YA Fairy Tale Retellings: Where Do You Start?

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.



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  • 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.)


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  • 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.



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  • 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.



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  • 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.



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  • 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.



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  • 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.



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  • 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.

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Cait Drews

Cait Drews is writer, book blogger, and reader extraordinaire. She's been blogging for 5 years, reads 200 books a year, and has written over fourteen YA novels. She is usually found hugging her bookshelves and she often eats full books before breakfast.

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