discover she’s forgotten a whole decade of her life. A show focused on Alice’s attempt to piece together why she is now divorced with three kids, no longer talking to her sister and resembling someone she doesn’t even recognize would be an exciting addition to Moriarty’s TV adaptions.
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
This thriller chronicles what starts as a chance encounter between two very different strangers, but eventually develops into a toxic friendship. It is both shocking and bizarre, a story about obsession like no other. If this book were to be adapted, Social Creature would be the next dark and disturbing hit show fans of You and The Talented Mr. Ripley would love.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Beartown is very similar to shows like Friday Night Lights that are all about a community and the high school sports team that bonds it. With Beartown, however, the drama and complexity are amped up even more as the junior hockey team feels the pressure of winning the semi-finals for the town and being the source of camaraderie amongst the residents. What results is an unspeakable violent act that leaves a girl traumatized and the town in disarray. A show that takes a deeper look into the lives of the people in this town would be a captivating drama, especially for sports fanatics.
I’ll Eat When I’m Dead by Barbara Bourland
Fans of Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada would love to see this book be made into a show. Written by renowned fashion columnist Barbara Bourland, the book combines two great genres — mystery and chick-lit — while also providing a witty, satirical take on the fashion industry. It starts with the body of a RAGE magazine editor turning up in a conference room and her death being ruled as a result of her eating disorder. What follows is her coworkers disastrously investigating the death themselves as readers are taken deeper into the world of fashion, partying, socialites and bad behavior. The humorous undertones would help this book transition into a vivacious show.
For bookworms, there is no greater news than learning your favorite book is going to be adapted into a TV show. And, as Big Little Lies, Shrill, Good Omens and many other adaptions prove, shows that already have such a strong groundwork to build on tend to be huge successes.
Not all of our favorite books have been adapted yet though, and there’s still a handful we’d love to see make their way to the TV screen. Here are 10 page-turners that would be perfect for a TV show.