is this the next paper-to-screen blockbuster?

by rebecca willa davis

No matter what lit nerds and film snobs say, there is an inextricable link between books and movies. From the Harry Potter franchise to The Notebook to Brokeback Mountain, some of the biggest blockbusters have come not from the mind of some L.A. screenwriter, but from the pen of an author. Still don't believe me? Three words: The Great Gatsby.

With that said, I picked up Anna Stothard's The Pink Hotel as much for its bona fides (she became the youngest writer to be longlisted for the Orange Prize) as for its Hollywood nod: Anna Paquin optioned the film before it even came out in the US. (On the cover Paquin is quoted as saying, " This book moved me in ways I can't fully articulate...Extraordinary.") Could this be the next great book-to-movie?

Well first things first: As a book, it's a completely engrossing look at a not-quite-adult getting sucked into California's dark underbelly. The Pink Hotel, only just out stateside following its initial release in the UK, follows Lily, a British 17-year-old who sneaks off to L.A. to attend her estranged mother's funeral and try to piece together a bit of her history. What should be a short trip turns into, in effect, a new life, with Lily quickly stepping into--literally and figuratively--her mom's world of silk sheaths, heroin addicts, teetotalling paparazzi, and an angry ex husband. It's the sort of book that is easy to read and impossible to put down--and that's before you get to the twist ending, from which I'm still trying to lift my jaw off the ground.

So yes, perfect for summer reading--but also, I wouldn't be surprised to see this in theaters come summer 2014 (casting tip: this is the role Kristen Stewart was born to play). Not that that should be your only reason for reading, but it's nice to get a headstart so when it makes it to the big screen you can show off your copy that doesn't feature some star on the cover.

Pick up your copy of The Pink Hotel here.