Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and in the past couple of years there has been a rise in fairy tale based YA fantasy, much to my delight. This is the first in a set of two posts on fairy tales for teens. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
Ella Enchanted was one of the first books based upon fairy tales that I ever read, so it holds a special place in my book-loving heart. I love the feisty main character and the brilliant retelling of the classic Cinderella story.
While Fairest is less known than Ella Enchanted, it is no less brilliant or enjoyable. The well-told book puts an interesting twist on the Snow White tale by giving the heroine a less-than-beautiful appearance. The main character's struggles with accepting her own ugliness and learning to value her beautiful singing voice above what others see adds a nice thematic value to an already wonderful book.
The (realistically) boorish and boring prince in Just Ella, along with the lack of magic, makes for an unidealized telling of Cinderella that questions just how well love at first sight can truly work out. I liked how the book provided an interesting perspective on how the relationships in fairy tales are so romanticized and utterly unrealistic (even without any magic).
The Scandinavian folktale East of the Sun and West of the Moon (think a combination of 'Cupid and Psyche' and 'Beauty and the Beast', with lots of ice and trolls) provides an intriguing base for a wonderful and lyrical tale of an adventurous young woman and a polar bear. The loose historical connections and rich language make East a worthwhile read.
Also based upon East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow tells the story of a nameless young woman who risks everything to save her family and then must risk everything (again!) to save her true love. I enjoyed the interesting family dynamics, Norwegian setting, and beautiful storytelling in this book.
Princess of the Midnight Ball puts an intriguing twist upon the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses: rather than dancing for enjoyment, the princesses are forced to dance every night for an evil sorcerer. I loved the lush, fantastical setting and interesting characters. The two sequels, Princess of Glass, and Princess of the Silver Wood, are retellings of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, respectively, and are just as well-written and brilliant as the first.
These are just a handful of my favorite fairy tale inspired books. Next week, in Part 2, I'll share some more.
What are some of your favorite fairy tale based books?