That’s a broad category, and a case can be made that almost everything is a retelling of some other, older story. I’m going to try and pick a few different… maybe styles? of retellings. Boy oh boy!
Top 5 is of course created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey. And as usual these are not in any specific order.
5) Indexing by Seanan McGuire
All hail the Queen!
The idea behind Indexing is that there are Narratives in the world from famous and well known stories. Snow White, Cinderella, etc. The stronger the stories and the populace at large’s perception and ‘belief’ in these stories the stronger they are in keeping their players in place. So what happens if during the retellings of these stories in day to day events that they are interrupted or mutated?
It’s a fantastic urban fantasy that Seanan serialized last year. The second series, Reflections, I think is either completed or almost completed. I’m planning on rereading this bad boy (it’s so freaking good) before marathoning the second one!
4) Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
I read this one earlier this year and just fell in love with it. It’s a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, light on the retelling and heavy on the awesome. It’s the story of a mute Tobago girl who travels far from home to escape the hand fate dealt her. The story focuses around her summer on the Oregon coast with her aunt and cousin.
This book hit all my boxes. The cast is diverse, the main character is a POC who cannot speak, and the romance was a true slow burn. Not to mention a young trans character later in the story and the strong stance members of their community takes towards her. I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend it.
3) Austenland by Shannon Hale
I read this as a retelling of almost any Jane Austen story, and I like just about everyone else, love Jane Austen. The main character, an Austen fangirl, travels away to a retreat that recreates what life would have been like in an Austen novel – thus the name Austenland. There she meets and falls for someone, but are they right for her? The movie for this was also just adorable. I recommend both of these for anyone who loves regency, romance, or Jane Austen.
2) A Tale Dark and Grim by Adam Gidwitz
I picked this Middle-grade up after YALL Fest last year because Adam Gidwitz hosted Taboo, and was hilarious. Much like Veronica Roth this year he had an ‘example’ slide of what could not be said to the authors by the volunteers. His was, of course, his name and… you know what. Look at the picture. I found it.
Suffice it to say, I was intrigued.
It is a comply wonky adventure of Hansel and Gretel that really does manage to be dark and grim. I was honestly worried for in several occasions for the character’s lives. That’s impressive. Especially for a MG. I can’t wait to finish the series, and it’s possibly one of my favorite MG retellings. That is besides the next series…
1) School for Good & Evil by Soman Chainani
Probably because I’m neck deep in the third book right now, but I have am having a huge fangirl crisis over this book. I need more people to read it and more people to read into the messages of these books. Specifically to read the same messages I’m reading. I see the stories of Princesses, Witches, and Princes being flipped on their head. Equality is being pushed, understanding between the sexes, feminism, and an emphasis on finding friendship before love. I am not nearly smart enough or clever enough to make this series sound as wonder as it is but it just is. I love it so much, in a really painful way.
The first book is the simplest, a story of two best friends Agatha and Sophie. Every year the School Master at the School for Good and Evil picks two ‘readers’ to fill new roles in their stories. One is always Evil and one Good. It seems obvious who will go where – Agatha who wears black, grew up in a graveyard and who is exceedingly grumpy (I live for grumpy characters, give me ALL of them) is destined for Evil while Sophie, covered in pink with a loving father and the gem of the village is clearly Good.
Not everything works out that cleanly though.
A side and bonus note. Not only are these so much fun but they’re physically beautiful. Just throwing it out there.