I am going to throw a novel in here to match Erin’s film and suggest Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Another really excellent “boys’ novel” published periodically in a magazine called Young Folks in 1886. It’s basically a rad YA novel full of action and hardship, much like Oliver Twist, about characters adapted from real life people and stories in the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland. Nothing like a good read about people’s miserable lives getting more difficult!
Now I may be inclined towards musicals as former theater kid, but Oliver! (1968) takes the cake – er gruel – as far as adaptations go. Classic songs make a general dismal and often upsetting portrayal of poverty and injustice SPEC-TACULAR!! But not too distastefully, as the tension and plot is still well developed and palpable.
If you enjoy Victorian era novels, but maybe want to focus on a female protagonist, I suggest Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This novel covers the experience of the titular character Jane as she traverses much misfortune before finally finding her place in the world. This book not only addresses problems of the time, but also the struggle of a young woman trying to make her way and earn a living.
I also quite enjoy the adaptation of this story done by Disney, Oliver and Company (1988). This version is quite simplified and made appropriate for children. But it’s also very fun! There are cute animals and children, fun musical numbers, and it all takes place in New York City! If you enjoy children movies and light-hearted musical fun, this film is for you.