Bridgerton, Umbrella Academy & More: Which Adaptations Did the Book Justice?

In recent years, TV adaptations have dominated awards season and our Netflix queues. But which ones stayed true to the books that inspired them?

By Emily Spain Dec 31, 2020 1:00 PMTags
Bridgerton CastNetflix

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Let's face it, Netflix & Chill took on a whole new meaning in 2020. With more time at home, we looked to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more to keep us entertained during the most difficult times. Thankfully, 2020 brought us a plethora of binge-worthy shows, many of which were adapted from best-selling books.

From The Queen's Gambit and Little Fires Everywhere to Bridgerton and The Stand, we want to know which TV adaptations did the books justice?

While many of us went ahead and watched whichever show was trending on Twitter, let's not forget the books behind these hit TV shows. Plus, it's fun to compare which parts made it on the screen. 

Keep scrolling to check out the books that inspired your favorite shows and cast your vote on which version is better!

read
Curl Up With the 20 Best and Buzziest Books of 2020
Netflix

Bridgerton

If your socials are flooded with memes about Bridgerton, you're not alone. Inspired by the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn, the Netflix series produced by Shonda Rhimes, details the lives of two families during "the season" aka 19th century cuffing season. 

Bridgerton: The Duke and I (Bridgertons Book 1 of 9) by Julia Quinn

Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset concoct a plan to get engaged in order to save Simon from marriage-minded society mothers. But the plan begins to veer off course when Daphne begins to fall for the duke. Will Simon develop similar feelings?

Poll

Bridgerton

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
38.9%
Adaptation!
61.1%
Netflix

The Umbrella Academy

Brought together by millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves because of their other-worldy powers, seven siblings must reunite after Hargreeves' death to once again save the world by combining their superhero abilities. We probably don't need to further convince you to immediately watch this Netflix hit show.

The Umbrella Academy

When an unexplainable worldwide event results in forty-three superhero-like children born to women showing no signs of pregnancy, millionaire Reginald Hargreeves adopts seven to "save the world." After the dysfunctional family disbands and Hargreeves dies, the children are once again forced together to save the world.

Poll

The Umbrella Academy

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
24.6%
Adaptation!
75.4%
Netflix

The Baby-Sitters Club

Does anyone else vividly remember checking these books out from their school library? We do. In the Netflix adaptation, your favorite baby-sitting club is back at it! At the end of the day, everyone can relate to the group's challenges and wins.

The Baby-Sitters Club, Book 1 by Ann M. Martin

In the beloved series, Kristy Thomas starts a baby-sitting club to earn money and spend time with childhood friends, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey. In each book, the group grows closer as they deal with hard clients, fussy babies, unruly pets and much more.

Poll

The Baby-Sitters Club

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
70.3%
Adaptation!
29.7%
PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX

The Queen's Gambit

The Queen's Gambit came at the perfect time in 2020! Not only did Beth inspire us update our winter wardrobes with a retro twist, we finally got permission to put our unfinished quarantine puzzles aside and learn how to play chess. If you haven't watched this thrilling, coming of age story about an orphaned girl who defies the odds to become a chess champion, you need to head over to Netflix like right now.

The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis

In The Queen's Gambit, Beth Harmon goes from orphan to chess champ at 16 years old. But will she be able to win her battles against addiction, self-doubt and isolation as she advances in the chess world?

Poll

The Queen's Gambit

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
15.2%
Adaptation!
84.8%
Hulu

Shrill

If you love watching Aidy Bryant on SNL, you will absolutely love Shrill on Hulu. The series follows Annie who is trying to balance her career, bad boyfriends, a perfectionist boss and a sick parent. Plus, the show's executive producers are SNL's Lorne Michaels and actress Elizabeth Banks. 

Shrill by Lindy West

"Shrill is an uproarious memoir, a feminist rallying cry in a world that thinks gender politics are tedious and that women, especially feminists, can't be funny." -Amazon

Poll

Shrill

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
62.5%
Adaptation!
37.5%
CBS All Access

The Stand 

We were skeptical when we found out The Stand on CBS All Access was about a flu epidemic wiping out nearly the whole population and the remaining survivors having to escape a menacing figure of The Dark Man. But we reminded ourselves the show is fictional unlike 2020 and we binge-watched the entire series.

The Stand by Stephen King

Stephan King fans will say The Stand is his best work. In this gripping novel, "a mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 and 44/100 percent of the world's population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil." 

Poll

The Stand

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
91.2%
Adaptation!
8.8%
Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale

Blessed be the fruit! The Handmaid's Tale is a work of art and one of our favorite binge-watches of all time. Follow the story of a handmaid named Offred who finds herself in a totalitarian society named Gilead that enslaves her and the country's remaining fertile women to birth children for Gilead commanders.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The #1 NYT best-seller envisions a U.S ravaged by a Second Civil War brought on by environmental disasters and declining birth rates. A totalitarian society called Gilead takes over and enslaves the remaining fertile women to serve as handmaids to the Gilead elite. The novel focuses on the story of Offred, a handmaid who fights back.

Poll

The Handmaid's Tale

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
54.1%
Adaptation!
45.9%
HBO

Big Little Lies

Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Meryl Streep, Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern...need we say more? The two binge-worthy seasons on Hulu explore marriage, sex, parenting, friendship and murder.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

"Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal." - Amazon

Poll

Big Little Lies

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
36.6%
Adaptation!
63.4%
JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Orange Is The New Black 

The award-winning Netflix original offers a fictional yet realistic glimpse behind the bars of a women's prison during Piper Kerman's 15-month sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering. You'll fall in love with the characters' stories of strength, resilience and circumstance.

Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman

Just when Piper Kerman has it all, her reckless past catches up with her. She must serve a 15-month sentence at minimum security prison for money laundering and drug trafficking charges. The novel details her prison experience as well as the touching stories of the women she met behind bars.

Poll

Orange Is The New Black

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
20%
Adaptation!
80%
Hulu

Little Fires Everywhere

If Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are involved, we're there! The Hulu show details the surprising ways two families living in 1990s Shaker Heights are brought together by their children. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

"Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster." -Amazon

Poll

Little Fires Everywhere

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
48.1%
Adaptation!
51.9%
HBO

Game of Thrones

Although OG readers of the books had insight into the show's twist and turns for a hot minute, the HBO show veered off course from the books to give us one of the most-talked about TV series ever.

Game of Thrones Boxed Set by George R.R. Martin

Enjoy the fantasy books that inspired the hit series. This boxed set includes Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast of Crows and A Dance with Dragons. 

Poll

Game of Thrones

Which is better: Book or Adaptation?
Book!
58.3%
Adaptation!
41.7%

For more ways to unwind and upgrade your binge-watching experience, check out 20 Gifts for the Binge-Watchers in Your Life.

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