There is nothing prettier than a classic novel sitting on your nightstand, ready to be read. The thing is, you’ve probably read it more than once already. This is why I’ve compiled a list of Young Adult retellings of some of our favorite classic novels. In these author’s hands, stories that we all know so well, have new life breathed into them, and with a few little tweaks something old becomes something new again.
1. The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
The Steep and Thorny Way is Winter’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s tragic tale, Hamlet. One of my personal favorites, this book tells the tale of Hanalee, a biracial teen in 1920’s Oregon. Winters does what she does best and mixes horror elements with the historical atrocities of the world, and leaves you wondering which is more terrifying. This book has murder, ghosts, hallucinations, The KKK, and a secondary lead named Joe, who happens to be gay. There isn’t an actual romance in this book, but Winters still gives you all the feels as she puts Hanalee and Joe together in one of the most genuine, yet interesting, friendships I’ve ever read.
2. Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
What if Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera was set in a reimagined industrial Asia, and instead of taking place in an opera house, it took place in a slaughterhouse? Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore. Fine’s Phantom retelling is a thing of magic. It keeps all the same beautiful complexities of the original novel (and the musical made after it) but also adds so much more to the story. In fact, I much prefer Wen to the original tale’s Christine. Fine uses a slight steampunk feel, and industry to drive her novel. And even if you don’t mean to, you’ll find yourself falling for The Ghost, and Melik, right alongside Wen. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this darkly captivating romance, or it’s sequel Of Dreams and Rust.
3. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
One part Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and one park alternative history, This Monstrous Thing is a tale that will keep you thinking long after you’ve put it down. In a steampunk world where some people’s limbs are rebuilt with clockwork, Alasdair does the unthinkable and brings his dead brother, Oliver back to life with the help of his romantic interest, Mary Shelley. This book is an interesting read, as it blends fact and fiction together. Giving historical details of Mary Shelley’s life, while also giving us the tale that Frankenstein would have been based on. That is, if history could be rewritten, and steampunk worlds really did exist.
4. The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik
Jane Austen fans unite! If you’re a fan of Mansfield Park, you’re bound to enjoy The Trouble with Flirting. This fun, goofy, novel might not follow the original to the letter, but it still has all the feel of Mansfield Park, if it was a rom-com, and felt more like Clueless. Franny heads to theater camp for the summer, but she’s not acting, she’s there to help her Aunt in the costume department. Soon she meets Alex and Harry. They both have her attention, but the real question is, who will leave with her heart?
5. The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Bram Stoker’s sister Evaline, and Sherlock Holmes’ niece, Mina, find themselves thrown together in The Clockwork Scarab. Not a retelling precisely, Gleason’s Stoker and Holmes novels play at the idea of what it would be like if the female decedents of the writer of Dracula, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional Sherlock Holmes became a lady detective team. Let me tell you, it’s a riot. There are also plenty of love interests for the girls, including a boy from the future who owns a cell phone, because, why not? If you want to keep up with all of Evaline and Mina’s adventures be sure to check out The Spiritglass Charade, and The Chess Queen Enigma as well.
6. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
We all know the English folktale of Robin Hood and his band of merry outlaws, so Gaughen decided to play with gender roles, and turns Will Scarlet into a maiden with a secret identity. The Scarlet Trilogy is one of the best Robin Hood retellings that I’ve ever read. Told from Scarlet’s point of view, you get to see what it’s like to live inside of Robin Hood’s inner circle. These are dark books, but they’re also hopeful, and desperately romantic. Though I have to say that what makes Scarlet, Lady Thief, and Lion Heart so good, is the fact that Gaughen makes sure that the plot is just as much about the friendships as it is about the romance.
As you can see, all of these classic retellings come highly recommended. What other novels would you have added to this list?
YouTube Channel: Bookfluence
Featured image via Miss Literati