What’s Better: Book Series or their Movies?

The adaptation of books onto the big screen (whether it’s a movie or a show) is an event that many book fans love to see. However, a lot of the time, the adaptations slip through readers’ expectations and fans are left disappointed; on the contrary, though, many people begin to prefer the movies or show over the books, especially if they don’t like reading.

harry potter book and movie covers
The covers of the first “Harry Potter” book versus the first “Harry Potter” movie.
Source: The Artifice

   I did a poll for several book series and asked students at Canyon Hills if they preferred the books or the on-screen adaptation for the series. There was an average of 21 responses per poll, and the results were pretty interesting. 

Harry Potter: Books 43%, Movies 56%

   “Harry Potter” has been one of the most popular franchises since the early 2000s, so it is no surprise that this specific survey had the most people familiar with the series (nearly 40 responses!). However, it was still intriguing to learn that after all of these years, and all the conversations online on the quality of the movies, the majority still prefer the movies more.

   “I feel like the Harry Potter movies do the books justice,” said CHHS junior Robert Nash. “Like, they’re one of the few movie series that are accurate to the books.”

Percy Jackson: Books 54%, Movies 46%

   Many people are aware of the “Percy Jackson” movie fiasco, where the movies were so horribly adapted from the books that they never even adapted the third one, and that to replace that adaptation, Disney+ is releasing a TV series in the summer of 2024 that will (hopefully) be better. When I was surveying students, however, I learned that many people still enjoyed the movies, despite their horrible reputation.

   “The Percy Jackson movies were terrible in my opinion,” said Nash. “They were an insult to the books.”

Twilight: Books 30%, Movies 70%

   “Twilight” set the standard for “bad” vampire-werewolf romance stories at the peak of its popularity. Even though the movies have been meme’d for years, it was still no surprise to me that more people preferred the movies to the books, as the rough corniness has made a lasting impact on pop culture.

   “I don’t really have an opinion on the books, other than the graphic novels, which were bad,” said CHHS junior Sam Harris. “But the movies were better. I think they were so popular for their time because of that style and type of content being so popular back then.”

The Hunger Games: Books 44%, Movies 56%

   “The Hunger Games” has been considered a “cult classic” since the franchise dominated the 2010s. While I do personally prefer the books, I can see why the movies won the survey here. The movies for “The Hunger Games” are one of the best on-screen adaptations for a book series, even with everything they cut from the books.

Divergent: Books 62%, Movies 38%

   “Divergent” is another popular dystopian series. While it is nowhere near “The Hunger Games” for a lot of people, it still has a widely popular fan base despite its negative reputation. What’s interesting about “Divergent” is that the final movie was canceled, and this left a hole in the movie franchise, leading to its dwindling popularity along with many fans realizing that there are better series out there.

   “I didn’t like either the books or the movies,” said Nash. “The first book was okay, but then the movie was terrible. It’s like they didn’t even read it.”

The Maze Runner: Books 32%, Movies 68%

   Keeping with the dystopian theme, “The Maze Runner” is another popular series that has received equal negative reception for the books and the movies. While it is still enjoyable and entertaining, the franchise has had its downfall in popularity, especially the books. I wasn’t surprised receiving more votes for the movies over the books due to the hatred fans have for the finale in the book series.

The Outsiders: Book 54%, Movie 46%

   This book is one of my favorites that I’ve ever had to read for school, and has one of the best, most accurate movie adaptations I’ve ever seen. This survey was very close in results, but ultimately, the book won.


   When it comes to book series versus their on-screen adaptations, students at Canyon Hills are more inclined to the movies or shows. This survey was interesting to conduct and I cannot wait to see more opinions on the upcoming movie/show adaptations of more books.