Five of the Best YA Retellings - Book Recommendations

I discovered retellings soon after I joined bookstagram, and have been in love ever since! I love seeing the author take a beloved and well-known story and turn it into their own. Some of these are lighter takes, some have darker takes, and others use the classics only as an inspiration for their own story.


All descriptions and covers are from Goodreads.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.


I discovered retellings soon after I joined bookstagram, and have been in love ever since! I love seeing the author take a beloved and well-known story and turn it into their own. My Lady Jane was written very well –– there are three different perspectives, and I am constantly laughing. I normally am not a fan of the classics, but this series makes them fun, even if they aren't historically accurate. Next year, My Calamity Jane is coming out which is an Annie Oakley story!


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To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?


I read To Kill A Kingdom a while ago, but I am still in love with the story. I thought that the characters were all developed well (Lira was easily my favorite) and I enjoyed all of the character relationships. It is a My Little Mermaid retelling, but there are different fairytales woven in as well. The characters live in the 100 kingdoms, and I am pretty sure that each kingdom is home to a different fairytale. I'm not totally sure as the kingdoms weren't really described, but I have a feeling it is something like that. I know that there are a lot of mixed reviews on this book, but I personally loved this book!


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House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.


House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. It is pretty dark which makes it the perfect winter read. The story retains the classic elements –– the worn-out shoes and tree branches with gems –– but Craig also includes lesser-known elements and her own. It does get confusing at parts and I had a difficult time following, but it all makes sense at the end. I'm pretty sure I read this one in a single sitting because the storyline is so addictive.


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The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. But that night took a turn when the sisters were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge.

When they finally returned to London, nothing had changed at all—nothing, except themselves.

Now, Ev spends her days sneaking into the woods outside her boarding school, wishing for the Woodlands. Overcome with longing, she is desperate to return no matter what it takes.

Philippa, on the other hand, is determined to find a place in this world. She shields herself behind a flawless exterior and countless friends, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was.

But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.


This book is technically inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia and deals with what could have happened to the children when they have come back from this amazing adventure and have to deal with the loss and change. There is mention of "depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, illness and disordered eating, and the loss of a loved one. It refers to possible suicide, contains scenes of violence and war, and brief mentions may be unsettling to readers with emetophobia." Weymouth wrote an amazing book! I had never stopped to consider the physiological impact on children coming back from a Narnia-like world. But now that she has asked and answered the question, I can't believe I hadn't wondered about it before. The Woodlands were confusing for me with its many different characters, but overall, The Light Between Worlds was written beautifully!


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If I'm Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labeled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labeled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegmund-Broka are some of my favorite new authors. They were recently married and write contemporary romances together. Their first two books (Always Never Yours and If I'm Being Honest) are Shakespeare-inspired. The book they have coming out in 2020 (Time of Our Lives) is not Shakespeare-inspired, but you can bet I'm reading it as soon as it comes out. I am not the biggest Shakespeare person, but I loved their take on his works. The books are light-hearted with memorable characters. A central theme in If I'm Being Honest is growth, and Wibberley and Siegmund-Broka do a great job showing this. It is laid on a bit thick at points, but all the "awwww" moments I had while reading makes up for it.


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What are some of your favorite retellings or ones that you now want to read?

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