YA Book Reviews From Amy
The Reimagining of Classics
Hello Everyone! To me it is always enjoyable to read a book that has been inspired from other works of fiction. The moment when I can connect the pieces of one story and fit them into the other is fun. I always wonder how the author is so clever reimagining a classic piece of literature. I have listed 8 Young Adult stories that are reimaginings of different classic pieces of literature. While you don’t have to read the original inspirations to enjoy these tales, it is fun if you have because you will see the nods and winks to characters, plots, and storylines that are ingenious.
Each title is available through our collection with the OverDrive or Libby App. Check it out or place a hold!
This is part one of The Reimagining of Classics; so I hope you enjoy! I have read each one of the books on this list and would recommend each one of them.
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau is an early science fiction tale about a shipwrecked man, Edward, who arrives at a mysterious island that is led by a mad professor and his creations.
The Madman’s Daughter- Megan Shepherd
Juliet, the daughter of Dr. Moreau, must leave the comforts of London when her reputation is ruined. She travels to the island her father has occupied for the past several years. On her trip to the topical island she and her childhood friend, Montgomery, save Edward from a disastrous shipwreck. When Juliet arrives, she finds a distorted world of her father’s experimentations; humanoid animals with different levels of humanity and danger. She is not safe on this island. Megan Shepherd’s retelling twists the main character to be Juliet while Edward’s story is still important. For readers that enjoy a dark gothic tale that discusses: what is human?
The series continues with Her Dark Curiosity a reimagining of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And the finale A Cold Legacy is based on Frankenstein.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
When the Dashwood family is uprooted from their home after the death of their father; sisters Eleanor and Marianne must navigate society and love. Eleanor is the sensible sister, while Marianne is the passionate one; they will both experience love and heartbreak.
Ordinary Girls- Blair Thornburgh
Sisters Plum and Ginny are completely different in how they view and handle the difficulties in their family’s financial situation. They live in a beautiful historic home that needs a lot of repairs, but their single mother struggles to find the time and money to fix it. When Plum becomes friends with popular athlete, Tate, she becomes distracted from all her problems. She can’t be distracted for too long when her family and house is falling apart. This a contemporary reimagining of Sense and Sensibility perfect for readers that enjoy a cute high school romance with an emphasis on familiar love.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre, an orphan with a tragic past, becomes a governess at a hauntingly gothic mansion that is owned by the dashing Mr. Rochester. She hears voices outside her door; there is darkness around the hall corners, and a dark past will be revealed.
My Plain Jane- Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Thornfield Hall is haunted by the supernatural. When ghost hunter, Alexander Blackwood, is partnered up with novice author, Charlotte Brontë, and her friend Jane Eyre, they travel to Thornfield to find out if the haunting is real or not. All our players arrive at Thornfield Hall and meet the dark and handsome Mr. Rochester. Will Jane find her happily ever after with him or is he more devious than we think? My Plain Jane is a hilarious retelling with laugh out loud moments and likable characters; this novel is for readers that enjoy Jane Eyre mixed with Ghostbusters.
This book is very funny; if you enjoyed this novel, definitely check out the Lady Janies other book: My Lady Jane; it is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Tess of the d’Urbervilles is about the hard life of Tess Durbeyfield. Her father claims to be a decedent of the noble family the d’Urbervilles. Forced to ask for money from this rich family, Tess is placed in a dangerous position that will change her life.
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
Tess is a mess; her family is embarrassed of her and her choice making abilities are lacking because she does not care about anything or anyone or even own life. After a difficult few years with a past-failed romance and living in the shadow of her sister and hero of the realm, Seraphina; Tess has no choice but to leave her destructive past and find herself. This is a companion book of Rachel Hartman’s other series Seraphina and Shadow Scale. This book is an important read that encapsulates the saying, “The journey is more important than the destination.”
This book has truly made an impact on my life with really important quotes and themes.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
A story told within a story, Victor Frankenstein recalls a time in which he was compelled by science to create life through death.
One of my favorite classics of all time!
Cadaver & Queen- Alisa Kwitney
Lizzie Lavenza is enrolled as the first female medical student in the 1800’s. When she isn’t busy trying to prove her worth, Lizzie finds a Bio-mechanical creation that has thoughts and emotions. This Bio-mechanical used to be prized student Victor Frankenstein. Lizzie must figure out how Victor ended up losing his humanity and if this shady plot extends to her position at school. This is a historical retelling of Frankenstein with a science fiction twist and a bit of romance.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This literary nonsense classic, Alice in Wonderland, is a portal story in which a young girl named Alice finds her way into Wonderland- a world ran by the murderous Queen of Hearts.
Heartless- Marissa Meyer
Heartless is told through the evil Queen of Hearts- Catherine. This is the origin story of how she became the insane and deadly Queen of Wonderland, but she was not always that way. Catherine is the favorite of the King of Hearts’ affection, but all Catherine would like is to fall in love and own her own bakery. She falls for Jest, the courts’ jester, but her mother has other plans for her daughter. This tragic story leads readers into caring and understanding this otherwise evil character. Fans of Meyer’s Lunar Chronicle series would enjoy this classic retelling.
Heartless is a fantastic stand-alone book that pulls from the original classic and fits seamlessly into the mythology of Wonderland.
The Scarlet Pimpernel- Baroness Orczy
During the French Revolution, Percy Blakeney lives a double life as a wealthy noble and a con artist in which he leaves his signature of a single scarlet pimpernel at the scene. The plot thickens when his wife becomes involved without knowing his true identity.
Rook- Sharon Cameron
In a futuristic Paris, history has repeated in the form of a revolution. Sophia’s arranged marriage to handsomely affluent man, Remy, is not quite what it seems because someone is leaving scarlet rook feathers at the scene of suspicious activity. Secret identities and misunderstandings help form their relationship; one of them is the rook, but who has more secrets? A fun novel that is well written with some enjoyable main and secondary characters. For readers that enjoy suspense and historical fiction even though the story is set in dystopian future.
I have yet to read a reimagining of The Scarlet Pimpernel that I haven’t enjoyed, but Rook is my favorite.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
A tale of revenge when a man is unjustly imprisoned, escapes, becomes highly wealthy, and seeks out those who have wronged him.
Scavenge the Stars- Tara Sim
Silverfish only has a couple more days left in her indentured service when she rescues a stranger out of the ocean. He claims to be the richest man in the world, but Silverfish believes that he is a liar. When he offers her a different identity with a quest to work towards, Silverfish finds herself down a path she never knew was an option. She seeks revenge of the person that had ruined her family and the one ultimately imprisoned her.
A heart-pounding adventure story recommended for readers that enjoy fantasy and strong characters.
Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, yes it’s 100 books, and yes I’m far ahead of that goal at the pace I’m going, I like to talk about what I’m reading to the 3 book clubs I am involved in. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns (looking for a good YA Western… I’m your person), Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, Dystopian, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.