20 spellbinding fairytale retellings to get lost in

20 spellbinding fairytale retellings to get lost in

A few weeks ago, Will and I picked The Princess Bride for family movie night. Selecting the right movie to satisfy six very different viewers is no easy task, but all of my kids loved this 1980s classic. I have my theories about why The Princess Bride makes for such a satisfying family movie experience. For one, the story is familiar, reminiscent of the fairytales we’ve heard over and over. Yet it offers enough subversions to keep the viewer’s interest—not to mention the perfectly-timed, hilarious moments and wordplay.

Around the world, every culture has myths, legends, and fairytales we tell over and over. We use a familiar pattern because they’re better remembered that way.

As an adult reader, I still enjoy fairytales, though I rarely open a collection of the original Grimm Brothers versions. (And I mean original original—because I studied German, I read those in the original language!) These days I’m fond of retellings that put a new twist on familiar tropes with unexpected settings, gender-swapped roles, or surprising plot changes. The results illuminate overlooked themes and interesting connections to our modern world. The stories are familiar, but the lessons we learn from retellings feel fresh.

Today I’m sharing a mix of my favorite fairytale retellings, plus some enchanting books on my To Be Read list. I’ve included a mix of Grimm Brothers retellings, folklore, and fable-inspired stories with a distinct fairytale feel.

20 fairytale retellings to enchant every reader

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Cinder

Cinder

Author:
Each book in the YA fantasy series The Lunar Chronicles puts a new spin on an old fairy tale. In this first installment, Cinderella becomes a kickass mechanic, despised by her mother and stepsisters because she’s a cyborg. Admittedly, it sounds cheesy, but it works. Though it’s clear where the story is headed, spotting the imaginative ways Meyer reinvents the old fairy tale kept me turning the pages. It took some convincing for me to pick this one up, and I'm so glad I did. Fresh, fun, surprising, and compulsively readable. More info →
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The Snow Child: A Novel

The Snow Child: A Novel

Author:
I loved this magic-infused story about love, loss, and the wildness of nature, based on a wintery fairytale. (Hear more about the book's origins in One Great Book Volume IV Book 6). It's Alaska, 1920, the night of the first snowfall, which inspires a typically serious couple to indulge in a bit of silliness: they build a child out of snow, just for fun. In the morning, the snow child is gone, but, in a way that eerily mirrors a much-loved fairy tale, the couple spies a young girl they've never seen before running through the trees. From there, a magical and tender story unfolds. More info →
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The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel

Author:
A trip to Moscow left such an impression on Katherine Arden that when she sat down to write her book, "Russia came pouring back out." In this reimagined fairy tale, set in medieval Russia amongst snowy landscapes and magical forests, a young girl with a special gift attempts to save her family from the evil lurking in the woods. This spin on the Baba Yaga stories reminded me of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and anything Neil Gaiman. More info →
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The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood

Author:
This dark fairytale takes place in modern day Manhattan and resembles a collection of Grimm's fairytales woven together. Alice and her mom have spent 17 years on the run, trying to dodge the persistent bad luck mysteriously connected to an unnerving book of stories penned by Alice's estranged grandmother. When Alice's grandmother dies, her mother thinks they're free—until the day Alice comes home from school to discover Ella has been kidnapped, leaving behind a page torn from her grandmother's book and a note: Stay away from the Hazel Wood. But Alice has to save her mom, so she enters what she slowly begins to see is her grandmother's book of stories-come-to-life—and they suddenly look a lot more like horror than fantasy. This seriously twisted and sometimes bloody fairy tale reminds me of The Thirteenth Tale, with a dash of The Matrix. More info →
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A Curse So Dark and Lonely

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Author:
I couldn't put this one down, and I recommended it to Keren on episode 193 of What Should I Read Next because of its clever twist on a familiar story. Harper, a modern day 17 year old girl, is going through a terrible time when she gets sucked into a fantasy world. Prince Rhen, heir to the throne of Emberfall, is cursed, turns into a beast, and destroys everything he holds dear (sound familiar?). This Beauty and the Beast retelling is delightfully modern, features a character with cerebral palsy, and straddles reality and fantasy in a refreshing way. More info →
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Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

From the author of Snow White retelling Girls Made of Snow and Glass, a brilliantly imagined fairy tale featuring dangerous demons, poisonous girls, and a kingdom in peril, inspired by the Persian epic the Shahnameh. The cursed princess Soraya has been living inside her family’s palace walls—touching no one—for eighteen years. As her twin brother’s wedding day approaches, the palace guards capture a demon who may be able to tell her how to break the curse and gain her freedom. But the answers she seeks plunge her into personal crisis and political intrigue, and Soraya is soon forced to question everything she thought she knew about herself—while facing choices that may endanger not just her own fate, but that of the entire kingdom. More info →
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Cinderella is Dead

Cinderella is Dead

Author:
A brand new Cinderella retelling! I'm intrigued. Set 200 years after Cinderella marries her prince, the annual ball still serves as a matchmaking event. However, if the young women who attend don't make a match, they disappear. Sophia flees the ball early, hiding out in the castle's mausoleum where she meets Constance, a descendant of Cinderella who encourages Sophia to question everything. They create a plot to take down the patriarchal kingdom, learning more about their society as their plan unfolds. I love this book's cover, and I'm hoping for a fun page-turner. More info →
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Thorn

Thorn

Author:
The original Goose Girl fairytale is about a young woman caught between two worlds. A princess unwittingly swaps places with a maid and is forced to live as a servant, guarding the geese of the castle. Intisar Khhanani's retelling features an evil sorceress rather than a wily maid, who takes away Alyrra's identity and interrupts her marriage to Prince Kestrin. Alyrra works as a goose girl, and as she gets to know Kestrin without the trappings of her royal identity, she realizes she must take back her identity in order to save him, and the kingdom, from the evil sorceress. A satisfying retelling with Islamic culture and traditions seamlessly woven throughout the story. More info →
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The Wrath & the Dawn

The Wrath & the Dawn

Author:
An absorbing retelling of One Thousand and One Nights. Khalid, 18-year-old ruler of Khorasan, marries a new bride every night—but come morning, his bride is found dead. Seeking vengeance for the death of her friend, Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid and take his life to save the kingdom. Every night, she tells Khalid enchanting stories to hold his attention and stay alive another day. The more time Shahrzad spends at the palace, the more secrets she uncovers—and the more trust she builds with Khalid. As her feelings grow, her choices get more and more complicated. More info →
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Blanca & Roja

Blanca & Roja

This mash-up of Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Swan Lake feels wholly unique. Blanca and Roja del Cisne couldn't be more different, but they share a generations-old connection with a bevy of swans. They've been warned that someday the swans will endanger their lives with a precarious game, leaving one girl trapped in the body of a swan. When two neighbor boys get involved in the spell, the mysterious magic moves in unpredictable ways—weaving their fates together in a story that reads like an enchanting walk through the woods. More info →
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The Princess Will Save you

The Princess Will Save you

Author:
A few weeks ago, my husband and I introduced our kids to The Princess Bride for movie night, and they loved it! I'm excited to pick up this gender-swapped retelling, in which the princess rescues the stable boy. At sixteen, Amarande wants to be a warrior, not a pawn in her kingdom's politics. After refusing an arranged marriage, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love to trap her into a wedding. Of course Amarande won't let this go down without a fight, but she needs bravery and skill to save her love and the entire kingdom. While you wait for the next book in the series, pick up Henning's Little Mermaid retelling, The Sea Witch. More info →
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House of Salt and Sorrows

House of Salt and Sorrows

Author:
A delightfully dark take on The Twelve Dancing Princesses that keeps the gruesome tone of the Grimm brothers' tale. Annaleigh and her sisters live in Highmoor, a grand mansion by the sea. It should be a romantic and peaceful place, but four deaths haunt its halls, each more bone-chilling than the last. The sisters grieve, and the town spreads rumors. When visited by ghosts, Annaleigh starts to suspect that the deaths weren't accidental. Her remaining sisters keep sneaking out to dance at night, and Annaleigh is torn between discouraging their adventure or joining them to investigate. The mystery is further complicated by a stranger shrouded in secrets. More info →
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The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

A more realistic take on The Twelve Dancing Princesses, set in glittering 1920s Manhattan. Jo leads her sisters out of the house each night to dance at the speakeasy. They dance and party, avoiding their father's control until one night when the girls get caught in a raid at their favorite club, the Kingfisher. When they get separated, Jo comes face to face with a familiar bootlegger. The story follows Jo as she navigates personal choices while balancing the pressure of caring for her family. A less magical but still charming spin on the fairytale. More info →
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Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver

Author:
This ambitious fairytale tackles anti-Semitism and builds a beautifully unique world, while threading the original Rumpelstiltskin tale through the story. With six different narrators, it may take you a few chapters to get acclimated, but patience is rewarded with a tale of two kingdoms, an impossible challenge, a peasant girl, and a high-stakes quest. Novik manages to tackle timely themes in a completely enchanting fairtytale. I love my magical reads with a dose of realism, and this one delivers. More info →
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Gods of Jade and Shadow

Gods of Jade and Shadow

After enjoying Mexican Gothic on audio, I'm eager to pick up more of Moreno-Garcia's backlist. This jazz-age fairytale is inspired by Mexican folklore. Casiopea Tun spends her days cleaning her wealthy grandfather's home, but she dreams of escaping to start a new life. One day, she opens a strange wooden box in her grandfather's room, unleashing the spirit of the Mayan god of death. He makes her an offer: help him take the throne from his brother who betrayed him and earn the life of your dreams. Casiopea can't resist the allure of adventure, even if failure would surely lead to death. She sets out on a journey that takes her far away from home and into the Mayan underworld. More info →
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Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairytale

Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairytale

Author:
A fangirl fairytale? Yes, please. Around here, we use terms like "geek" and "nerd" with affection. This Cinderella retelling celebrates geek and fandom culture with a delightful romance and plenty of quirky nerd references. Elle Wittimer lives for Starfield, a classic sci-fi show (think Star Trek). She enters a cosplay contest to win a ticket to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and to meet the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in a reboot of the famous series. But will her stepsisters get in the way? Meanwhile, actor Darien Freeman struggles to accept his newfound fame—until he meets a superfan that changes his mind. More info →
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A Blade So Black

A Blade So Black

Author:
This Alice in Wonderland retelling sounds intense. After a near-death experience, Alice trains to combat monsters in the dark, dream-like Wonderland. But in real life, she's a regular teen with an overprotective mom and a sliding GPA. She doesn't have time for her best friend or school when fighting the Nightmares takes up all of her free time. When her mentor is poisoned, she must leave real-world Atlanta behind and travel deep into Wonderland, further than she's ever gone before. A kick-ass heroine (literally) and an action-packed retelling. More info →
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Spindle’s End

Spindle’s End

Author:
This Sleeping Beauty retelling is part of McKinley's Folktales series, a well-loved collection of retellings for fairytale fans. The premise is familiar: an evil fairy curses a princess to prick her finger and sleep and endless sleep. McKinley adds a few surprising twists to the original tale, but the magic is in the detailed world she creates with vivid descriptions of the setting and creatures. The narration makes this feel like a classic fairytale. More info →
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Once & Future

Once & Future

The legendary myths of King Arthur might not be considered traditional fairytales, but magical quests land them in the same category for me. This retelling of the famous Excalibur legend takes place in outer space. Ari is deemed the next incarnation of King Arthur after crashing to earth and pulling a sword from the stone. Soon, she meets Merlin and they embark on a quest to take down not a mythical creature but an evil and oppressive government. And a curse, for good measure. More info →
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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Author:
An East Asian fantasy that reimagines the legend of The Evil Queen, a common character in many fairytales. Xifeng is a beautiful young woman destined for greatness. Her aunt, a witch named Guma, has read her future. If Xifeng allows herself to be pulled towards darkness, she has a chance to become the Empress of Feng Lu. Is she willing to sacrifice love, happiness, and magic for the throne? This twisted fantasy will have you questioning who to root for as ambition and evil go hand in hand. More info →
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Do you have a favorite fairytale retelling, or perhaps a myth or legend? Do share in the comments, and help us build our TBR lists.

P.S. Want a magical escape that’s still grounded in the real world? Try one of these 15 fantasy novels that are grounded in reality. Or take an armchair vacation to England or New York City with our literary tourism book recommendations.

20 spellbinding fairytale retellings to get lost in

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  1. Carrie says:

    I absolutely recommend any of Kate Forsyth’s historical fiction/fairytale retelling hybrids. Each one is amazing, but my favorite is Bitter Greens, her Rapunzel retelling.

  2. Debbie H says:

    Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red that left me haunted. I read it years ago, but still think about it weekly.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Fairest by Gail Carson Levine is one of my favorites. It’s a lovely Snow White retelling. Excellent on audio with a full cast of narrators.

  4. Kara says:

    I love The Snow Child! I got caught up in the novel early on, and it held my attention and imagination all the way through. It keeps you guessing what’s real and what’s not until you realize there are more important questions than reality. I’ve recommended this book to several friends!

  5. Reb Mayes says:

    Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson is one of my favorite books out there. It’s so haunting and beautifully written, and is one of my favorite book gifts to give any reader.

  6. Krista says:

    Goose Girl by Shannon Hale! Absolutely loved it! It is a Brother’s Grim tale that I haven’t seen or read an adaptation of until this year.

  7. Sally says:

    I think my family’s favorite fairytale retellings have been The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale (first one is loosely based on The Goose Girl), which both my girls and my boys have loved, Princesses of Westfalin by Jessica Day George, Tyme series by Megan Morirrison (fun new twist on several different fairy tales), Hunted by Megan Spooner and Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.
    And I actually enjoyed Uprooted by Naomi Novik better than Spinning Silver

  8. Sara EB says:

    Seanan McGuire’s works are mysterious, magical, and will completely envelope you. I recommend starting with Every Heart a Doorway, the first book of the Wayward Children series.

  9. Cady says:

    The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is a stunning, joyous book, ticks almost every box on ‘fiction I wouldn’t normally pick up’ but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  10. Ashling says:

    I love pretty much every fairytale retelling from Robin McKinley and Juliet Marillier. I can’t wait to read The Princess Will Save You.

  11. Alison says:

    Thank you for this list! Detective novels and fairy tales have been my go to comfort reads during this crazy year! Some of these will definitely be added to my TBR.
    Sometime I would love some recommendations on myth retellings along the lines of Neil Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology.”
    Loved that but don’t know where to go next.

  12. Sarah C says:

    I recently read Dust by Kara Swanson, a retelling/continuing story of Peter Pan. It’s one of my top 5 of 2020. She does an amazing job of creating new characters in the world we know, and creating depth in familiar characters.

  13. kfrazier says:

    Adam Gidwitz: A Tale Dark and Grimm. Written for young readers, it’s fantastic! A mashup of several fairy tales, with an intrusive narrator, dark humor, and quotable lines galore.

  14. Dianne says:

    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker is a wonderful fantasy tale with a lot of reality in it too.
    Piranesi by Susanna Clarke is another fantasy reality tale that I loved.

  15. Becky says:

    Another Marissa Meyer novel that I loved was Heartless. It’s basically an origin story for Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts. I think it is a bit underrated compared to The Lunar Chronicles, which I also loved.

    • Katie says:

      I bought this book, pretty much because of the cover. It’s still on my unread shelf, but I’m excited to read it! I haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles yet either, but it’s on my list.

  16. Jill says:

    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. My teen loves the others in that series as well, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born, but I’m still reading them and don’t know how they are yet.
    She also enjoyed Jessica Day George’s Princesses of Westfalin series Princess of the Midnight Ball (a 12 Dancing Princesses retelling), Princess of Glass (which takes one of the 12 dancing sisters and gives her her own story in a Cinderella retelling), and Princess of the Silver Woods (another of the 12 dancing princess sisters in a Red Riding Hood retelling). Jessica Day George also does a retelling of the Nordic tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon in her book Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. My daughter could not put that one down.
    In college I encountered and adored Robin McKinley’s Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
    And Heather Dixon’s Entwined was an enjoyable visit to the story of 12 Dancing Princesses after their mother’s death.
    Heather also wrote a retelling of the Nutcracker, titled Enchanted Sonata, but I haven’t read that yet.

  17. KT says:

    So many good recommendations on this list. This is a favorite genre of mine. A perfect, lovely gem of a book that is little known is M.M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess. It’s usually published with some horribly unappealing juvenile cover, but the original illustrations are sumptuous and the story is charming. It’s probably my favorite fairy tale book of all time. A book I would recommend for fans of The Bear and The Nightingale and Spinning Silver is Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. It is an Eastern European / Jewish retelling of Sleeping Beauty / Baba Yaga. It is so good! To continue the Shannon Hale / Robin McKinley rec’s Book of a Thousand Days (Hale) and Beauty (McKinley) are great. I also enjoyed The Snow Child and Gods of Jade and Shadow (the latter is more fantasy than fairy tale…and a little macabre but definitely not horror like Mexican Gothic. I liked it much better than MG. It’s so original and I loved the setting). And finally, I can’t recommend Goldman’s book The Princess Bride enough! It is hilarious (more comedy than fairy tale, so maybe not for this list)! Cary Elwes’s we memoir As You Wish is also excellent for fans of the movie. I highly recommend the audiobook (read by Elwes) as untold numbers of the cast make cameos. I love this topic so much and am excited to try some of the books you recommend!

    • Suzy says:

      I just looked up The Ordinary Princess and it looks delightful! I loved The Far Pavilions, and didn’t know she wrote anything for children.

  18. Patricia says:

    I’m re-reading “His Fair Assassins” trilogy by Robin Lafevers. Set in the dukedom of Brittany with the old gods disguised as saints at a time of great struggles for the very young duchess trying to protect her dukedom and her people. With the assistance of a nunnery of highly trained assassins.

  19. Katie says:

    I definitely recommend the Ravenspire series by C.J. Redwine. It’s YA and I think it would be great for younger readers as well. There are no “romance” scenes as I find in a lot of YA these days. The first book is The Shadow Queen – a snow white retelling. Other books in the series include retellings of Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, and The Prince and The Pauper. All of the books are standalone, but do read in order if you want to catch Easter eggs in later stories.

  20. kara says:

    Everland Series by Wendy Spinale! The audiobooks are awesome! This is a steampunk style Peter Pan retelling. And not really for young kids, it’s more like the original Peter Pan as opposed to the Disney Peter Pan.

  21. Katie Pritchard says:

    One of my favorite fairy tale retellings ever is Angela Carter’s short story, “The Bloody Chamber,” a retelling of Bluebeard. Definitely dark and not for kids, but then neither were the original fairy tales.

  22. Adrien says:

    Ah thank you so much for this list! I second the Bear and the Nightingale, and if you’re into Russian folklore I recommend Deathless as well. It’s about the Koshei the Deathless and incorporates Baba Yaga.
    And like another commenter said, I think Uprooted is better than Spinning Silver. Love it so much. Finally, I reread Ella Enchanted every year. It’s just such a magical and beautiful story.

    • Rachel E. says:

      That’s so funny as I LOVED Spinning Silver compared to Uprooted. I think the sexual power dynamics in Uprooted were just too ugh for me where Spinning Silver allows Miryem to be the one making all the difficult decisions instead of being yanked around by an ancient wizard.
      Heads up, Novak came out with a new book this month and it is NOTHING like Uprooted and Spinning Silver. I was deeply disappointed in it for several reasons (veering on horror, poorly paced, racist language and depictions). I wouldn’t have believed Novak wrote it if not for her name on the cover as it is such a departure.

      • KT says:

        I agree completely on Spinning Silver and Uprooted. I liked the protagonist but hated the sexual power dynamics. I think Uprooted was a stronger book overall, but I enjoyed Spinning Silver more.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with Katie – Carter’s whole collection, The Bloody Chamber, is beautifully written, whip-smart, chilling, and the perfect blend of the traditional and the contemporary. My favorite story from it is “The Company of Wolves,” a retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” (but it’s hard to choose just one). Perfect for All Hallow’s Read!

  24. Amy Reasoner says:

    I just recently read the Twelve Dancing Princesses series by Jessica Day George and really liked it. Both of Robin McKinley’s retellings of Beauty and the Beast are terrific. And it’s middle grade, but Ella Enchanted will forever be one of my favorite books. (If you didn’t like the movie, don’t let that stop you. They’re not the same story at all.)

  25. Danica says:

    I just read Elizabeth Lim’s Blood of the Stars Duology (Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk). Another favorite was Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose – which combined the story of Sleeping Beauty and the Holocaust. Fairytale/folktale/mythology retellings are one of my favorite genres and I am enjoying expanding into those mythologies and folktales that I don’t know as well from other cultures.

  26. katherine Hardee says:

    I recently finished Girl,Serpent, Thorn from our SRG. It was excellent!
    I especially enjoyed reading the author’s notes. She researched her own Persian heritage and utilized language and symbols from the ancient culture in her story. So clever.

  27. Elisha G. says:

    I would recommend Winter Rose by by Patricia A. McKillip is a retelling of the Scottish fairytale, Tam Lin. Her writing is magical. I also love Tam Lin by Pamela Dean which is set at college in the 1970s.

  28. Johnna says:

    I loved “Far Far Away” by Tom McNeal. I think I learned about it on this podcast and listened to it on audiobook. It is SO delightful!! I actually went out and bought it because I new I would want to read it again.

  29. Sarah says:

    I really like the Disney Hyperion Twisted Tale series. They are YA. I would say ages 9-12 would love them. I read them as quick reads in between super serious stuff. My favorite is Reflection: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim. In the Disney animated Mulan movie, Milan saves her commander who is near death. This tale imagines if Mulan went to the underworld and with the help of her ancestors actually saved her commander from death by bargaining and battling spirits.

  30. Emily G. says:

    Okay, I read all the comments and didn’t see this one – “Echo North” by Joanna Ruth Meyer. I read it more than a year ago, and it still is with me! The story is based on the legend of the Four Winds with a little Beauty & The Beast thrown in. I loved it, the characters were very engaging and the writing was lyrical and moving. Look it up if you have the chance!

  31. gamma says:

    I have to give a shout-out to The Woodcutter Sisters series by Alethea Kontis. The first is Enchanted, in which Sunday (the sisters are named after the days of the week) does the Princess and the Frog. A delightful series.

  32. coco says:

    i just want to say that I absolutely love your book “i’d rather be reading!” it spoke to my heart! I read it in one day and want to re read it already! 🙂

  33. Megan E Bandt says:

    The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. It’s my favorite retelling of the Cinderella story. Her prince turns out to be too young and she decides to do something about it.

  34. Jessica says:

    These look wonderful! What about Angelfish by Laurence Yep? I have not re-read it in years but I remember enjoying it quite a bit as a teenager. It plays on the themes of Beauty and the Beast with some interesting changes.

    East by Edith Pattou is also a fun read–a re-telling of the East of the Sun, West of the Moon fairy tale (of which there are a few variants in Grimms.)

  35. Erika says:

    Angela Carter is a given – but so is pretty much anything by Tanith Lee. Start with Red as Blood (Tales from the Sisters Grimmer)

  36. Ann says:

    I recommend the amazing book, “Briar Rose” by Jane Yolen. It is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story. The main character is an old woman who is a Holocaust survivor. Her family does not know her history, but as her granddaughters grow up, she tells them the story of Briar Rose. When she dies, she tells her granddaughter that she is really Briar Rose and encourages her granddaughter to seek the truth in the fairy tale. Her truth is revealed layer by layer. I read this book long ago, and it has never left me. A beautiful, haunting story!

  37. Erin says:

    The Beast’s Heart by Leigh Shallcross is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, from the Beast’s perspective. I’m a middle school reading teacher so I thought the juxtaposition of the Beast’s perspective with the original story was so fascinating!

  38. Kathryn Owen says:

    Anne, if you’ve not read it I’d recommend Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth. It illustrates how certain themes that show up across cultures – like the hero’s journey – reflect common beliefs and aspirations. It’s not that these themes repeat to make them easy to remember; they reflect central concerns of being human. No matter when and where you live.

  39. Emma says:

    What a great list! I’m going to add two Australian fantasy fables that I’ve recently devoured, ‘Flyaway’ by Kathleen Jennings and ‘The Rain Heron’ by Robbie Arnott.

    I’d describe ‘Flyaway’ as “Australian bush Gothic magical realism creepy folksy fantasy fairytale fable infused with wildlife”!’The Rain Heron’ is an equally magical and moving mixture of fantasy, myth and horror.

    Hope they both make their way to the US soon…

  40. Lydia says:

    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly is certainly missing from this list. A beautiful, dark and uncanny story mixing a lot of different fairy tales. Plus the cover is stunning!

  41. Rebecca says:

    I love Jennifer Donnelly. She has a new book out that fits into this category: Poisoned. If it’s as good as her previous writing, it will be worth reading!

  42. Eva says:

    Have to add ‘Ash’ by Malinda Lo, a Queering of the Cinderella fairytale, an early And important one for that particular genre. And Sarah J. Maas’s ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’. Both are technically YA, though all Sarah J. Maas books push that boundary! Both are so good and such deft retellings!

  43. Jill says:

    I’m so happy that Cinder is your first recommendation! I read that book reluctantly but then I had to get every single book in the series right away. I also loved Spinning Silver. I love your lists, and my TBR is getting out of hand!

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