Top Twelve Retellings and Reimaginings That Reinvent Literary Classics For A New Generation

Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I count down my top ten choices on a particular theme. This weekly event is hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Top Twelve YA Retellings and Reimaginings That Reinvent Literary Classics For A New Generation.

As anyone who has ever watched Clueless (Emma) or 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew) will tell you, seeing a beloved or familiar story reimagined in an entirely new way from a perspective different from that of the creator who first shared it can be a delightful – and eye-opening – experience. Retellings have the power to do many things. They can act as an introduction to a work a new audience might have previously been unfamiliar with, they can help make a work more accessible, and they can breathe new life into a story that has long been a part of the public consciousness. Back in 2014, Epic Reads created a truly epic round-up of 162 YA retellings and reimaginings up to that date, so to avoid any overlap with their list, I’ve tried my best to touch upon recent and upcoming releases that the Epic Reads team might not have had the opportunity to include. Happy reading!

Today’s selection of books have been listed in no particular order.

Publication Date: May 9th 2017 by Flatiron Books
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For seventeen-year-old Flannery Fields, the only respite from the plaid-skirted mean girls at Sacred Heart High School is her beloved teacher Miss Sweeney’s AP English class. But when Miss Sweeney doesn’t show up to teach Flannery’s favorite book, Wuthering Heights, leaving behind her purse, Flannery knows something is wrong.

The police are called, and Flannery gives them everything ― except Miss Sweeney’s copy of Wuthering Heights. This she holds onto. And good thing she does, because when she opens it, it has somehow transformed into Miss Sweeney’s real-time diary. It seems Miss Sweeney is in New York City ― and she’s in trouble.

So Flannery does something very unFlannery-like: she skips school and sets out for Manhattan, with the book as her guide. But as soon as she arrives, she meets a boy named Heath. Heath is British, on a gap year, incredibly smart ― yet he’s never heard of Albert Einstein or Anne Frank. In fact, Flannery can’t help thinking that he seems to have stepped from the pages of Brontë’s novel. Could it be that Flannery is spending this topsy-turvy day with her ultimate fictional romantic hero, Heathcliff, reborn in the twenty-first century?

Publication Date: March 15th 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team — the pride and joy of a small town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The rape wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Publication Date: May 9th 2017 by Sky Pony Press
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Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absolute — especially right and wrong.

Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for one reason: to win. The elite school recruited him after he argued his public school’s debate team to victory last year, and now Bannerman wants that championship trophy. Debate is Banner’s life — his ticket out of scrimping and saving and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and a new, better future.

When he’s paired with the prep school playboy everyone calls the Duke, Tanner’s straightforward plans seem as if they’re going off the rails. The Duke is Bannerman royalty, beloved for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and the strings he so easily pulls. And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.

As Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of the edge becomes addictive. A small favor here and there seems like nothing in exchange for getting everything he ever dreamed of.

But the Duke’s castle is built on shady, shaky secrets, and the walls are about to topple.

Publication Date: September 22nd 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
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In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.

But the resurrection does not go as planned, and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together — or ruin them forever.

Publication Date: September 19th 2017 by Greenwillow Books
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After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement — one that might not survive the summer.

Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother, John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Publication Date: November 14th 2017 by Soho Teen
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November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.

New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.

Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right.

Publication Date: September 15th 2015 by A Thomas Dunne Book For St. Martin’s Griffin
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For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Publication Date: March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices — and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe — and the only people they can trust are each other.

Publication Date: September 6th 2016 by HarperCollins
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Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple — but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything — absolutely anything — to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria’s attendance at Stanford — and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room.

Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion.

Publication Date: September 29th 2015 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks. She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead. Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

Publication Date: November 21st 2017 by Wednesday Books
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Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mom’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

Publication Date: August 23rd 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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So, you think you know the tale of Cinderella? Think again!
The dashing Prince of the Rats – who’s in love with Cinderella – is changed into her coachman on the night of the big ball. Together, they’re about to turn the legend (and the evening) upside down on their way to a most unexpected happy ending!

Now it’s YOUR turn! What are some of your favourite retellings and/or reimaginings? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

10 responses to “Top Twelve Retellings and Reimaginings That Reinvent Literary Classics For A New Generation”

  1. I absolutely love your list this week 🙂 I’m going to have to look so many of these books up. I love a retelling/reimagining.

  2. I’ve not read any of these, but I agree…I love retellings. Great approach to this week’s topic! Have a great week!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  3. Anastasia says:

    This is really creative. I don’t know how you even thought of so many matching books 😀 A Study in Charlotte is good option for female readers I guess

  4. I really loved This Monstrous Thing and am surprised more people haven’t read it. Great list. I need to find a copy of Rat Prince.

  5. If I was an English teacher I would be snatching up this list and requred my students to pick one and read both the original and the retelling. Wonderful idea. Books with memorable school scenes

  6. I enjoyed Eligible (Pride and Prejudice) and Hag-Seed (The Tempest).
    Marie @ Book-Chatter recently posted…TTT: Books College Freshmen Are Supposed to Be Reading This SummerMy Profile

  7. What a creative spin to this week’s prompt, Jen! I’m itching to get my hands on a copy of Dear Reader! I mean, look at that cover. Plus, I love Wuthering Heights. But I don’t think I’ve heard of The Duke of Bannerman Prep before, so thank you for putting it on my radar! 🙂
    Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome recently posted…Ten Books to Diversify Your School’s Reading ListMy Profile

  8. Poinsettia says:

    What a fun list! I’ve not read any of these, but I do like retellings. I’ve always been a fan of Beauty by Robin McKinley. Here is my TTT

  9. Jo says:

    Cool twist on this week’s topic! Of these I’ve only read A Study In Charlotte, which I liked but didn’t love.
    Jo recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #121My Profile

  10. I read Bannerman Prep, Charlotte and Belzhar , and really enjoyed them all. I have a bunch of those books on my shelf and really want to get to them soon, especially The Weight of Feathers, because I fell in love with McLemore’s writing when I read Wild Beauty.
    [email protected] recently posted…Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Piper – Jay Asher & Jessica FreeburgMy Profile

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