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3 TV Adaptations You Didn’t Know Came From Books

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Growing up, I was a HUGE geek for books. During silent reading time, you would catch my nose so close to the book it was practically touching. Or I would be sniffling and sobbing at the sad ending of a book.

I did not lose this love as I got older. If anything, my love of books became more profound.

In my teenage years, I have read some amazing literature. Many people seem to agree with my opinions, because a lot of these books have become TV adaptations.

For some of these TV adaptations in particular, people do not realize that they were books before being a movie or TV show.

And as everyone knows, the book is always better than the movie.

So, here are three absolutely amazing novels that deserve more hype than their TV adaptations.

Crazy Rich Asians

“Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan is the fun summer read that everyone needs. The juicy drama and beautiful depiction of mega-rich Singapore will keep your eyes glued to the page.

The book is absolutely amazing, but many focus on the movie.

Don’t get me wrong, I have watched the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” more times than I can count. My sisters, mom and I love to admire the hotness of Nick Young, the strength of Rachel Chu and the humor of Peik Lin Goh.

That being said, there is still so much missing from the movie.

First and foremost, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a series. There are three books—”Crazy Rich Asians”, “China Rich Girlfriend,” and “Rich People Problems.” I think I read the entire series in a week.

While I love Rachel Chu and Nick Young, the series focuses on more characters. They get into the life of Ah Ma, the complexity of Astrid Leong’s marriage, the desires of Kitty Pong and much, much more.

If you love the movie, I highly suggest taking a gander to your local library or book store for “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan.

Handmaid’s tale

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is known for two main reasons—neither being the book. First, the hit TV show, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” just released a new season on Hulu. Second, the TV show and book are often used in the context of abortion.

But nobody gives credit to the book itself. With the novel being skewed into something that it isn’t, not many get to appreciate the beauty of the literature.

Marie Atwood, the author, does a fantastic job of world-building, and she creates a futuristic society that creates a new order of women. There are the wives that marry the commanders. There are the Martha’s that take care of the house. And there are the handmaids who bear the children.

She builds a nameless main character who is not special. Many authors write heroines that must save the whole world, but the main character of “The Handmaid’s Tale” gives the reader a full picture of her world.

It is fascinating.

The show, while gaining great acclaim with awards and attention, steals some of this beauty from the plot. The main character is named May, taking away the mundaneness of this character, and they only follow the book for the first season.

While the show may be good, the novel acts as a cultural reset. The storytelling is fascinating. The 2017 author’s foreword by Marie Atwood is deep and profound.

And there is even a second book, “The Testaments”!

the woman in the window

Being released in 2021 on Netflix, “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn is mostly known for its star-filled film. With actors like Amy Adams, Anthony Mackie, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman, the movie is better known than the novel.

But the novel is much better than the movie.

The movie recieved mostly poor reviews, landing a 5.7 out of 10 on IMDb. The book, on the other hand, received a 4 out of 5 on Goodreads.

The novel is a page turner with a murder, a woman stuck in her house and a strange family across the street.

Personally, I had never heard of agoraphobia before the novel. By reading “The Woman in the Window,” I was able to learn about an interesting mental disorder while also enjoying a captivating plot.

If you are a fan of mystery novels, “The Woman in the Window” should be your next pick.

These three books are all fantastic in their own rights. “Crazy Rich Asians” is a fun, drama-filled romantic comedy. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a deep, interesting dystopia. “The Woman in the Window” is a thought-provoking mystery and thriller.

There is no harm in watching the TV adaptations of each of these novels—they’re quite good! But I would suggest picking up the book first.

Kyra is a second-year student at Penn State. She is double-majoring in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism. She is also involved in PSU's TEDx program. For fun, she loves to play tennis, read, hang out with friends, and eat cheezits!