Fairytales/Myths/Folklore That Should Be In Young Adult Retellings More

It’s pretty obvious that certain fairytales and mythology are more saturated in media than others.

Greek mythology, anyone? (@ uncle rick I love you but still)

There are a lot of Western-centric fairy tales that, in my opinion, we already have a lot of retellings:

  • Peter Pan (there’s only one Peter Pan retelling that I stan and it’s May’s wip)
  • Sleeping Beauty (surprisingly enough, there are a lot of retellings of Sleeping Beauty when the Disney movie had like. no plot at all???*)
  • Snow White (the only song I acknowledge from Snow White is the Hi-Ho song that the dwarves sing. and I only acknowledge the first 10 seconds of it because I forgot the rest.)
  • Beauty and the Beast (tbh I actually freaking love Beauty and the Beast. Just look at the Beast’s library.)

Also, a lot of the books that I show as examples I haven’t… actually… read. But I’m showing them because why not. Some of my “examples” section only include one book… but that’s why we need more retellings! (Look, there’s even evidence that there’s not enough retellings. I’m so factual.)

*Actually though. The Disney movie was literally: *girl meets prince* *girl succumbs to enchantment* *girl saved by prince* that’s literally it.

{as always all covers link to respective goodreads pages}

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the evil queen

I’m pretty sure that the evil queen is just the figure within Snow White and we don’t have a specific fairytale written out for her* but I still need evil queen stories.

Anyways, I love stories about antiheroes and morally gray characters hello. I’m here.

Image result for evil queen gif
me holding my copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

*unless we do. then I NEED IT.

examples

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a retelling but set in China. I??? Love it?? Also this was actually one of my most anticipated for 2017 and then I got an advance copy and then I… never… actually… read it.*

An amazing retelling is Girls Made of Snow and Glass, which is a part Snow White retelling and part Evil Queen retelling and it’s dual narrated!! It’s a feminist female friendship based story and it’s so cute and sweet and happy I love it.

*wow fake fan @ me

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one thousand and one nights

I remember being in China and going to the bookstore and reading this one children’s book that was in Chinese but I honestly couldn’t read half of the words… anyways I’m 50% sure that one of the stories I read was One Thousand and One Nights!

But also I could only understand half of the words so who knows. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyways, I have only seen this tale told in mainstream young adult fiction a total of… two times. And this literally has so much potential for a ya story? HAVE YOU SEEN THE WRATH AND THE DAWN because it was amazing.

examples

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The Wrath and the Dawn is one of my. favorites. I love Renée’s writing and this is actually one of my first ventures into the chasm that is young adult retellings!!

I actually dnf’d A Thousand Nights… but I probably just wasn’t in the mood for it and the cover’s really pretty so I think I’ll try again and hopefully love it?

Apparently One Thousand and One Nights is actually between a retelling and an outright translation of the works, but the covers all look so amazing and I’m here for it.

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baba yaga

Wow I was just about to write “the first time I read the story of Baba Yaga was when I was in kindergarten and we read the spaghetti version” but then I looked it up and apparently they are two. separate. tales.

#MyMemoryIsAmazing

The one I read in kindergarten was actually Strega Nona. I honestly would love to eat a ton of pasta though.

So technically the first time I read the official Baba Yaga story was never. But as for retellings, my first was Vassa in the Night then! (Also I think The Language of Thorns had a short story that was inspired by Baba Yaga? Or it at least reminded me of it.)

examples

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Vassa in the Night is a really interesting modern retelling of this! The main character travels to a supermarket instead of… wherever they travel to in the original tale. Also, Sarah Porter is releasing a faerie novel next year that sounds really good… I’m probably just going to look at Melanie’s review to see whether or not I’ll read it.

I haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale but can we just take a second to appreciate this cover?? I love this version of the cover so much and it looks so whimsical and completely reminds me of the cover of Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence.

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sun wukong

You already know why I’m including this.

Also, I think the Sun Wukong tale was like 50% of my childhood. I used to watch the animation and the live-action show and I forget everything except for the peaches and the horribly rude leader that always tortured Sun Wukong.

I actually have the theme song of Journey to the West permanently ingrained into my mind.*

*HOOOO GUHHH HO GUH (I’m laughing at this text right now) (also this isn’t the correct phonetic pronunciation I know I’m sorry)

examples

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The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is amazing (and yes, has a younger writing style but whatever) and it’s hilarious and I just love it a lot!! Please read this!! Also I love Quentin goodbye

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the snow queen

We love snow queens! Also yes, Frozen is a snow queen retelling which I love. (Also why is there so much hate for Frozen?? I am confusion because it’s literally a Disney movie.)

I haven’t read any of the examples I put here, but I plan to soon!

examples

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A lot of people hated Winterglass, but I’m still going to try to read it because the cover! looks! amazing!! LOOK AT THE ASIAN MODEL. Also, one of the reviews stated this is a Southeast retelling and there’s hardly any Southeast fiction out there?? WE LOVE.

I own a hardcover of Stealing Snow but that was before I read a bunch of reviews that basically dissolved my interest in it. But I might still read it just because I have a copy and it actually does sound interesting. I’ve also read some of Danielle Paige’s work before, which I liked!

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rumpelstiltskin

I love the tale of Rumpelstiltskin even though it was lowkey unfair that the princess was able to keep her child. (Also I hated the king?? Did they have a happy marriage? I need to know the answers.) (smh @ these plotholes)

examples

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I’ve read C.J. Redwine’s other book, The Shadow Queen, but I actually dnf’d it because it was really stereotypical and insta-lovey and it was just a Mess. However, The Wish Granter actually sounds really interesting?? I’ll just ignore that it’s set in the same world as The Shadow Queen.

I’m pretty sure Spinning Thorns is an indie novel but it has a pretty cover so I put it in here. The synopsis actually sounds intriguing; blood-seeking thorns still surround the castle? I WANT TO READ IT.

Spinning Silver is by the famed author of Uprooted and this premise actually sounds amazing… instead of the main character having someone else do the work, the main character can actually spin the silver into gold.

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tell me your thoughts 2

What are some fairytales that should be retold in young adult fiction more? Do you agree with any of the things I listed here? Did you read Strega Nona as a child and ever confuse it with Baba Yaga?

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60 thoughts on “Fairytales/Myths/Folklore That Should Be In Young Adult Retellings More

  1. This is such a great post!! I do see a lot of the same stories popping up as retellings for sure, which is a shame because there are so many cool folktales/fairytales that should totally be more known about. I would love to see one about St George and the Dragon, which I just thought of now but would be really cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this list, Juliana! As much as I love fairy tales, many of them have become so overused. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce was one of the first Rumpelstiltskin retellings I read. I would love to read more re-tellings of Baba Yaga! Not just her as a background character but the foucus of the novel!

    My current WIPs include Filipino mythology, and another that is a mix of Hindu and Christian mythology!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (I’m so so sorry for replying so late omg) but thank you so much for reading my post!! OOH did you enjoy A Curse Dark as Gold? YES I WOULD TOTALLY WANT TO READ BABA YAGA’S ORIGIN? Or even just her escapades or something. That would be amazing.

      AHHHH your WIPs sound actually freaking amazing, we all NEED Filipino mythology novels & the mix of Hindu and Christian mythology novels in our life.

      Like

  3. I haven’t heard about Straga Nona yet but I’ll look into it! This is such an awesome post! I’m pretty sick of most Lil Mermaid retelling nowadays haha

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  4. I kinda knew all the titles, but it was still fun XD I love retelling. I don’t know why but some people in my country don’t think retelling are something valid, and I’m like… what?

    I would love to get some retelling that aren’t bond to the more know fairytales but something more typical of a determined nation, In Italy we have tons of folklore figures and old stories with wtiches and ghosts *.*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg your country doesn’t think retellings are valid? Do people often not publish fairytale retelings in Italy? ALS OOH, your point is totally right! That would be so cool if there were more stories of a determined nation. I would love to read a story with Italian folklore figures!

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  5. Yes yes yes I am all about variety in retellings. I LOVED Wintersong (The Goblin King) retelling. I want me some Hansel and Gretel? I know there’s Sweetly, but more please. I’d also like to see a Pandora’s Box retelling – that would be wicked.

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  6. Frozen is one of my favorites! And yes, I would love to see more of all of these, especially Rumpelstiltskin. I also feel like there aren’t enough Rapunzel retellings, which makes me so sad because I LOVE RAPUNZEL.
    Honestly though there are so many fairytales to retell that no one ever does.
    But tbh, Beauty and the Beast stories are my favorite thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is SUCH a great post, I love it and YES to all of these. I would really love to read more stories about The Evil Queen and I really need to read One Thousand and One Nights, I loved TWATD and I can’t wait to read more retellings of One Thousand and One Nights at some point 🙂

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  8. This is a really creative post & I love it! Also, yes I agree with you on all of these! I didn’t even know Rumpelstiltskin retellings were a thing but now I really want to read them, even though he terrifies me after watching Once Upon a Time.😂

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  9. Yes yes I am HERE for wanting more different tales!! I mean, erm, shame on me because I had a lot of Cinderella vibes in my debut 😂Which I’d definitely count as being one of the cliche ones haha. But OMG ENOUGH WITH BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.😂I get that it’s a fun tale, but I read so so many of them and it always creeps me out how easily Stockholm-y it seems? However I did love Cruel Beauty!

    And I definitely want to read more 1001 Nights retellings (afjdksald I love TW&TD) and also more Rumplestiltskin and Snow Queen!

    I LOVE RUSSIAN FOLKLORE. Deathless isn’t YA but it was amazing and did Koschei the Deathless (with Baba Yaga mixed in) and I think The Crown’s Game did some Baba Yaga? Also Vassa in the Night is so good.

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  10. I didn’t read Strega Nona as a child, but I did read it when I worked in a day care. I can still say the little saying by heart:

    Bubble Bubble Pasta Pot
    I have pasta nice and hot
    So simmer down my pot of clay
    Until I’m hungry another day

    I have to be at least close, LOL.

    I’ve read the Wrath and the Dawn and it’s good. Haven’t read the others yet though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes! I want more retellings of the more underused fairytales/mythology out there! Enough with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty!

    Or even just something UNIQUE like Girls Made of Snow and Glass! I adore that book!

    Also I love A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce, which is a really good Rumpelstiltskin retelling. Highly recommend!

    Like

  12. Yes yes yes!! I’ve been working on researching old fairytales and folklore because they’re so interesting and awesome (and also really dark??). I do love the common retellings, but they’ve gotten really old. These are such great ideas! *locks them away in my author memory* 🙂

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  13. I loved reading this post! I feel like I found so many books I should add to my tbr or move up my tbr pile. Like Girls Made of Snow and Glass seems amazing! Also very happy to see you mention The Wrath and the Dawn!! I haven’t read any of C. J. Redwine’s books but The Shadow Queen has been on my tbr for awhile..although I am thinking of reading The Wish Granter first since the premise seems interesting.

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  14. Yes! The Snow Queen and Rumplestiltskin!! I definitely need to see more of these ❤ A few more under-appreciated fairytales I'd love to see retold is The Theif and the Cobbler, The Little Matchgirl, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Hansel and Gretel.

    Of course, I still love the popular fairytales (Beauty and the Beast will basically be my favorite FOREVER) and I don't want to see them go away, we just need MORE in general!

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  15. YES! I’m really into retellings if they give a new spin on the story. I’ve loved the idea of giving setting old stories/fairytales in new places like Forest of a Thousand Lanterns which I also think is based off Empress Wu. If you’re going to tell Eurocentric stories, give them some diversity! I also have an ARC of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and have to yet gotten to it and it’s pitiful 😦

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  16. OMG I totally remember Strega Nona from my childhood too!! haha! Also I agree that we NEED more Evil Queens and Snow Queen retellings because there are just SO many opportunities to make that beautiful. I love the concept of this post (also just added about a thousand more books to my TBR…) Happy reading 🙂

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  17. Ahhh thank you so much for this list, Ju!! 💖

    I can’t wait for the sequel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and I’m so excited to read The Bear and the Nightingale. & I’m already looking forward to adding more books to my TBR. 🙃

    This is such a wonderful post!! ☺️💞

    Liked by 1 person

  18. YES TO ALL OF THESE! I absolutely love fairytale retellings but like,,, why is it always the same ones,, and when they do retell different ones they barely get any hype??? THERE ARE SO MANY FAIRYTALES/MYTHS/ETC OUT THERE PLS USE THEM
    I had COMPLETELY forgotten about Baba Yaga omg??? I don’t remember the tale AT ALL but I read the name ‘Baba Yaga’ and just had a ‘omg’ moment haha
    You mentioned so many books that just sound amazing and?? I need?? Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy A Thousand Nights at all 😦 I don’t remember it that well but I do remember being really bored, but there are a lot of positive reviews out there so I guess it’s a case of ‘it’s not you but me’

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  19. SUCH A GOOD POST AND I DEFINITELY AGREE!! I’d love to see retellings of Shakespeare and Greek myths and generally unknown fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson XD also Bible stories???

    Btw you have a lovely blog ^.^ will certainly be stalking XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thank you Lisa, and so sorry for replying to you so late haha! ❤ OOH RETELLINGS OF SHAKESPEARE AND GREEK MYTHS WOULD BE SO AMAZING?? Whaat. I think there has been a couple of recent Shakespeare retellings, actually, but I've forgotten their names. Also, omg Bible stories would actually be pretty cool as retellings.

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  20. Okay, I will forever love you for putting Peter Pan at the top of the list. I 10000000% agree that Peter Pan needs more retellings. Now, I don’t mean prequels (because I don’t really care what happened to Pan BEFORE NEVERLAND. I don’t want to read about him in London or wherever, I WANT PIRATES AND INDIANS AND MERMAIDS), but good retellings that actually capture the magic that is Neverland. Anyways, enough of my ranting. I love this post so much. Thank you for writing it!

    Liked by 1 person

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