8 Disney Channel Original Movies That Are Actually Based on YA Books

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We all know that good books can mean great movies. How else would you explain mega-successful film franchises like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games? What about one-off classics like The Fault in Our Stars and Perks of Being a Wallflower? While new, amazing paperbacks are coming out, like, all the time — there’s not always the time or budget to make every single one into a big-screen hit.

Some classic Disney Channel Original Movies (or “DCOMs“) are 100 percent the brain child of talented network writers (like High School Musical and Teen Beach Movie), but others came from a difference source. Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was actually based on a picture book, but because the OG source material was geared towards children rather than young adults, we unfortunately had to leave it off our list.

Avalon High

Based On: Avalon High by Meg Cabot

What do Britt Robertson, Gregg Sulkin and Anne Hathaway have in common? Well, they were all in Meg Cabot movie adaptations. Sweet!

This story revolves around a mysterious prophecy regarding King Arthur's reincarnation. There is one MAJOR plot twist that differs the book from the DCOM, but since that would be a huge **spoiler,** we're gonna leave that one for you to figure out yourself.

Photo: Disney Channel

The Cheetah Girls

Based On: The Cheetah Girls series by Deborah Gregory

TCG is based on a 16 (!!) book series that follows five Cheetahlicious girls with aspirations to be international popstars. As you know if you've seen the film, Disney Channel dropped one diva for the DCOMs and by the third movie the group was down to three (because Raven Symone upped and left)!

Photo: Disney Channel


Based On: Frenemies by Alexa Young

As you probably know from watching Shake It Up, when Bella Thorne and Zendaya team up, the results are awesome! The girls play Avalon and Halley, two BFFs who must compete against one another when the web magazine they created together gets a buy-out offer. The two characters are also the central people in the three-part book series, however for the movie-version, Disney Channel added two other frenemy plot lines to add content (and drama) for the small screen.

Photo: Disney Channel

A Ring of Endless Light

Based On: A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle

This DCOM is actually based on book #4 in a series that follows the life of Vicky Austin and her family. Madeleine also wrote the popular book A Wrinkle in Time (which has a theatrical film adaptation coming in 2018 starring Rowan Blanchard from Girl Meets World)!

The made-for-TV film stars Mischa Barton from The O.C., a young Jared Padalecki AND three-time DCOM star, Ryan Merriman. The basic elements of the film and novel are the same, but many felt that the OG elements were altered to better fit Disney's audience (and the movie's time constraints!).

Photo: Disney Channel

Geek Charming

Based On: Geek Charming by Robin Palmer

The book author actually refused to be a part of the movie-adaptation process for her own novel because she had been a literary agent for Lifetime and had worked in the past in turning other books into TV and film. Knowing the business a little too well, she didn't even read the script or ever watch the DCOM (apparently).

Though the movie was cute, some behind-the-scenes revelations put a sinister shade on the Disney Channel movie. Sarah Hyland and Matt Prokop met while starring in the film and ended up dating for four years, but unfortunately after they broke up the Modern Family actress accused her ex-BF of verbal and physical abuse for the entirety of their relationship and got a permanent restraining order put in place.

Photo: Disney Channel

Lemonade Mouth

Based On: Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes

This Bridgit Mendler-helmed movie started as a novel, but after the DCOM premiered another version of the book released for younger readers. Although the OG paperback got rave reviews, the film version was not as lucky and critics had very mixed opinions on the teen musical.

Despite the criticisms, The Mouse originally had a sequel in the works, but Bridge said "the movie had completed its story" and they didn't move forward with the idea.

Photo: Disney Channel

Radio Rebel

Based On: Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

The biggest changes between the book and made-for-TV film is that the main character's (Theresa) name becomes Tara for the DCOM and her DJ title goes from Sweet T to Radio Rebel (we agree, a much better movie title!). Debby Ryan plays the star, a shy girl by-day who by-night is a secretly popular radio DJ!

Photo: Disney Channel

You Wish!

Based On: If I Only Had One Wish by Jackie French Koller

You Wish! stole some Disney Channel stars from their original series to make this DCOM. We've got Lalaine from Lizzie McGuire and Even Steven's A.J. Tauth starring in this cautionary tale of a guy who wishes his little brother had never been born... that's harsh! In both the book and film version, A.J.'s character, Alex's life is slightly better, though it's the guilt that makes him determined to get back his bro back. The book and DCOM vary slightly, but overall Disney stayed pretty true to the book!

Photo: Disney Channel

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