It’s usually not super-exciting to be told what to read, especially when it was a book written a couple hundred years ago. There are, in fact, a ton of literary merits to these books, but that doesn’t mean they’re enjoyable to read today. But these classics have given us a beautiful thing...retellings! Modern day authors are reworking classic literature into fun, exciting, and (dare I say it?) enjoyable stories that are not only awesome to read for pleasure but could possibly help you understand the originals a little bit more.
Travelers Along the Way by Aminah Mae Safi (retelling of the Robin Hood legends)
MacMillan Publishers has a line of “remixed classics,” and this in the third in the series. Rahma and her sister Zeena have fled, by order of their commander, a battle in the Third Crusade. Rather than go home, however, the sisters decide to tackle one final mission in Jerusalem. Along the way, Rahma and Zeena pick up a merry band of misfits...and a fair bit of gold that they decide to redistribute to the people who need it most.
Pudge & Prejudice by Allison Pittman (retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen)
It’s 1984, and Elyse Nebbit has just moved to Northfield, Texas, with her family. Elyse has always been insecure about her body, and the broody best friend of her sister Jayne’s new boyfriend isn’t helping. Billy Fitz is intriguing, but he can also be kind of a jerk. Still, Elyse and Billy keep finding themselves in each other’s orbits thanks to Jayne and Charlie. But will it be Billy’s attitude or Elyse’s insecurities that keep them from happily ever after? (Side note: Homecoming mums are a real thing.)
The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis (retelling of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe)
Tress Montor used to be happy. Her family meant something in the town of Amontillado, where your family means everything. One night, all of it – her family, her happiness – disappeared. And only her former best friend Felicity Turnado knows what happened. But she can’t remember. She’ll need to, though, if she’s going to survive Tress’s attempt to discover the truth of that night. And Tress won’t leave until she has answers...or revenge.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (retelling of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare)
Shangai in 1926 – two rival gangs are running the city. Juliette is set to take her place as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Roma is heir to rival gang the White Flowers. He’s also Juliette’s first love...and first betrayal. But there’s madness spreading in the city, and the gangs are not immune. Juliette and Roma will have to work together, regardless of their current rivalry and past hurts, to put an end to a monster that will destroy the city they both want to rule.
BONUS #1: That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler
This collection of 15 Shakespearean works gives the Bard an update that includes everything from a story told through texts to a sci-fi retelling.
BONUS #2: His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler
Thirteen of Poe’s more famous works get updated by contemporary authors, and the original stories/poems are included so you can compare the two.
Classics don’t have to be boring, and it can be quite fun to compare the original to a retelling. But, just like watching the movie, don’t read a retelling in place of the original (especially for school)!