Top 10 Tuesday.
Top books to read if your book club reads _____
I almost didn’t do this one because my book club that I usually attends reads YA in general. But I feel like that’s asking what my favorite books are. But I remembered that I recently joined an online book club called “Once Upon A Read Along”. They read fairy tales once a month. So here are some of my favorite fairy tale retellings and why they are on this list. In descending order:
10) Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon. Turgeon has a series of retellings. I mentioned this one because somewhere on this list I had to have a Little Mermaid retelling. I’m all about some mermaids. And this story is an ACTUAL retelling of the little mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson, not just a story ABOUT mermaids. Also I like that it was based of Hans’ story rather than the Disney version. If you are a die hard little mermaid fan then you should read this novel.
9) The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. This is a unique retelling of multiple fairy tales where all the story characters live in the same land. It’s similar to Once Upon A Time, but for and about middle graders. I highly enjoyed the first and second book. Though I still need to finish the series. I suggest to read this for when you don’t want questions of which character is which fairy tale because they are directly named “Fairy Godmother” or “Red”. Also read this if you love Once Upon A Time. You love that all the characters are together yet their stories are tweaked. This is the story for you.
8) Damsel Distressd by Kelsey Macke. This is a contemporary retelling of Cinderella, but Cinderella is the villian. Imogen Keegan has never had a happily ever after. Ever since her mom died she has been in and out of therapy with social and general anxiety. Imogen has been labeled “emotionally disturbed.” When her new evil step sister Ella Cinder moves down the hall Imogen begins loosing her grip on the pieces she’s been holding together. So aside from the stupid renaming of Cinderella to Ella Cinder, this book was actually a great book about mental health and the relationships in family. It’s a pretty much non talked about online so I thought I would give it shoutout. PS.. It has a soundtrack, performed and written by the author’s band, that goes WITH the book. It’s amazing! Please check this out if you like tweaked fairy tales with a modern application.
7) The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Lang. I stumbled across this GEM on kindle one day months ago. It’s a Cinderella retelling as well. But what makes it unique is that the MC is from the modern world and gets sucked into the story where the characters are REAL. Also when she arrives at the world she realizes that she has switched places with one of the Evil Stepsisters and Cinderella is always that wonderful a gal. Will the Prince choose her instead? Will she interfere with the story. Read and find out. Loved this book and it’s companion novella. There is a sequel set to come out this year or next.
6) Spindles End or Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley. Spindles End is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and Rose Daughter is a retelling of Beauty and The Beast. So they tied because I’ve added them for the same reason. These are feminist retellings where the girl is the hero. She has a few more that I haven’t read but I know that these two are sound. And who doesn’t love a fairy tale turned on it’s head.
5) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. So I have ALWAYS hated the story of Peter Pan. Even the Disney movie bothered me because a) people romanticize Peter. He was a child and did child like things including: Laughing when the mermaids tried to drown Wendy, lead his friends into unnecessary danger, and pin his lost boys against each other. In most retellings he is the romantic lead. b) I hate that tinkerbell has been made into this disney princess-like idol. She was terrible. She plotted the drowning of Wendy (I’m obviously bitter about this.) She was crazy girlfriend type jealous and she also misdirected the lost boys. But Tiger Lily finally gave me a retelling that I enjoyed and one that made me understand Peter and Tinker Bell. It’s a quiet but adventurous tale that will pull at your heart strings.
4) Spelled by Betsy Schow. At heart this is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz. But within the story many other characters and tales are intertwined. Not quite like the Land of Stories because this tale focus on Dorthea Gayle Emerald, a princess who wished her parents would go away only to have them stuck in some place called “Kansas.” It’s a fun and easy to read tale that I highly suggest.
3) Wicked by Greggory McGuire. I put this here because it was what propelled me into researching fractured fairy tales. I had seen the musical so of course I needed the book. I loved that it was told from the Villain’s perspective and yet still Glinda wasn’t a villain for the sake of having a villain. This story was full of life and lit a fire in me to find more stories like this.
2) Grim Anthology edited by Christine Johnson. I LOVE this book. It’s a collection of retellings by YA authors. Not every story was fabulous but quite a few had me laughing out loud. I enjoyed that some of the retellings weren’t the normal 5 or 6 that are usually redone. The Bluebeard retelling gave me chills. As did the retelling of Donkeyskin. Ick. But the anthology is definitely worth your time.
1) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. While any of her fairy tale retellings are worthwhile, I mention this one because it was the first I ever read. It’s unique and compelling. The movie is terrible, don’t watch! But I love Ella as a character. I want to be her best friend and just hug her.
Honorable mention to
- Jackson Pearce’s books retelling fairy tales. They are pretty interesting and enjoyable
- Don’t Bet On The Prince: Feminist retellings of your favorite fairy tales.
Now I’ll ask you some questions.
- What is your favorite retelling and why?
- Also I have a deep love of The Swan Princess. Which is a filmed based off the ballet Swan Lake. If you know any book retellings of this story I would love to hear about them. Yes I watched Black Swan. It promptly gave me nightmares.
I hope you’re having a very great day and I’ll see you next time.