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YA Book Reviews From Amy

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which YA book is the fairest one of all? This week I have compiled a list of 8 fairytale retellings; I have chosen 4 individual fairytales with 2 selections for each. One choice is a darker- twistier version of that particular tale and the other is more in vain of the classic “happily ever after.”

Each title is available through our collection with the OverDrive or Libby App. Check it out or place a hold!

I have read each one of these books on this list and I have enjoyed them all. Get ready to attend these hauntingly twisty tales.


Cinder- Marissa Meyer
The Twist: Cinderella meets space opera in a fantastic series of different fairytales. Cinder is living in secret, seen as barely human to her stepmother and sisters; she is part human and part cyborg. She lives in New Beijing as a mechanic when Prince Kai visits her to repair an important robot that might save their country. But when she does, Cinder ends up getting entangled in a deadly plot becomes the scape goat. Will Cinder save New Beijing? Will Prince Kai figure out her secret? Will the evil Lunar Queen be stopped? Find out by reading this futuristic science fiction retelling of Cinderella.

Continue with the Lunar Chronicles: Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White).


Stepsister- Jennifer Donnelly
The Twist: You all know that in Cinderella ends up marrying the prince, but what happened to her ugly stepsisters after the happily ever after? Isabelle, one of the stepsisters, has struggled to live up to her mother’s expectations; she has given up much of her soul (and toes) to be the doting daughter that will become a devoted wife. Isabelle does not want this life set for her, and when she gets the chance to change her destiny, she will take it. Isabelle will become a leader and fight for her country. Inspired by the dark and bloody original tale, Stepsister is a quest to understand one’s fears and conquer them to become their true self.

Twelve Dancing Princesses

Entwined- Heather Dixon
The Twist: The Twelve Dancing Princesses, or The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces by the Brothers Grimm is a tale about 12 sisters who are mourning the death of their mother. They must don black dresses and are unable to go outside or participate in courting or balls. When the king, the girls’ father, is sent to fight in the war, Azalea (the oldest sister) is in charge. The sisters find  enchanted stairs that lead them to a pavilion in which they dance to their hearts desire, making their shoes fall apart. This dark enchantment prevents the girls from telling anyone and it becomes a quest for someone to figure out where they go every night. This novel is beautiful retelling that has a feel of a historical fiction with a bit of fantasy.


House of Salt and Sorrows- Erin A. Craig
The Twist: A dark and atmospheric retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses tale in which Annaleigh is surrounded by death and despair. Annaleigh is one of twelve sisters and her fourth sister just died under mysterious circumstances; everyone is telling her that it was an accident, but Annaleigh is convinced that her sister was murdered. A couple days after the funeral, Annaleigh and her sisters find a secret entrance that magically transports them to surrounding countries to attend their dances. There is a dark force that is compelling the sisters to dance every night, destroying their shoes and their minds. Can Annaleigh save them or has she lost her sanity in the process? Read this dark retelling if you like psychological thrills with a tad bit of magic.

Aladdin/Arabian Nights

The Forbidden Wish- Jessica Khoury
The Twist: Aladdin finds the jinni’s lamp, but inside the lamp is Zahra, a jinni that has been trapped for 500 years. Zahra used to be human, but she is stuck as a jinni unless someone asks for the forbidden wish: a wish for her freedom. Every wish has an unforeseen and terrible cost and the cost of the forbidden wish is death upon the wisher. Zahra begins to help Aladdin, a thief that was lead to her by an enchanted ring. She grants his wish for revenge against the royal family by infiltrating the palace by becoming a prince. There is only one wish left and it will be deadly. For readers that enjoy romance and political intrigue within a fantasy world.


The Wrath & the Dawn- Renee Ahdieh
The Twist: When a girl enters the palace of the monstrous king, Khalid, she never returns. Every night Khalid takes a new bride and every morning the brides are dead. Shahrzad just lost her best friend at the hands of Khalid; she decides to seek vengeance by offering herself to him. But Shahrzad has a plan; she begins telling him irresistible tales that intrigues Khalid until he falls asleep. Unable to kill her, Shahrzad survives the first night and lives for another day to learn of his weaknesses and plans to destroy him. She learns more about him than she imagines and begins to understand him—feel sympathy for him. Will she seek out revenge or will she fall in love?

Once finished, check out the sequel: The Rose and the Dagger.

Beauty and the Beast

A Curse so Dark and Lonely- Brigid Kemmerer
The Twist: Prince Rhen is cursed to relive the autumn of his eighteenth year after being enchanted by an evil enchantress. The only way to break the curse is to have someone fall in love with him. In his final chance, his guard, Grey, decides to travel to Earth to find the appropriate girl for the job. Harper, a girl with cerebral palsy, is at the wrong place at the wrong time when she notices a man try to kidnap a girl. Harper fights the would-be-kidnapper only to be transported to a fantasy realm. Grey accidently takes Harper and now Harper is the only one to break the spell. But how can you love someone with an ugly sou1?


East- Edith Pattou
The Twist: A retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, East is about a girl, Rose, that leaves behind her home with her family for an adventure with a white bear. The white bear is able to communicate with Rose through her mind that makes Rose believe he is more than just bear, maybe he is a man stuck in this bear form. This book has “Far off places, daring sword fights, a prince in disguise.”

Years later Edith Pattou has returned to this tale with the novel: West


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, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.