YA is basically built on wild crazes that burn bright for a year or so — and than melt into a puddle. It used to be vampires, then hello dystopian, how we love you. And now? Fairy tale retellings! I find retellings particularly addictive because they rekindle childhood obsessions. And who can really grow out of Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood?! AM I RIGHT? (I am right.)
But where do you start? There are so many retellings out there now! SO I AM HERE TO HELP. I have made a list to help you navigate the magical world of retellings.
- CINDER: NYT bestseller and part of a quartet, starring a cyborg and a sassy robot. MUST READ.
- SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS: This is a contemporary! Also gender-swapped, if you wish to see Cinderella as an awkward teenage boy. (You totally do.)
- ELLA ENCHANTED: Medieval fantasy where the main character is cursed to do everything she’s told? Go read this now. (Also, this was around before the retelling trend! It’s hipster.)
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
- BEASTLY: In a contemporary setting, a teenage boy gets his comeuppance for being a regular jerk. The romance is creepy in this book but…hey. The original tale is kind of creepy if you think about it.
- CRUEL BEAUTY: How about the old classic tale with a spoonful of Greek Mythology? YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
- THE WRATH AND THE DAWN: Technically it’s an Arabian night retelling, buuuut…it has the famous beast/monster AND many mentions of roses. Also it’s downright brilliant.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
- SPLINTERED: This one is like Tim Burton’s 2010 “Alice in Wonderland” movie — absolutely creeptastic and addictive.
- ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND: Alice + zombies = a book you don’t want to miss.
- LOOKING GLASS HOUSE: This is written by the great-granddaughter of the Alice who inspired the original tale. How cool is that?! It’s basically a prequel.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
- CRIMSON BOUND: I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s by the same author of Cruel Beauty (which I adored) so I’ve no doubts it’s spectacular. And just look at that cover! SO BEAUTIFUL.
- SCARLET: This is the sequel to Cinder (mentioned above) and my favourite book in the series. Sci-fi! Human wolves! And Scarlet is French!
- SISTERS RED: So forget about Little Red Riding Hood being an innocent sweetie…this one is about sisters who hunt and kill werewolves. They’re awesome.
- SEPTEMBER GIRLS: This one is about mysterious blonde girls and beaches and secrets.
- THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS: I haven’t read this one yet but everyone I know swears by it’s brilliance. It features a mute girl!
- FATHOMLESS: Another epic retelling from the Fairy Tale Queen, Jackson Pearce, and while this is actually a sequel, from the two other Pearce books I’ve read, I think you can tackle it on its own.
- STORK: Apparently inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale, and Norse folklore.
- OPHELIA AND THE MARVELLOUS BOY: This is written by an Australian! It’s more middle-grade, but the story is still kind of creepy and entirely winning. It’s set in a museum, and, um, there is a magical marvellous boy involved.
- COLD SPELL: This is the finale of Jackson Pearce’s quartet and it looks shiveringly delicious.
- SECOND STAR: This is a modernised Peter Pan story with SURFING. Surfing is awesome.
- TIGER LILY: So whimsical and magical…set in a fantasy world and narrated by Tinkerbell.
- PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS: I haven’t read this one yet, but it apparently is about pirates and adventures and evil kings, so what more could you want?
These are a mere morsel to get you started! The publishing world is literally ripe with retellings. I only hope they start exploring ballets and classic literature and more history-turned-fantasy novels too. WE CAN HOPE.