16 Books to Learn Earlier than Their Present and Movie Variations Drop In 2021

This is a shout-out to our fellow book nerds that love reading as much as they love bingeing or devouring a new show. It is not impossible to love both, and it’s the best when both interests can intersect. As 2020 wraps up, TV Guide put together a list of books that are being turned into TV shows in 2021. We’ve got some high-profile picks on the list, and tried to order them by premiere date so you know what needs to be read most urgently before the TV adaptation premieres. 

Make sure you come back throughout the year because we’ll be updating the list as more TV shows based on books are announced, making sure to keep your Goodreads “Want to Read” list stocked and ready as we go through the year. Here is your first batch of recommendations. 

Lupin (Neflix)
Premiere Date: Jan. 8
Book: Arsene Lupin: The Gentleman Thief by Maurice Leblanc
Omar Sy stars in this modern-day crime/heist drama inspired by the turn-of-the-century adventure stories of Arsène Lupin, an aristocratic burglar who targets the rich and powerful. In the Netflix series, Sy plays Assane Diop, a wealthy man seeking to avenge his father, who died after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Diop is cunning, brilliant, and charming — just like the fictional gentleman burglar he imitates as he plots his revenge. -Noelene Clark

A Discovery of Witches Season 2 (Sundance/Shudder)
Premiere Date: Jan. 9 
Book: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (Book 2 in the All Souls series) 
In the second season of A Discovery of Witches, and in the second book of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls series, Diana (Teresa Palmer) and Matthew (Matthew Goode) travel back in time to Elizabethan England to avoid being caught by the Congregation. It’s there Diana will have to learn to get a hold of her powers without being burned at the stake, and Matthew looks to reconnect with the man who sired him. Expect all the same romance and intrigue from the first outing in this series, but now add period piece costuming and drama. -Megan Vick

WandaVision (Disney+)
Premiere Date: Jan. 15
Book: Avengers West Coast: Vision Quest by John Byrne (1989) and The Vision Vol. 2 by Tom King (2016) 
WandaVision is not a direct adaptation of any particular comic cook (as far as Marvel has revealed), however, both Vision Quest and The Vision Vol. 2 deal with Wanda’s (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) separate disastrous attempts to form a seemingly perfect human life, despite the fact that she’s a mutant witch and he is an android. Given the TV sitcom setting of the Disney+ series, both of these comic chapters in our heroes’ lives feel like good background knowledge for what’s about to unravel before Wanda heads off to join Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the Multiverse of Madness. -Megan Vick

Firefly Lane (Netflix)
Premiere Date: Feb. 3
Book: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Kristen Hannah’s 2008 novel Firefly Lane heads to Netflix via Katherine Heigl’s book club (which is something I just made up but probably could exist). The Grey’s Anatomy star produces and stars in this sappy drama about a pair of friends living in the Pacific Northwest, charting their relationship from when they met in high school through all the ups and downs of their friendship to their mid-40s. Heigl will play Tully Hart, the “cool” girl at school who befriends the goofy Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke), and the pair’s lives intertwine through boyfriends, husbands, and *gulp* betrayal, with twists and turns designed to keep readers flipping the pages.  -Tim Surette

Clarice (CBS) 
Premiere Date: Feb. 11
Book: Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
CBS’ new spin on Thomas Harris’ iconic universe will explore the story of Clarice Starling, played here by Rebecca Breeds. Set in 1993, a year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, the sequel will follow Clarice as she returns to the political world of Washington, D.C., and pursues serial killers and sexual predators as part of her job with the FBI. Notably, because of the way the rights to Harris’ characters are split up, the show won’t legally be able to mention Hannibal Lecter by name. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s been quite liberating because we have no interest in writing about Hannibal — not because we didn’t love the films and the show, but because it was done so well by so many people that it didn’t feel fresh for us.” Clarice will, however, involve plenty of characters who didn’t appear on NBC’s Hannibal, including Ardelia Mapp (Devyn A. Tyler), Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz), and Buffalo Bill.  -Kelly Connolly

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+)
Premiere Date: March 19
Book:  The Death of Captain America and Captain America: Sam Wilson by Ed Brubaker, Rick Remender, Dennis Hopeless, Jeff Loveness, and Nick Spencer
Avengers: Endgame may have ended Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it won’t be the last we see of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Little is known about the plot of this six-episode series, but it will follow Bucky and Sam after they receive the Captain America shield from Steve (Chris Evans) at the end of Endgame, and Emily VanCamp has signed on to reprise her role as Sharon Carter. Considering how far the MCU has deviated from the original comics, it’s unlikely this series will be a direct adaptation of any one arc or issue, but it’s still worth brushing up to better understand the characters, the cameos, and the Easter eggs. -Megan Vick

Shadow & Bone (Netflix)
Premiere Date: April TBD
Book: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Book 1 in the Grishaverse series)
This Netflix series combines the events and characters from multiple novels set in Leigh Bardugo’s rich, Russia-influenced fantasy world about Grisha — people born with a magical ability to manipulate the elements. Jessie Mei Li stars as Alina Starkov, a teenage orphan and low-ranking soldier who, when her unique and extraordinary ability manifests itself, finds herself conscripted into the king’s elite Grisha army. Alina might be the only one who can stand against the Shadow Fold, an ever-growing swath of darkness and monsters that divides the kingdom, but not without the help of the allies — and enemies — she meets as she struggles to control her newfound power. -Noelene Clark

Anatomy of  Scandal (Netflix)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughn
David E. Kelley is bringing fans another book adaptation with Netflix’s Anatomy of a Scandal, based on the book of the same name by Sarah Vaughn. The anthology series, set in London, will explore issues of sexual consent and privilege. The first season’s lead cast includes Sienna Miller as Sophie Whitehouse, whose seemingly charmed life as an Oxford graduate, wife, and mother of two is about to be upended; Michelle Dockery as criminal barrister Kate Woodcroft, who’s just been handed the case of a lifetime; Rupert Friend as ambitious junior minister James Whitehouse; and Naomi Scott as parliamentary researcher Olivia Lytton. -Kelly Connolly

Daisy Jones & The Six (Amazon)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
If you’re a Fleetwood Mac fan, you should put Daisy Jones & the Six on your radar. The novel, which author Taylor Jenkins Reid has said was inspired by the iconic rock group, tells the story of a 1970s band, beginning with their meteoric rise to fame and exploring the reasons behind their eventual split. Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse, and Camila Morrone are set to star in Amazon’s miniseries adaptation, which is also being executive produced by Reese Witherspoon. -Allison Picurro

Gossip Girl (HBO Max)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar (Book 1 in the Gossip Girl series)
Greetings, Upper East Siders — the anticipated Gossip Girl “reboot” is on the way, though it’s really more of a sequel. Set over a decade after the premiere of the original CW series, which is based on Cecily Von Ziegesar’s YA novels of the same name, the HBO Max show will follow the scandals and controversies of a new group of glamorous prep school students at Constance and St. Jude’s. Kristen Bell will return as the narrator, though Gossip Girl won’t be one of the characters this time. The cast will include Emily Alyn Lind, Eli Brown, Tavi Gevinson, Thomas Doherty, Adam Chanler-Berat, Zion Moreno, Whitney Peak, Jonathan Fernandez, Jason Gotay, and Jordan Alexander. -Kelly Connolly

The Mysterious Benedict Society (Disney+)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
This family-friendly eight-part series stars Tony Hale as Nicholas Benedict, an eccentric genius scientist and codebreaker who recruits a group of gifted orphans to go undercover at a boarding school to help stop a nefarious world domination scheme. The beloved best-selling middle grade novel on which the show is based has been widely praised for its clever puzzles and enigmas, and has spawned three sequels, a prequel, and a supplementary book of puzzles. -Noelene Clark

Nine Perfect Strangers (Hulu)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Nicole Kidman and Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley are reuniting — again — for an adaptation of another Liane Moriarty novel, Nine Perfect Strangers. Kelley co-created the Hulu miniseries, while Kidman executive produces and stars as Masha, a mysterious boutique health-and-wellness resort director who’s on a mission to help the nine strangers participating in a 10-day retreat. The all-star cast also includes Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans, Samara Weaving, Melvin Gregg, Michael Shannon, Manny Jacinto, Tiffany Boone, Regina Hall, and Bobby Cannavale. -Kelly Connolly

To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (Netflix)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: Always & Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Hahn (Book 3 in the To All the Boys series)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before introduced cupcake-baking good girl Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and cocky lacrosse player Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), who fake a relationship before they actually fall for each other. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You added a love triangle to the mix, with Lara Jean questioning her relationship before patching things up with Peter. But the final installment in the trilogy will see the couple facing their biggest relationship crisis yet, as their plans to attend college together after graduation are thwarted. Expect a trip to Korea, a wedding, and the high school romance butterflies that helped make the first two films such a hit. -Noelene Clark

The Underground Railroad (Amazon)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel will undoubtedly become one of 2021’s must-watch shows as Moonlight director Barry Jenkins tackles his first television series for Amazon Prime. The story reimagines the Underground Railroad as a literal rail transport in addition to the series of safe houses and secret routes discovered by a young female slave, Cora (Thuso Mbedu), who attempts to make her way to freedom from her Georgia plantation.  -Megan Vick

Y: The Last Man (FX on Hulu)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn
You should have already read this comic series several times over as it’s been targeted for adaptation on multiple occasions, but it’s finally seeing the light of day on FX. The comic, from Brian K. Vaughn and artist Pia Guerra, is set during a doomsday scenario in which every living mammal with a Y chromosome — the chromosome that determines the male sex — suddenly dies. Well, all but two: A young man named Yorrick Brown and his capuchin monkey Ampersand somehow survive. As the world crumbles into chaos, many individuals want Yorrick for their own nefarious purposes, while others do everything they can to protect the last man on Earth.  -Tim Surette

You Season 3 (Netflix)
Premiere Date: TBD
Book: You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes (Book 3 in the You series) 
Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) continues his murderous adventures and quest for fulfillment in the third chapter of You. Kepnes’ new novel will be the loose inspiration for the third season of the Netflix hit and sees Joe ditching the city life for a quiet existence in the Pacific Northwest. It’s all nature and hikes and a chill job at the local library until Joe falls for a new woman. Determined not to obsess, Joe commits to landing this new love the old-fashioned way, but can he handle it when the new love of his life isn’t ready to make Joe the center of her universe? We think we know how this goes, but we can’t wait to go along for the ride again anyway. -Megan Vick

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