Reese Witherspoon

Roadside Attractions

Do you have a void in your heart that only yet another YA trilogy starring a pleasantly quirky but truly misunderstood teenage girl who needs to beat the odds in a mildly futuristic society can fill? Reese Witherspoon got your back.

Lionsgate, the company that brought The Hunger Games trilogy off the page and onto the screen — as four movies! — has heard about this Divergent business and is clamoring for the next YA adaptation to line up after Katniss and crew are done with their adventures. They’ve chosen “The Outliers,” an upcoming novel trilogy from Kimberly McCreight that hasn’t even hit the shelves yet — but they’ve got the film rights all lined up and Witherspoon on board to produce.

“The Outliers” follows Wylie (of course it does), a teenage girl with “great instincts” (of course she is) who puts them to use when her best friend, Cassie, goes missing. She tracks Cassie to the woods, where she’s being kept with a group called the Outliers, who claim to be able to harness Wylie’s enormous intuition and transform it into something called EQ Transference. Transfixed by this new community, Wylie quickly joins and gets overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies in front of her — the possibility of becoming the most powerful “Reader” of all.

Of course, this means that everyone and anyone are out to destroy her because of the potential of her great powers. It’s not exactly clear what a Reader does, or what being the most powerful Reader of all could mean for a mild-mannered teenage girl who’s just trying to be normal while saving her friends and family from all of society’s ills while basking in the attention of two cute boyzzz (assuming) straight from downtown dystopia (assuming, but let’s be real; things are probably bleak wherever this is set).

That Lionsgate is lining up a new YA franchise before the engines have even cooled on The Hunger Games shows that there’s no questioning how much studios are depending on the genre’s massive success. This is especially apparent given the fact that “The Outliers” hasn’t even been published yet; the studio is putting all its money behind a catchy sounding idea in the hopes that all the teens are going to get behind it by the time the movies start production. And they very well might — youths. But with the given track record for bonafide YA flops compared to successes that we’ve seen lately, it might be best to wait a little bit before Lionsgate jumps on the next bandwagon. Do you hear that whispering in the wind? It’s the ghosts of everyone who signed a contract to be in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

But McCreight’s new trilogy will likely be great. Her debut novel, “Reconstructing Amelia,” was a smash hit, and is currently being turned into a film with Nicole Kidman in the lead. Not too shabby.


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