Growing up, the iconic words “once upon a time…” incited a delightful reaction in my little girl self. Anything that smacked of fairy tale origins was nearly guaranteed to be a novel I was certain to adore. As I grew up, I continued to nurture that love. It’s gotten to the point now that if anything even hints at a fairy tale, I’m sure to follow its progress. This rather inconvenient fandom has spilled over into another area of my life which is my perpetual tendency to buy all the pretty books. Because of this, I own several different retellings of popular fables.
Some of these stories reimagine our favorite childhood princess stories with a traditional style while others take a darker approach to the material. Whether it be thanks to family members who have gifted these to me or because I bought them during one of my many Barnes & Noble trips, below are a few of the fairy tale novels I’ve collected. Some of the books I have enjoyed reading, others I’ve yet to crack their spines. Since most on my shelf do happen to fall into the young adult genre, that’s where the focus will stay.
15 YA Fairy Tales on my Shelf
Listed in alphabetical order by author, from A-Z
1. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Mermaids are something I don’t see much of in fiction – YA or otherwise. This one is the first in a trilogy about mermaids. It also served as a debut for novelist Anna Banks.
2. The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett
Given how often the classic Cinderella is re-told, running across one that sounds innovative is a rarity. This one seems to fit that mold. It’s told from the stepsister’s perspective and introduces Cinderella as a spoiled, selfish child…? That’s certainly upside down from all that we know!
3. The Selection by Kiera Cass
This doesn’t fit the traditional fairy tale mode in that it’s not a re-telling of any fable per se, however, it fits the fairy tale world beautifully. It’s about a young girl, living in a dystopian world, who becomes part of a selection to find the prince a bride. Reflections of Cinderella are present, which the author considered while writing this and she was inspired by the Biblical story of Queen Esther.
4. Atlantia by Ally Condie
Ally Condie is best known for her Matched trilogy, but she also wrote what sounds like an exquisite standalone. This one is another mermaid-esque story. It’s about sirens and the underwater world that comes with that, including a mystery surrounding the lead character’s mother. This one released a year ago and is about to be released in paperback with a shiny new cover.
5. Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Though this isn’t a fairy tale in the traditional sense, there are certainly plenty of elements that qualify it as such. It’s loosely based on the Gene Kelly film Brigadoon. Doon centers on two best friends who are transported to a time far removed from their modern world. While there, they must deal with threatening witches, live in beautiful castles and of course, meet handsome princes.
6. Beastly by Alex Flinn
This is probably the first novel by Alex Flinn I read. Inspired by the film adaptation, I picked this one up and thought it a charming Beauty and the Beast retelling. Its energies are focused on the contemporary world, but the characters are delightful.
7. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Another reworking of Red Riding Hood, Rosamund’s writing is heralded as being dark. Despite that, I’m quite eager to get lost inside one of her worlds. They seem as if they’d be intriguing.
8. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
As the title suggests, Stacey’s novel retells the classic tale as old as time. Throw in what sounds to be some dystopian elements and I’m hooked.
9. The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lindquist
Twins switch lives in this “period drama” read. It’s been a long while since I read it, but I remember thinking it was a lovely read. The concept was unique and the characters fun to hang out with.
10. Remembrance by Michelle Madow
A debut novel for Michelle Madow, this novel was inspired by Taylor Swift’s song and music video for “Love Story.” I still remember thinking this was a really enchanting story. The narrative shares the story of a 21st-century high-schooler named Lizzie who feels an instant connection to the new student, Drew. Romance, time travel and a touch of magic are the themes of this duology (plus a novella).
11. Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
Though her novel, Beauty seems to be the universally liked and hyped of her books, Robin McKinley’s Sleeping Beauty-inspired tale doesn’t sound shabby at all. In fact, Booklist says it’s “full of humor and romance… a spellbinding novel.”
12. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I feel like the only person on this earth who hasn’t yet cracked the spine of this popular YA novel. It’s a Cinderella retelling with cyborgs. That’s attention-grabbing, right!? So the question remains, why haven’t I read it?
13. Waking Beauty by Sarah Morin
Ever wanted to read a humorous read that tells the Sleeping Beauty fable? Perhaps this would be the read for you. It sounds like a fun, light-hearted approach with a “daft” heroine (she has been asleep for one-hundred years!).
14. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
A princess and two men vying for her heart qualify this as a fairy tale. Whether or not it is technically classified as one, I don’t know.
15. A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
I won an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this from the publisher but haven’t read it. However, I love the idea of it being a look at what comes after the kiss and happy ever after. British debut author, Rhiannon took inspiration from Sleeping Beauty.
Which of these have you read? Do you recommend any be moved to the top of my to-be-read stack of books? What fairy tales grace your shelves? Comment down below with any thoughts…
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