The news that Catherine Hardewicke is attached to the truly tarded sounding Maximum Ride (based on the James Patterson young adult novel where half bird teens get chased by half wolf government agents. Seriously) bummed me out. She’s had a tough run of it – including The Nativity Story and Twilight – but I’ve long held out that Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown showed someone with serious talent. Hardewicke tells real stories about teens impeccably well.

Now she’s getting a chance to do something closer to that than ‘bird teens.’ She’s signed on to direct If I Stay, based on an upcoming young adult drama/fantasy novel. What’s most interesting is that she’s directing it for Summit; if you’ll remember there was some dramarama when the company didn’t ask her to come back for the Twilight sequel, New Moon, and she only learned about it while doing the press tour for Twilight. Ouch! But things have apparently been patched up, and I’ve been sent this handy dandy press release about If I Stay:

Catherine Hardwicke has signed on to direct Summit Entertainment’s IF I STAY based on Gayle Forman’s novel of the same name which will be published Spring of 2009 by Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Erik Feig, Summit’s President of Production, stated, “When we were thinking of the perfect director to capture the emotion, grace, and passion of this beautiful book, one filmmaker became the clear and only choice: Catherine Hardwicke.  Summit and Catherine have had enormous success working together on TWILIGHT and we cannot wait to bring IF I STAY to vivid life together as well.”

IF I STAY is the story of the gifted classical musician Mia and her boyfriend, Adam, an up and coming indie-rock star.  Torn between two paths in life, her art or her relationship, Mia is forced to make an even starker choice between life and death when she is caught in a fatal car accident with her family one snowy morning in Oregon.

With the combination of emotion and humor of GHOST, and foreign book rights already sold in 18 countries, IF I STAY is poised to be an international bestseller.

While technically fantasy, I like the melodramatic element of the story. That’s so teenaged. But I’d like to see this movie be much more along the lines of Dogtown than Twilight. Sure, this isn’t a movie aimed at me, but that doesn’t mean the movie can’t be well made. It kind of sounds like the emo tween version of The Lovely Bones, but with less murder and abuse.