Trending Topics in YA: Fairytale Retellings

As I’m sure most of you have noticed, fairytale retellings are hugely popular lately! I can’t even tell you how many books I’ve looked at in the past week alone that have been a retelling of a story I used to read as a child. What is the reason for the spike in retellings? I would say nostalgia plays a role–it’s nice to read something that we loved as children and brings back all of the memories and feelings that we had when our parents read us bedtime stories. Also, I think it’s really interesting to see the different spin that authors put on familiar stories and it revives a story that has grown old and somewhat boring.

I think the key to a good retelling is definitely the originality that an author can bring. For instance, Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer are retellings of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, respectively, yet the stories are completely different and original. While keeping some of the familiar aspects of the story, such as Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters or Little Red’s famous red cloak, each book offers an entirely new take on the fairytale and Meyer incorporates dystopian, steampunk, and scifi elements as well. Splintered by A.G. Howard, while not one of my favorites, also offered a new perspective on a familiar tale–Alice in Wonderland. It presents a much different version of Wonderland than either Lewis Carroll or Disney gave us, and its originality is what makes the story stand out.

Other fairytale retellings include Kill Me Softly, a book by Sarah Cross that has multiple fairytale retellings in one, Entwined by Heather Dixon, which is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Beastly by Alex Flinn, which retells the story of Beauty and the Beast.

What fairytale retellings have you read recently? Which retelling would you like to see written? I personally, would love a retelling of The Little Mermaid, which was my favorite as a child.

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