Book trailer production quality continues to advance every year it seems. As more YA epics find their way to becoming movies, hoping to be the next Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or Fault in Our Stars, it’s getting harder to differentiate between a trailer for a book and a movie trailer. The rise of cross-media collaboration in the literary world, particularly using video, is an exciting new addition to the vastly changing landscape of publishing. Here’s a list of 10 YA book trailers that do an excellent job of blurring the divide between the printed page and the silver screen.
The book trailer for Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave has lead to many fans in the comments wondering just when the movie was coming out. Probably long before the film adaptation had even been shot. One of the benefits of a quality trailer is it allows readers and studios to visualize the cinematic potential of a book. Well before any development contracts come into play.
Film 14’s book trailer for Sally Green’s Half-Bad was released in tandem with a real-world publicity campaign, timed for the release of her debut novel. This book trailer and with the concentrated efforts of the publicity team over at Penguin caused Half Bad to create quite the splash, certainly catapulting Sally Green from an unknown author to a force-to-be reckoned with. The hyperkinetic, frantic pace of the project undoubtedly wouldn’t appear out of place among the trailers at your local movie theater.
Everyone loves a period-piece, and with the rapidly increasing amount of quality archival footage available on the internet today, novels set in the past really reap the benefits. The video for Libba Bray’s The Diviners starts with an establishing montage of found footage clips. Soon it transitions into a period-specific, black & white silent era scene. Finally stripping away artifice and planting us, in full color, in the midst of a grizzly murder. The quality of the piece makes for an excellent case as to why this trailer would work perfectly at the movies.
With compelling visuals that span multiple seasons, a swelling, majestically cinematic score paired with an intriguing voiceover, the book vid for Ruta Sepetys’ Salt to the Sea does a terrific job of setting the tone of the novel without giving away too much of the plot. How many movie trailers can say the same?
Out of all of the YA book trailers on this list, this trailer for Jacqueline Wilson’s Lily Alone might be the one that’s closest to a real movie trailer. The only difference is that movie trailer editors include all of these scenes because they have a large amount of footage to select from. In this trailer, which is also one of the most-viewed of all time, the book trailer creators wove in clips from larger scenes that don’t exist. The filmmakers behind the book trailer for Lily Alone should be recognized for going so far above and beyond for this project. The vast majority of movie-goers probably could not tell that this isn’t a movie trailer.
The trailer for A Book of Spirits & Thieves might be the only straight fantasy book trailer on this list. Which is strange given the popularity of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Not to mention the highly cinematic HBO show Game of Thrones. This book trailer focuses on a rather simple, yet purely fantastic element of the novel: transportation between two worlds.
Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 series has been a fan favorite since the first book came out. Similarly, a movie adaptation has been in development for a few years, much to the chagrin of some rather impatient, though wholly devoted fans. Perhaps this impatience is what caused a lot of fans to believe that this book trailer was in fact a trailer for the movie. I’m sure the quality of the piece also has a lot to do with that. The book trailer features explosions, airplanes, a truly cinematic score, even a CGI noxious gas. It’s easy to understand why fans would have been confused. Here’s to the Monument 14 movie, which we’re sure will feature all of these things and more!
This science-fiction boot camp book trailer begins with all the classic elements of a military film: the tough drill sergeant, a burning building, and a disheveled crew standing at attention. However, it only takes a moment for the trailer to abandon these tropes and present us with the fascinating premise for the novel. For both movie trailers and book trailers, a a successful video raises more questions than it answers.
Not all YA book trailers allow for extras littered about the floor as dead bodies in pools of blood. Not to mention CW TV stars from The Originals in cameo appearances and Demi-God/Apollyon sexual tension. The trailer for Jennifer Armentrout’s The Return, plus the trailer for the second book in the TITAN series The Power, has all of these things and more. The books are strongly written, and elicit a strong, devotional response from fans. So likely it’s only a matter of time until we see the film adaptation gracing movie-theater previews!
Kim Savage’s trailer for After the Woods is everything you could ever want for a novel. Especially one about two teenage girls fleeing from a crazed psycho killer/kidnapper. Short and simple, the suspenseful book trailer takes a scene directly from the YA novel and adapts it faithfully, while keeping the audience guessing at what happens next.
For more listicles related to YA Book Trailers check out: 10 YA Book Trailers that Led to YA Movies