TEENS BE READING Week has come to a triumphant end, with a fantastic post (she says humbly) about the shows that could have capitalized on the literary realm.
With the final day of TEENS BE READING week here, we’re going to take a look at what could have been in the YA world. Missed opportunities, regrets left and right, plenty of hanging heads down in shame for never giving readers what they really want – novelizations of their favorite TV shows and movies.
In the literary world, novelizations are considered trash by any reasonable author’s standards. It’s one of the least creative ways to use your talent as a writer, and one of the most looked down upon. But people still do it. And they’re still entertaining. Mama’s still gotta get that money. Of course, novelizations are nothing new, in fact we’re covered them before with Dawson’s Creek (hint: a Gilmore Girls one may be on deck). There are plenty of books to choose from when it comes to kid and teen shows, such as Full House, The OC and Lizzie McGuire, but unfortunately not all our faves could be translated into the magic that is novelizations.
Here are our picks for what could have been. Books that could have had the chance of having Harry Potter like popularity. Ok, probably not, but it’s nice to dream.
Guts: The Aggro Crag’s Revenge
For years, The Aggro Crag had to deal with tiny little teens climbing up its sides. No matter how hard it tried, they always managed to find their way to the top. In this Choose Your Own Adventure-type book, contestants must choose their paths up to the mount wisely, with rocks, creatures, and very bright lights at every turn. You won’t have a safety harness to rely on this time around, so do, do, do, do, you have it? GUTS.
Titanic: My Heart Will Go On And On
After the sinking of the Titanic, 17-year-old Rose Dawson (nee Dewitt Bukater) lands in New York with nothing to her name – so she makes a name for herself, first gaining popularity on the Vaudeville circuit, then starring in early silent films. As Rose’s fame grows, she finds herself bound for England aboard the Lusitania. Rose finally lets herself love again – a roguish scamp named Mack Carson – but when the ship meets a tragic fate, Rose must learn that her heart will go on. And on.
One we did get was Dawson’s Creek. And boy were there a lot of them.
Judging A Dawson’s Creek Pocket Book By Its Cover
A couple of years ago, Molly was kind enough to send me a care package of books, most of which are geared towards a younger audience, because she gets me. One of the books in said package was a novelization of Dawson’s Creek, called A Capeside Christmas.
It seems as if novelizing popular TV shows seemed to be a big 90s thing that brought in all the cash for these already hit programs. I’m pretty sure I read one or two of the Full House books, but there was also a collection of Buffy, Charmed, and Roswell ones floating around too. But the thing about these was that they were never *quite* in canon with the shows they were derived from.
I recently finished A Capeside Christmas, and hands down, it was one of the worst things I’ve ever read. But I finished it, so I guess it wasn’t that horrible. I thought the story was going to follow the gang during Christmas and some kind of trouble that ensued (per usual) around this time of year in the Cape, but instead, it was 146 pages about the Capeside Follies aka the town Christmas pageant that all of them are in. Dawson is lured in as director, Jen is the stage manager and Joey and Pacey are in the show showing off their talents – IN THE SHOW. It was a little off, but I could see how it still fit in with the show in general. But since Andie found a love interest in the book, it also lead to confusion as to whether it takes BP or AP (Before Pacey/After Pacey). It read like a DC fanfic, but was juuuust good enough to get picked up by a lesser known publisher. And for all we know, the Dawson’s Creek line of books could be just that.
Yes, there’s more than one of these books besides A Capeside Christmas. Although I don’t think I’ll be paying $.75 cents + $5 shipping to purchase “Too Hot To Handle”, I do want to appreciate these books for its comedic value. All of the novels have a corny subtitle, one that was probably from the same vault where your dad gets his Dad Jokes from. Just like I didn’t really know what A Capeside Christmas was about prior to diving in, I’m going to do the same thing and do exactly what you SHOULD do with any Dawson’s Creek novelization – judge a book by its cover.
**Also, each real description ended with:
“Joey, Dawson, Pacey, Jen.”
Four fifteen-year-olds ready to take on the world.
They’re learning about life, and learning how to love. **
Shifting into Overdrive
Assumed Plot: Joey is eager to get her driver’s license, and since her older sister Bessie is too busy at the B&B and with her baby (and her hubs is mysteriously absent), Joey has to call on the help of one of her friends to pass the test. Since Dawson’s too focused on his latest film project for the Rhode Island Film Festival, Pacey offers to give her driving lessons in his pickup. Their road is a rocky one at the start, with constant bickering and stressful backseat (frontseat) drivers. However, it’s eventually smooth sailing for Pacey and Joey as she nears her test – but will the actual test be their budding romantic relationship? *Pacey actually taught Joey how to drive, right?*
Actual Plot: The road calls… Joey and Jen totally need a Dawson-free zone, so when Jen’s wealthy cousin invites her to an elegant Sweet Sixteen party in New York City, Jen coaxes a reluctant Joey along. Meanwhile, Dawson and Pacey are hot on their trail, dying to know what the girls are up to. The guys hit the road. And the road hits back….
Is high society ready for Jen’s ex-boyfriend Billy, and Danny, a sophisticated senior who’s totally into Joey? “And two sleepless gate-crashers?” It’s party time….
Assumed Plot: Now Juniors, they gang (excluding Pacey) are freaking out over the upcoming SATs and pressure of college in general. Studious Joey is taking extra SAT prep courses to bump up her score from 1400 to at least 1525. Jen is deciding whether she wants to go to college at all and Dawson is torn between going to Los Angeles or New York for film school. However the one thing they all have in common is the dilemma of whether they’re making the right decisions about college at all, a choice that will effect the rest of their lives.
Actual Plot: Jen hopes that a ski trip to a fancy Vermont chalet will enable her to rekindle things with Dawson, who is in turn occupied with his feelings for Joey; while Pacey looks forward to conquest over the ski bunnies.
Assumed plot: Jen and Joey decide to take a photography class together, and one of their projects is to pick someone or something that has great value and serves as an inspiration to them as part of a photo project. Separately, the both Jen and Joey pick Dawson – and jealousy ensues. Will Dawson help out the new girl in town or the girl who’s been in his heart for his whole life?
Actual Plot: The Ice House is in serious need of funds, so Joey takes matters into her own hands and finds work as an underwear model, but when her pictures end up on the Internet, heads begin turning at school.
Assumed Plot: In the book version of one of the famous Halloween episodes, Pacey convinces everyone to join him on a trip to Salem to check out the place where the actual witch trials took place. Strange little things keep happening while they’re there – water glasses get knocked over with no explanation, doors keep shutting with no wind in the air, and even Jack’s going crazy because he keeps thinking he sees his grandmother everywhere they go – a grandmother who died five years ago. In Salem.
Actual Plot: “LIGHTS, CAMERA, SCREAM” Has Dawson’s dream finally come true? A low-budget teen horror film is shooting in Capeside and Dawson desperately wants to work on the set. This could be the professional break he’s been looking for an he’s really excited. That is, until Jen lands the job he wanted. Meanwhile, Joey loves the attention she’s getting while spending time with the movie’s to-die-for lead.
Too Hot To Handle
Assumed Plot: It’s summertime in the Creek and when they’re not working at the Ice House or at the video store or at Dawson’s parents’ restaurant, the gang spend most of their time at the beach. It’s there that both Pacey and Dawson meet some particularly attractive ladies, causing jealousy to stir inside both Andie and Joey, respectively.
Actual Plot: Pacey has a great idea to raise money to protect Dunn’s Lighthouse from developers. Students will volunteer to dress as celebs, and other teens will bid on them. The highest bidders for the stars will own them for a day. Who would turn down this chance to fulfill his or her fantasies?
Running On Empty
Assumed Plot: Jack confides to Jen that he’s gay, a confession he’s too scared to come forward with to both his family, friends, and especially girlfriend Joey. The pressure of being who people think he is and who he truly is gets to him, and it’s only Jen who can help him through it.
Actual Plot: Bessie and Joey’s plan to rake in the dough with paying guests during Capeside’s “Weekend of the Whales” festival goes south fast when Bessie sprains her ankle, spoiled potato salad knocks out all the cooks in town, and it rains and rains and rains. Pacey, Dawson, Jack, and Andie are eager to help out…but Andie’s got her hands full with the handsome twin brothers staying at Gram’s place, Dawson’s dealing with another obnoxious B&B client, a poetry-loving houseguest totally crushes on Joey, and there’s not a whale in sight! Looks like it’s gonna be a long weekend…
Trouble in Paradise
Assumed Plot: It was going well for soulmates Dawson and Joey for a while, before they separately started to realize that it just wasn’t working out romantically. After they spend a weekend in Paradise, Connecticut with Jen, Andie, Pacey and Jack on a skiing trip, their already tense relationship comes to a head when they’re forced to come forward with their true feelings during an intense round of Truth or Dare.
Actual Plot: It’s the return of Jen’s cousin Courtney the Perfect. Grams is thrilled. Jen and Joey are not, and their instincts are right: Courtney is definitely out to stir up trouble.
Playing for Keeps
Assumed Plot: In order to make some extra money in hopes of saving it for a new car, Pacey starts investing in off-track betting. Andie starts to notice that his hobby is soon becoming an addiction, as she sees he’s losing more money than he’s investing. Will Andie’s pressure to stop his gambling ways push Pacey to clean up his act or be on the brink of a breakup?
Actual Plot: Summer is finally here and the gang nab jobs as counselors at Camp Takabec. Jack is the football counselor, Dawson does audiovisual, Joey’s in arts and crafts, Jen and Pacey are directing the camp musical, and Andie is an academic tutor for challenged kids.
They’re managing to have a blast, even though Jen and Joey both fall for the same mysterious college guy from England. Meanwhile, a friendly color war is developing into “The Sex Wars,” pitting the guys against the gals. But who will win this friendship tug-of-war?
Assumed Plot: Dawson’s secret love for the WWE is revealed.
Actual Plot: North…by Northwest? When Principal Green introduces a mandatory new program called “SpringPlan” at Capeside High, Jen, Joey, Pacey, Jack, Andie, and Dawson all sign up for projects that interst them. But Princpal Green has other ideas, and they find themselves assigned to “Character Building Through Wilderness Training” in the wilds of North Carolina. Oh yeah.
Wilderness Camp is run by a former marine drill sergeant who makes the Godfather look like Mother Teresa. Pre-breakfast runs, splittng wood, poisonous-snake identification classes. Tension is running high, but there’s only one way out of the woods for Jen, Joey, Pacey, Dawson, Jack, and Andie.
Calm Before the Storm
Assumed Plot: A huge winter storm is heading to Capeside, and everyone is preparing for the worst before hunkering down for what’s sure to be the worst storm in years. But tensions are already high for Joey and Dawson (who just broke up), Joey and Jack (whose kiss led to said break-up), Andie and Pacey (who are secretly working through Andie’s mental problems) and Jen (who is still coping with the death of her grandfather). They end up locked in the school for hours, since the storm came in early, and they are forced to stick together and hash out their problems while waiting for the storm to pass.
Actual Plot: “Whales mate for life.” “At least they know what they want,” Joey thinks.
Sometimes her relationship with Dawson seems so complicated. Even more so when her class field trip to Billings Island, a nature preserve off the coast of Capeside, is blown apart by a freak storm. And Joey and Dawson are separated from Pacey and Jen. Now they’re lost in the woods… stranded in an old cabin together, cold and shivering, alone in a storm… eager for warmth.