12 YA Books That Reimagine and Reinterpret Classic Stories and Characters
Some stories from the past become obscure and get forgotten over time, but others are so compelling that they are passed on from generation to generation. If you're looking for a new twist on a classic tale, check out the twelve books listed here, which take their inspiration from fairy tales, Shakespeare plays, and more. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Young Adult Novels Based on Classic Stories: Our 12 Picks
8 Great Films Based on Classic Tales
- West Side Story (1961)
- Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
- Clash of the Titans (1981)
- Into the Woods (2014)
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
- Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
- Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
What is Mythology?
Classic stories stay with us because of their endearing characters, timeless plots, and moving themes. For many authors, these books created a lasting impact and are why they decided to become writers. By giving a new spin to their favorites, authors can introduce them to a whole new generation. Here, in no particular order, are twelve inventive young adult books that reimagine and reinterpret classic tales.
In the #1 spot, "Fallout" by Gwenda Bond is the first book in the "Lois Lane" trilogy. When Lois begins high school in Metropolis as a new student, some of her overly dramatic classmates aren't about to let her inside their cliques. But using her skills as a reporter and the help of an internet friend named SmallvilleGuy to solve a mystery, Lois Lane just might find a place for herself in this town.
At #2 is "I, Claudia" by Mary McCoy, which reimagines the main character from Robert Graves' "I, Claudius" as a modern woman who finds herself in charge of an elite private high school in Los Angeles. Will the power corrupt her, or can she make a real difference in the lives of the kids? With tumultuous school politics and a scandal a minute, "I, Claudia" is as witty and biting as the original.
Will the power corrupt her, or can she make a real difference in the lives of the kids?
At #3 is "Much Ado About Something" by Michelle Ray, which imports Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" to a modern setting. This contemporary romance switches perspectives between the independent Beatriz and the teasing Ben. These two refuse to get along, but when Beatriz's cousin Hope begins classes at the same high school, she can't help but meddle in everyone's affairs.
The #4 pick is "Chasing Odysseus" by Sulari Gentill, which offers a new perspective to Homer's epics. The first book in the "Hero Trilogy," a young Amazonian named Hero and her three brothers decide to defend their murdered father's honor by chasing Odysseus' ship across the sea. Vengeance won't be easy, as the siblings encounter nonstop danger along the way, sometimes made worse with the intervention of the gods.
For #5, "The Cinderella Moment" by Jennifer Kloester reimagines the beloved fairy tale in the modern fashion scene. Angel Moncoeur, a housekeeper's daughter, dreams of becoming a fashion designer. But with no money and no connections, she has little chance of ever seeing her dream come true. That is until an opportunity arises to pose as her best friend Lily and enter the Teen Couture contest. And that's where Prince Charming comes in. If Angel can keep all her secrets from unraveling, she might just land the happily ever after of her dreams.
If Angel can keep all her secrets from unraveling, she might just land the happily ever after of her dreams.
Our #6 book, "Robin: Lady of Legend" by R.M. ArceJaeger, reinvents Robin Hood as a rebellious, independent teenage girl who detests the idea of being shackled by marriage. To escape her father's plans for her, she flees home and becomes an outlaw in Sherwood Forest, disguised as a man. When she spots a wrong that must be righted, so begins the legend of Robin Hood.
At #7 is "Damsel Distressed" by Kelsey Macke, which reinvents "Cinderella" from the perspective of a minor character. Plus-sized and labeled as "emotionally disturbed," Imogen Keegen has given up on ever having her own happily ever after. When her stepsister Ella Cinder moves in, things go from bad to worse. After her private thoughts are revealed to everyone she knows, Imogen must find the courage to take the starring role in her own story.
The #8 book, "Far from Agrabah" by Aisha Saeed, offers a new story in the world of Disney's "Aladdin." Young readers and fans of the film will appreciate how this book expands on the events of the movie during Aladdin and Jasmine's first magic carpet ride. With the genie's magic, Jasmine's intelligence, and Aladdin's mischievousness, this tale originally inspired by "A Thousand and One Nights" takes on new dimensions.
Young readers and fans of the film will appreciate how this book expands on the events of the movie during Aladdin and Jasmine's first magic carpet ride.
For #9, "Lizzie" by Dawn Ius is a chilling, modern reimagining of Lizzie Borden's life. Lizzie, a shy girl, dreams of becoming a chef. Her life isn't easy, with oppressive parents and a medical condition tied to her menstrual cycle that causes blackouts. When charismatic Bridget Sullivan starts working as a maid at Lizzie's parents' bed and breakfast, the two quickly develop feelings for one another. But after Lizzie's parents forbid their love, her sanity begins to slip.
At #10, "Dreamers Often Lie" by Jacqueline West takes a modern setting and braids together three of Shakespeare's most popular plays: "Hamlet," "Romeo and Juliet," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." When Jaye wakes up after a skiing accident, she finds herself hallucinating characters from Shakespeare. Nonetheless, she's determined to continue acting in her school's plays and tells no one. Everything comes to a head when a very real Romeo walks into one of her classes.
At #11 is "Wrong in All the Right Ways," the debut novel by Tiffany Brownlee that retells the nineteenth-century classic "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. A forbidden love has developed between sixteen-year-old Emma and her foster brother Dylan. They try to keep things a secret for fear of hurting Dylan's chances of finding a permanent home, but with Emma's parents considering adopting him into their family, the truth may soon come out.
A forbidden love has developed between sixteen-year-old Emma and her foster brother Dylan.
Finally, at #12, we have "Chemistry" by C.L. Lynch, a snarky reimagining of the modern hit "Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer. Stella isn't your average teen heroine. She's got a big body, a big personality, and a filthy mouth. She doesn't want anyone to get too close to her, but when the shy, awkward, and mysteriously Howie Mullins falls in love with her, she might rethink her policy. That is, until hordes of undead start showing up on her doorstep.