20 books you should read before they become movies this year

Shailene Woodley and Theo JamesDave J Hogan/Getty ImagesTheo James and Shailene Woodley reprise their roles in ‘Insurgent.’

“Insurgent,” the second movie in the popular “Divergent” series starring Shailene Woodley, debuts in theatres this weekend.

It’s one of many highly-anticipated book-to-film adaptations lined up for 2015.

We compiled a list of some of the best books becoming movies this year. This year brings back “Gone Girl’s” Gillian Flynn with a new psychological thriller and the culmination of the “Hunger Games” series.

From sci-fi to period pieces, and even some true stories, here are the books you need to read before they become movies this year.

'Insurgent' by Veronica Roth

Release Date: March 20

In the first 'Divergent' film we learn members of the dystopian society are tested and assigned one of the five factions at the age of 16. Those who fit into more than one, like protagonist Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) are deemed Divergent and are considered a threat to society.

In the series' second instalment , Tris and the other Divergents are on the run from Jeanine Matthews, leader of the Erudite faction. Tris must embrace her divergence to fight for and protect the ones she loves while uncovering the truth about the past and future of her world.

The much-anticipated sequel returns with stars Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and Miles Teller.

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'The Longest Ride' by Nicholas Sparks

Release Date: April 10

Two couples separated by generations converge in another one of Nicholas Sparks' tear-jerking romantic tales. Ira is 91-years-old and lost his wife Ruth nine years prior. College student Sophia and bull-rider Luke come from two different worlds but fall deeply in love. While the two stories are different they remind us that the most challenging choices in life can yield extraordinary journeys.

The romantic film stars Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson.

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'The Moon and the Sun' by Vonda N. McIntyre

Release Date: April 10

King Louis XIV is determined to find the key to immortality, and he believes he finds this immortality in a rare sea monster, Sherzad. He plans to endanger and ultimately kill the creature, so against the orders of the king and the pope, a young lady-in-waiting fights to free the innocent creature.

The period piece stars Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, Benjamin Walker, and Kaya Scodelario.

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'Child 44' by Tom Rob Smith

Release Date: April 17

The first in a trilogy, 'Child 44' opens in Stalin's Soviet Union with war hero and security officer Leo Demidov at the center. Demidov believes in the power of Stalin's iron fist and complies with the law. However when a murderer starts killing children, Demidov tries to investigate the crimes but is halted by the government and subsequently exiled. Against the will of his country, Demidov and his wife search to find the killer and the truths behind their 'Utopian' society.

The thrilling and mysterious tale stars Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Noomi Rapace.

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'True Story' based on the book 'True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa' by Michael Finkel

Release Date: April 17

Michael Finkel, a New York Times reporter, gets a phone call one day to learn that Christian Longo, a man wanted by the FBI for murdering his family, was just arrested in Mexico using Finkel's name. The next day Finkel is fired from his job for allegedly falsifying a story, but coincidentally, Finkel is the only reporter Longo will speak with. Over the months leading up to the Longo trial, Finkel and Longo form a deeply intense relationship as Finkel tries to uncover what truly happened on the night of the Longo family murders.

Funny men Jonah Hill and James Franco take on more serious roles in this murder-mystery.

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'Far From the Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy

Release Date: May 1

Young, beautiful, and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene wins the hearts of sheep farmer Gabriel Oak, wealthy bachelor William Boldwood, and Sergeant Frank Troy. The love quadrangle sparks a series of heartbreak, chaos, and even murder.

Actress Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheda alongside actors Michael Sheen, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Tom Sturridge as her suitors.

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'Paper Towns' by John Green

Release Date: June 19

Nerdy Quentin Jacobsen is elated when his adventurous and beautiful childhood friend -- and love interest -- Margo Roth Spiegelman sneaks into his room one night and enlists him to help her exact revenge on her ex-boyfriend. However, the next day Margo is nowhere to be found. Instead she has left clues for Quentin. With the help of his friends, Quentin sets out to find his love but realises along the way he may not know the real Margo after all.

Model Cara Delevingne takes on her biggest role yet as Margo with costar Nat Wolff as Quentin.

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'Me Before You' by JoJo Moyes

Release Date: August 21

Young, successful businessman Will Traynor is a world-travelling thrill-seeker until an accident one day leaves him a quadriplegic. Constantly in pain, Will feels helpless and starts losing his will to live. His parents hire a second caregiver, the bubbly Louisa Clark, to hopefully get through to their son and renew his thirst for life.

'Hunger Games' star Sam Claflin takes on the role of Will alongside Emilia Clarke who plays Louisa.

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'Everest' based on the book 'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer

Release Date: September 18

Journalist and mountaineer Jon Krakauer recounts the catastrophic storm that struck Mount Everest in May of 1996 that took five lives and left even more shaken with grief in its wake.

The movie features a star-studded cast with Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, and Sam Worthington.

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'Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials' by James Dashner

Release Date: September 18

In part one of the series, Thomas, played by Dylan O'Brien, wakes up in a giant maze surrounded by other boys around his age. None of them know how they got there and Thomas can't remember anything from his past. However, the boys, known as the Gladers, are able to escape the maze.

Now in part two, the Gladers still face plenty of challenges and obstacles ahead of them. Thomas and the Gladers search for safety across a desolate landscape and try to find out who put them there.

Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster reprise their roles in the second film.

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'Black Mass' by Dick Lehr and Gerald O'Neill

Release Date: September 18

It's the 1970s in South Boston. FBI agent John Connolly enlists the help of childhood friend and godfather of the Irish mob Whitey Bulger to take down the Italian Mafia in exchange for protection from the FBI. The events that follow lead to racketeering, murder, and the biggest informant scandal in the history of the FBI.

Johnny Depp is almost unrecognizable as Whitey Bulger. Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, and Sienna Miller also star in the film.

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'Captive' based on the book 'Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero' by Ashley Smith

Release Date: September 18

Widowed 27-year-old mother Ashley Smith recently moved to Atlanta for a fresh start. One day she finds herself face-to-face with the courthouse killer Brian Nichols, who has allegedly, just hours earlier, shot a judge, a court reporter, a deputy, and a federal agent to death. Smith is held captive in her apartment for several hours and somehow finds a way to connect with her captor and peacefully end his killing rampage. The film takes a look into Smith's life and just how she got through to Nichols.

The true story stars 'Selma's' David Oyelowo and 'House of Cards'' Kate Mara.

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'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley

Release Date: October 2

Victor Frankenstein takes it upon himself one night to create a monster out of old body parts. He and his monster spend the rest of their days haunted by the other's existence.

Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy star in the epic tale.

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'The Secret in Their Eyes' by Eduardo Sacheri

Release Date: October 23

Retired detective Benjamin Chaparro still obsesses over a case from years ago when a young married woman was brutally raped and murdered in her home. In an attempt to write a book about the case, Chaparro gets sucked back into the details of the investigation and his feelings for the people involved.

A remake of the 2009 film which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Dean Norris, and Julia Roberts.

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'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2' by Suzanne Collins

Release Date: November 20

The final instalment of the 'Hunger Games' trilogy leaves off on the verge of war between the districts and the Capitol. At this point, Katniss has destroyed the games which pitted children against each other in a battle to the death. Now, she has taken refuge in District 13 under the leadership of President Coin. Katniss has been established as the Mockingjay, a symbol of hope for the rebellion, and has rallied the support of the districts to take down President Snow and the Capitol.

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman all return for the final chapter of the trilogy.

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'The Martian' by Andy Weir

Release Date: November 27

Astronaut Mark Watney is the first person to walk on Mars. While on Mars a dust storm leaves Watney stranded, disconnected from his team, and completely alone. He only has himself and his resourcefulness to survive seemingly impossible odds.

Matt Damon stars as Watney along with Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and Kristen Wiig.

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'The Danish Girl' by David Ebershoff

Release Date: November 27

It is Paris in the 1920s and Danish painter Einar Wegener and his American wife Gerda are painting in their studio when Gerda asks her husband to fill in for the female model that cancelled on her. Gerda is almost done and just needs Einar to put on some stockings so she can finish her painting. That day marked the beginning of Einar's transition into a woman, Lili Elbe, and the incredible and unusual love story between Einar and Gerda.

The film, inspired by a true story, stars Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, and Amber Heard.

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'In The Heart of the Sea' by Nathaniel Philbrick

Release Date: December 11

When the whaleship Essex is sunk by a sperm whale the 20 crew members drift in three tiny whaleboats for over 90 days, doing everything in their power to survive. The true story occurred in 1820 and inspired Herman Melville's 1851 classic 'Moby Dick.'

The harrowing and tragic story stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, and Ben Wishaw.

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'The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge' by Michael Punke

Release Date: December 25

After being mauled by a bear and left for dead by his fellow men, frontiersman Hugh Glass, despite his injuries and predatory threats, makes his way across 3,000 miles of the American frontier for retribution against the men who left him behind.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy star in the film.

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'Dark Places' by Gillian Flynn

Release Date: TBD

In the wake of the success of 'Gone Girl,' author Gillian Flynn has adapted her novel 'Dark Places' into a feature film.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and sister were murdered. She later testified that her brother Ben was the killer. 25 years later the Kill Club, a club obsessed with famous crimes, pays Libby to connect with the people from that fateful night to potentially clear Ben's name. As she revisits her memories Libby starts uncovering truths and realises that the true killer may be after her.

The psychological thriller stars Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult, and Corey Stoll.

Buy the book

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