Start spreading the news: YA books are the hit of Broadway. From Be More Chill (based on Ned Vizzini’s novel) to The Lightning Thief (based on Rick Riordan’s novel) to the newly announced Between the Lines (based on Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer’s novel), our favorite reads are getting the musical treatment. There are a million books that haven’t been adapted yet, but just you wait. We’re letting our fantasies unwind as we imagine what some of our favorite books would look like as Broadway musical adaptations.
Maurene Goo’s latest transports readers to Hong Kong, where K-pop sensation Lucky is preparing to fly across the world for an appearance on an American late-night show that could take her career global. But Lucky isn’t enjoying the spotlight as much as she used to, and she sneaks out for a whirlwind 24-hour adventure with Jack, a boy she doesn’t realize is working for the paparazzi. With a passion for music built into the plot, this book is ready for a Broadway debut that could include Lucky’s smash hit “Heartbeat,” as well as moving songs from both Lucky and Jack as they consider their futures.
This graphic novel follows Prince Sebastian, who moonlights as the enchanting Lady Crystallia, showing off gorgeous gowns designed by seamstress and best friend Frances. First, let’s take a moment to imagine how gorgeous the costumes would be in a production of The Prince and the Dressmaker. Now, consider the endless possibilities of Sebastian having numbers as both the prince and as Lady Crystallia. It’s not hard to imagine this visually stunning story about friendship and identity transforming into a captivating show.
Raise your hand if you’ve been known to quietly sob in a theater full of strangers. Like good books, musicals have the ability to make our emotions swell and bring us to tears. Adam Silvera’s tale of two queer teens who learn they’ve only got 24 hours to live is just the kind of story we can imagine ripping our heart out and pulling us to our feet for a standing ovation. Rufus is daring while Mateo is reserved, which would make for excellent push-and-pull dynamics during duets. Plus, the book includes a killer karaoke scene that is just begging for a real-life stage.
Tiffany D. Jackson’s latest is a love letter to hip-hop set in the late 90s. After Steph is murdered, his friends Quadir and Jarrell, and sister Jasmine, decide to honor his memory by releasing his original music under the name The Architect. The tracks go from being the hit of neighborhood parties to catching the eye of a record label. Like Jackson’s novel, we’re envisioning a show with music shaped and inspired by the iconic hip-hop stars of the 90s. With four teens with stories to share, the possibilities for showcasing different styles are already built in, and we’d be first in line to see Jasmine take center stage and let her voice shine as she tries to uncover who killed her brother.
Elizabeth Acevedo’s award-winning verse novel follows Xiomara, a Harlem teen who uses poetry to make sense of the world around her. When she can’t turn to her mom, friends, or twin with the questions she has about her faith, her identity, or her place in the world, she turns to her notebook. The poetry in this book flows beautifully, and we can only imagine how incredible it would be with music behind it. While the book focuses on Xiomara’s journey, a musical could offer insight into the lives of her brother, best friend, boyfriend, and more.