Thursday, June 22, 2017

Required Reading: YA Retellings of the ‘Classics’

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Most of us at one time or another have had to do some dreaded required reading for HS or college level English classes where we were forced to read not so interesting books. Or maybe you’re in HS right now and dreading that book you have to read over the summer for class. In any case, some people say that they’d rather watch the movie than read the book and I say, why not read the YA retelling instead? 

1. Sometimes We Tell the Truth by Kim Zarins: A retelling of The Canterbury Tales

If you’re read The Canterbury Tales, you’re probably well aware that the stories are HARD to read. Especially if you, like me, had to read them in MIDDLE ENGLISH. UGH. Give me the YA version literally any day but also why don’t we have more retellings of this classic?

2. Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine: a retelling of Romeo & Juliet

The world has been flooded with various retellings of this classic love story but I tried to choose one that isn’t ~as~ well known as the others. This cover is also gorgeous so there is that….

3. First & Then by Emma Mills: a retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Okay, to be fair, Pride and Prejudice is perfect and a novel I adore (Jane Austen is clever as fuck and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise) but YA retellings of Pride and Prejudice are 110% welcome in my humble opinion. First & Then is only one of many wonderful retellings of this novel out there. And yes, I did actually have to read Pride and Prejudice in school and am fine with that.

4. Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan: a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities

The Infernal Devices series by Cassie Clare is also technically A Tale of Two Cities retelling but I am biased so I picked Tell the Wind and Fire (biased because The Lynburn Legacy is one of my fav series EVER.)

5. Dark Companion by Marta Acosta: a retelling of Jane Eyre

I DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE this book was a retelling of Jane Eyre when I read it but after I actually read Jane Eyre, I reflected more on the novel and could appreciate Acosta even more for her brilliance in the parallels she had created. This book definitely has those gothic vibes but it takes a drastically different direction than Jane Eyre does with certain things 😉

6. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee: a retelling of Frankenstein

Frankenstein terrified me when I was a kid and it terrifies me now that I am a psuedo adult. REGARDLESS, this should be on your list because it is Frankenstein, but with a twist.

7. Great by Sara Benincasa: a retelling of the Great Gatsby

One of the major appeals of Great is that it’s a non-het retelling of The Great Gatsby!! HELL YEAH. Throw in some social media and a scandal and you have a book you won’t mind taking back home.

8. Railsea by China Miéville: a retelling of Moby Dick

Like The Canterbury Tales, not a lot of YA retellings exist for this commonly assigned book. So, we need more retellings but in the meanwhile Railsea is a good place to start.

9. Conversion: a retelling of The Crucible

TBH, at this point in my life, I keep track of a lot of classic novels by recounting retellings and since I haven’t actually read any of The Crucible, I am adding ~Conversion~ to mine. Plus, it’s set in a prep school and I ADORE books set in prep schools.

10. Going Bovine by Libba Bray : a retelling of Don Quixote

I feel like everyone has heard of Going Bovine but Libba Bray is a great person should be included on all the lists so Going Bovine it was. Also it has an adorable cover and that is all it takes on most days to get me to want/read/need/talk about anything.

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Rashika has been tired since 2013. There are very few things that spark joy for her besides a nice cup of tea, warm, baked goods, good books and good TV shows. She is here to pile onto your giant TBRs and to-watch lists. Offer her a cookie and she might be nice to you.

7 Responses to “Required Reading: YA Retellings of the ‘Classics’”

  1. Jordan Rose

    Fantastic list! I love a good retelling of a classic, so I love these suggestions. I’ve been really wanting to read some China Miéville, so I was glad to see that on the list. 🙂 Great picks!

  2. Anna

    This is such a cool list! I love adaptations and retellings — I don’t know if I could ever get through Canterbury Tales but I might give the YA version a try 🙂

  3. Cass (Words on Paper)

    This is such a great list! I’ve bookmarked this blog post so I can revisit it in the future next time I’m in a specific mood for reading a classic retelling. 😉 Thanks so much!! I like that you tried to share not-as-popular books too!

    Cass @ Words on Paper

  4. Debra Ramage

    Don’t mean to be snarky but The Crucible is not a novel, it’s a play. Still, I like your list, and I am far from YA. I am looking for a few of these to read.

  5. Rabiah

    I need to read so many of these! I love YA retellings. I loved THIS MONSTROUS THING, and I can’t wait to read a bunch of these (hopefully) soon. Great list!!