Presenting YA RETELLINGS – an epic chart brought to you by Epic Reads. Read your way through this list of 162 young adult books that are retellings or re-imaginings of popular classic literature, myths, fariy tales and Shakespearean plays.
Fun facts about this chart:
Fun Fact #1: There are 162 books in total on this list. Yes, there are more YA retellings out there that we probably missed or couldn’t find, but this was the most our community could find!
Fun Fact #2: They are all young adult books, but some might fall into the “crossover” category with either adult or middle grade.
Fun Fact #3: There are 40 classic lit retellings, 74 fairy tale retellings, 30 mythology retellings and 18 Shakespeare retellings.
Fun Fact #4: The author featured most times on this list is Cameron Dokey with 5 books!
Fun Fact #5: This chart took about 4 months of planning and research, 4 weeks of designing and 8 hours to compose the actual post you’re reading here.
Fun Fact #5: There are 68 different colors used in the circles and lines in the design!
Click the images to view it in full size! Print versions are available for download below.
How to Download and Print
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How to print: Below is a PDF you can download from Scribd. This combined PDF includes the full wide and tall versions as well as the section breakouts. We recommend printing the full sized versions on 11 x 17 paper, but you can always print the individual sections and arrange them nicely!
Now let’s take a look at each section!
Here is the full list of YA fairy tale retellings! Each link will take you to that book’s Goodreads page. All bold titles indicate Harper titles and those will take you to their page here on Epic Reads! (From there you’ll be able to add to Goodreads!)
Fun Fact #1: Out of the twelve fairy tales, nine are from the Brothers Grimm, two from Hans Christian Anderson and one from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.
Fun Fact #2: Seven of the twelve of the fairy tales were made into Disney movies: Beauty & The Beast, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel (Tangled), The Frog Prince (The Princess and the Frog), Snow Queen (Frozen).
Fun Fact #3: We featured quite a few books from the Once Upon A Time Fairytales series published by Simon Pulse. Check out the full list here.
Beauty & the Beast
Fun Fact#1: Beauty and the Beast is the only fairy tale on this chart that was NOT written by either Hans Christian Anderson or the Grimm Brothers. The original was written in 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve but the best-known written version Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. (Source)
Fun Fact #2: The Disney version –– which is every book lover’s dream. . . I mean, THAT LIBRARY, yo –– is pretty accurate to the original story with one slight, and weird variation. In the original, Belle has wicked stepsisters who try to convince her to come home in hopes that the Beast will be mad enough to EAT HER. Wtf, indeed. (Source)
Fun Fact #3: East by Edith Pattou and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George are actually retellings of a Norwegean folktale East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon which in itself has many similarities to the Roman myth Cupid & Psyche and the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.
East by Edith Pattou
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Spirited by Nancy Holder
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
Stung by Bethany Wiggins
The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
The Little Mermaid
Fun Fact #1: The original story of The Little Mermaid was written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837!
Fun Fact #2: Dude. The original version is WAY darker than the Disney movie. In the original story not only does having human legs feel like walking on knives, but (spoiler alert!) there’s no happy ending. The prince marries a princess and she kills herself by jumping off of the ship! (Source)
Fun Fact #1: Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper, was originally written by Charles Perrault in 1697 but popularized by the Grimm Brothers in 1812.
Fun Fact #2: The mother told the evil sisters to cut their foot to fit in the slipper (one sister cut her heel!) Gross. (Source)
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
If I have A Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? by Melissa Kantor
Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey
Ash by Malinda Lo (The cover used in this chart is the UK one.)
Fun Fact #1: Rumpelstiltskin originated as German folk tales and various versions of it were collected, rewritten and popularized by the Grimm Brothers in 1812.
Fun Fact #2: There has not been a YA retelling of Rumpelstiltskin since 2008 when A Curse As Dark As Gold was published.
The Frog Prince
Fun Fact #1: In the original Grimm version of the story the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw him against a wall in disgust. What a brat. (Source)
Fun Fact #2: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis is more of a combo of various other fairy tales, but the most notable one is The Frog Prince.
The Snow Queen
Fun Fact #1: Another Hans Christian Andersen original fairy tale! The Snow Queen was first published in 1845.
Fun Fact #2: Disney’s Frozen is based on The Snow Queen but, as typical for Disney, it does deviate from the original story.
Little Red Riding Hood
Fun Fact #1: Red Riding Hood (listed below) is based on the movie starring Amanda Seyfried and Max Irons!
Fun Fact #2: This is the second Charles Perrault fairy tale we have on the list (the first is Cinderella) and was originally published in 1697 but was popularized by those Grimm Bros, who tamed the story to be a little less gruesome.
Fun Fact #3: The original folk tale, before Perrault published a version of it, is a perfect example of how dark these original fairy tales really are. In some of the earlier versions, the antagonist is not always a wolf, but sometimes an ogre or a werewolf. Also, the wolf usually leaves the grandmother’s blood and meat for the girl to eat, who then unwittingly cannibalizes her own grandmother. DIS-GUSTING. (Source)
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguié
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
Twelve Dancing Princesses
Fun Fact #1: The first fairy tale on this list that was originally published by the Grimm Brothers! Most of the time they just re-wrote fairy tales that had previously been published.
Fun Fact #2: Apparently in early depictions, the princesses were a nasty bunch who liked to give their suitors drugged wine to ensure that their mystery remained unsolved. (Source)
Hansel and Gretel
Fun Fact #1: Betwitching by Alex Flinn is another one of those multi-fairy-tale stories but it’s most notable one is Hansel and Gretel!
Fun Fact #2: Hansel and Gretel may have originated in the Great Famine in the 1300s. The famine was so bad, it occasionally caused people to do some desperate deeds like abandoning young children to fend for themselves, or even resorting to cannibalism. FUN TIMES! (Source)
Fun Fact #1: The Grimm Brothers’ popularized version is an adaptation of the fairy tale Persinette by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force originally published in 1698. (Source)
Fun Fact #1: Snow White was first published in the first edition of their collection Grimms’ Fairy Tales in 1812.
Fun Fact #2: Disney’s variation of Snow White gave the dwarfs names and included magical, moving trees and a singing Snow White. Instead of her lungs and liver, as written in the original, the huntsman is asked by the queen to bring back Snow White’s heart. (Source)
Beauty by Nancy Ohlin
Snow by Tracy Lynn
The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman
The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block
The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey
Nameless by Lili St. Crow
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
Devoured by Amanda Marrone
Fun Fact #1: This is the third Charles Perrault original fairy tale to be featured on this list. His version was published in 1697 and was, of course, popularized by the Grimm Brothers.
Fun Fact #2: The basic elements of the story can also be interpreted as a nature allegory: the princess represents nature, the wicked fairy is winter, who puts the Court to sleep with pricks of frost until the prince (spring) cuts away the brambles with his sword (a sunbeam) to allow the Sun to awaken sleeping nature. (Source)
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Fun Fact #1: Four of the five original stories were written by women: Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley.
Fun Fact #2: There’s a section in this category labeled “other.” This section contains YA retellings of classic stories, but they are the only young adult retellings that we could find. For example, The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd is the only YA version of The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells that we could find. We didn’t want to exclude these retellings because we think they deserve to be on this list, but they are so unique that they are the only ones, they get their own section!
The Great Gatsby
Fun Fact #1: Originally published in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Fun Fact #2: The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary classic and a contender for the title “Great American Novel”. In 1998 the Modern Library editorial board voted it the best American novel and the second best novel in the English language. (Source)
Fun Fact #1: Peter Pan, or Peter and Wendy, is J. M. Barrie’s most famous work, in the form of a 1904 play and a 1911 novel.
Fun Fact #2: The original novel was actually published for adults!
Alice in Wonderland
Fun Fact #1: Originally published in 1865 by author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
Fun Fact #2: While researching retellings of this classic tale, we honestly thought we would find more, but only came upon these three!
Fun Fact #1: Mary, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days about what her possible storyline could be, Shelley dreamed about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made. And then BOOM, she wrote Frankenstein. (Source)
Fun Fact #2: When the book was first published, Mary Shelley’s name did not appear on the cover and thus caused quite a bit of confusion as to who authored the book. As a result, the book wasn’t very well received when it first went to print!
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Fun Fact #1: Like other classic works on this list, The Scarlet Pimpernel started out as a play. It was published in 1903 and written by Baroness Emma Orczy.
Fun Fact #2: The original play is set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution.
1.) Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige –– The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
2.) The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd –– The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
3.) Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd –– The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
4.) Wild by Alex Mallory –– Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
5.) The Hollow by Jessica Verday –– The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
6.) Railsea by China Miéville –– Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Fun Fact #1: The earliest surviving text of a Robin Hood ballad is “Robin Hood and the Monk” in 1450.
Fun Fact #2: Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) is one of the greatest comedies of all time and if you disagree with this statement you are wrong.
Edgar Allan Poe
Fun Fact #1: Masque of the Red Death is a retelling of the Poe story of the same name and The Fall is a retelling of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher!
Fun Fact #2: Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. (Source)
Fun Fact #3: Poe’s final words were “Lord help my poor soul.”
Fun Fact #1: Of her six published novels, there are only 14 kisses in total.
Fun Fact #2: The earliest recorded use of the word ‘baseball’ in an English novel is in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey written in 1798-1799.
Fun Fact #3: Jane Austen was the first writer to use the phrase ‘dinner party.’
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (Persuasion)
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman (Pride & Prejudice)
The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik (Mansfield Park)
The Espressologist by Kirstina Springer (Emma)
The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik (Persuasion)
Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (Pride & Prejudice)
Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler (Sense & Sensibility)
Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik (Pride & Prejudice)
Fun Fact #1: There are three Brontë sisters: Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
Fun Fact #2: The sisters originally published their poems and novels under masculine pseudonyms, following the custom of the times practiced by female writers.
Fun Fact #3: Charlotte’s Jane Eyre was the first to know success, while Emily’s Wuthering Heights, Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and other works were later to be accepted as masterpieces of literature. (Source)
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta (Jane Eyre)
Black Spring by Alison Croggon (Wuthering Heights)
Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (Wuthering Heights)
Catherine by April Lindner (Wuthering Heights)
Jane by April Lindner (Jane Eyre)
Fun Fact #1: There are tons of theories about who actually wrote all of the Shakespearean plays. Some people even think there was no Shakespeare – that it was just a pseudonym used by a group of playwrights at the time. One of the most interesting theories, however, is that Shakespeare was a woman. WHO RUN THE WORLD? (Answer: girls.)
Fun Fact #2: Only men were allowed to perform in the theater. Therefore, all of Shakespeare’s characters were played by men. . .
Fun Fact #3: The only authors to appear more than once on this list are Louise Rennison and Lisa M. Klein!
Fun Fact #4: We don’t include “A” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the chart because we couldn’t make it fit! Apologies to Mr. Shakespeare.
Romeo and Juliet
Fun Fact #1: Will Shakespeare did not create this tale out of his imagination. In fact, he borrowed heavily from an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562.
Fun Fact #2: One of the earliest references to the names Montague and Capulet is from Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors
Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub
Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper
Fun Fact #1: Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play and was one of his most popular works during his lifetime.
Fun Fact #2: Sigmund Freud and other leaders in psychoanalysis studied this play religiously during the first half of the 20th century.
Fun Fact #3: Hamlet is one of the most quoted works in the English language. (Source)
Fun Fact #1: Macbeth is the only Shakespeare play that mentions a rhino!!!
Fun Fact #2: If you do say “Macbeth” in a theatre, you are meant to walk three times in a circle anti-clockwise, then say a rude word or spit.
Fun Fact #3: Verdi’s operatic version of Macbeth had an entire chorus of witches (instead of just three like in the original version) because life is always a little better with more badass ladies who can cast spells on you. (Source)
Fun Fact #1: Twelfth Night is the only Shakespeare play that includes neither of the words ‘child’ nor ‘children’.
Fun Fact #2: Twelfth Night is the only play of Shakespeare’s with an alternate name: its full title is Twelfth Night, or What You Will. The second title references the holiday season of ritualized disorder and revelry, where you can act out all your fantasies. (Source)
A Midsummer’s Night Dream
Fun Fact #1: Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet around the same time he wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare mocks tragic love stories through the escapades of the lovers in the forests and the ridiculous version of Pyramus and Thisbe. (Source)
Fun Fact #1: Mythology was probably the most difficult section to put together because a lot of the retellings aren’t full retellings, but just contain certain mythological elements. It was hard trying to decide what books to include and not include. Also, some of the books intermingle mythology with history, so again, it was a bit difficult to narrow down this one!
Fun Fact #2: The majority of the retellings were derivative of classical myths, so we broke the Greco-Roman section down even further by general and then three specific myths!
Fun Fact #1: Prophecy by Ellen Oh is based on Korean mythology, Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon is based on Chinese mythology and Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is based on Japanese mythology.
Fun Fact #1: Today, cats rule the Internet. A long time ago, they pretty much ruled Egypt. In Egyptian mythology, cats were worshipped as deities. In real life, Egyptians were so obsessed with cats that they extended the practice of mummification to felines.
Fun Fact #2: Most of the books listed below combine real historical elements and characters with Egyptian mythology.
Fun Fact #1: Frost is the sequel to Stork which appears on the fairy tales list as a retelling of The Snow Queen!
Greek / Roman Mythology
Fun Fact #1: The three myths featured on this list all involve kidnappings: Psyche was kidnapped by Cupid to be his wife, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades to be his wife, and Helen was kidnapped by Paris to be his wife.
Quicksilver by Stephanie Spinner
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Oh My Gods by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Ithaka by Adele Geras
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Hades and Persephone Myth
Cupid / Psyche Myth
Fun Fact: The Grimm brothers were trained in the Classics and used elements of Cupid and Psyche in Cinderella.
Helen of Troy
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