After demigod sleepaway camps, dystopian gladiator battles, and a multi-year stay in the rainy environs of Forks, WA, the next big setting in young adult fiction-turned-blockbuster film might just be… New Jersey.
According to a report from Deadline, the rights to Kieran Scott’s “True Love” trilogy have been snapped up for development by father-daughter team Gary A. and Madison Randall’s newly-formed production company. Featuring a banished mythological matchmaker who must redeem herself to regain her powers, the first book in the YA romantic series, “Only Everything,” will be out in May from Simon & Schuster.
“Only Everything” tells the story of teen love goddess Eros, a.k.a. True, who is exiled from her home on Mount Olympus and sent to live in the Garden State as punishment. Unsurprisingly, True looks around at her new digs and concludes that she’s in actual hell. The only way to regain her powers and return to Olympus: to help three couples find true love, using only the skills available to her as a mere mortal.
This could be a step in the right direction for a book-to-screen scene that’s had multiple high-profile misses over the past year, most of them unsuccessful attempts to fill the void left by a certain sparkly vampire. Although “Catching Fire” drew in record-breaking numbers and anticipation is running high for the straight-up thrills of the “Divergent” movie, a pair of supernatural romances about a magical family (“Beautiful Creatures“) and a secret society of demon-slayers (“The Mortal Instruments“) both fizzled at the box office. In addition, two promising dystopian dramas which were picked up for TV (“The Selection” by Kiera Cass, and “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver) never made it past the pilot stage.
But where brooding supernatural boyfriends seem to be on their way out, the field is opening up for a more down-to-earth sort of love story. “The Spectacular Now,” another big-screen version of a beloved YA novel, was one of the biggest indie hits of the year, and the upcoming film adaptation of “The Fault in Our Stars,” which follows the relationship of two cancer-stricken teens, is among the most buzzed-about movies coming in 2014.
While vampires, werewolves, angels and even zombies have all taken turns in the romantic lead lately, there’s clearly a hunger out there for realistic romance featuring everyday couples. The whimsical premise of the “True Love” trilogy is a fresh, fun, contemporary take that ought to delight audiences who still enjoy a touch of the magical (see: disgraced matchmaking goddess as narrator) but want to see people fall in love without any otherworldly drama.
With no schedule for the development of the “True Love” trilogy in place, it remains to be seen how the story will play out if and when it makes its way through Hollywood. But will the boy next door replace the interplanetary, undead, shirtless werewolf demographic as everyone’s hottest crush object? We’ll be keeping an eye on the box office to be sure, but it’s starting to look promising.