Fairytale retellings are making a big resurgence this season. Into the Woods hits the big screen on Christmas Day, featuring Meryl Streep as the witch who teaches lessons to Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk), and Rapunzel.
Fairytales have always held classic appeal for both children and adults. Retellings offer a little something more—a twist of the unexpected and/or unusual—offered in a compelling, timeless storyline. I have been hooked on retellings ever since discovering Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted in the late 90s, a novel (later made into a movie) based on Cinderellawherein Ella must navigate her curse of obedience.
Check out the following young adult titles for some spellbinding retellings.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – 17-year-old Nyx Triskelion is sent to marry Ignifex, the demon who controls her land. She resents her family for writing away her fate and resolves to break free by destroying the curse that entraps her homeland. Unexpectedly, she finds herself torn between choosing her land, her family & everything she left behind and the husband she was determined to hate.
Entwined by Heather Dixon – Ever since the death of Azalea’s mother, there has been no dancing. Every night, Azalea and her eleven younger sisters slip away into the Keeper’s enchanted forest where they are free to dance. However, this bargain comes with a price. “The Keeper likes to keep things.” In this retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, it is up to Azalea to fight to save her family—and herself—before it’s too late.
A Long Long Sleep (UniCorp #1) by Anna Sheehan – 16-year-old Rosalind Fitzroy opens her eyes to discover sixty years have passed and everyone she knew has passed away while she was in stasis, frozen in time. Heir to the multiplanetary corporation UniCorp, she must make sense of her new life before she loses it permanently.
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer – In the future, humans and androids live side by side. Cinder, a mechanic and cyborg finds herself in the middle of a complicated web: she is resented by her stepmother, intrigued by Prince Kai, and at the center of an intergalactic struggle.