Best Books List, Fantasy, Romance, YA/NA

The Best YA Fairytale Retellings

Fairy tales are stories that endure for about the same reasons as myths and legends do. They keep entertaining generation after generation of story lovers, becoming parts of peoples’ lives and sparking in them a love for adventure and romance. For that reason, fairy tales continue to be told – and re-told. YA fiction is particularly rich with fairy tale retellings – ones that may adopt the same core structures as the original tales, or else put a fresh spin on them. Either way, fairy tales and their retellings are still as entertaining now as they were before, and are worth revisiting over and over again.

Below are some of the best fairy tale retellings in YA fiction. If you’re craving some fairy tales, pick a book below and satisfy your fix!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


Ella is cursed by the young fairy Lucinda, bestowing upon her the gift of obedience. Rebellious since birth, Ella grows up in the company of an avaricious father, a loathsome stepmother, and two horrible stepsisters. Life doesn’t seem to be turning out the way that it should be, but the feisty Ella is determined to fix her curse by tracking down Lucinda – and fending off some nasty creatures along the way.

What do the readers say?

  • “I thoroughly enjoyed this take on the old Cinderella fairy tale. The main character is fun, funny, and intelligent (great role model), and the author puts in enough plot twists that the story doesn’t feel too predictable even though we all know what happens in the end.” – mkclAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]


Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Cinder is a cyborg who works as a mechanic in New Beijing. Abhorred because of her nature, and living with a horrible stepmother who blames her for her stepsister’s illness, Cinder isn’t exactly living the most comfortable life. But then she meets Prince Kai, and gets pulled into a struggle involving her world and another world beyond. But this struggle isn’t just between two worlds, as Cinder begins to discover the truth of who she really is – and she’s not just a simple cyborg.

What do the readers say?

  • “I think the book is well written and that it is easy to connect to. The characters are something you recognize and can some what relate too just as well as the plot it self. I am a person that do not really like sci-fi, I like history a bit more, but this is just eye opening! I do recommend this book!”  Rasmus MocklinAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Ash by Malinda Lo


The death of her father leaves Ash under the care of her stepmother and her stepsisters, and is subjected to a life of servitude to the trio of women. She dreams only of her mother, who once read her fairy stories and made her believe in the other world. Then one day, she meets the king’s huntress, Kaisa, who begins changing her life one day at a time, teaching her how to live and love. But the fairy Sidhean has already claimed Ash for himself, and now Ash must make a crucial decision between the fairy world and her love for Kaisa.

What do the readers say?

  • “The descriptions are lush, and the dialogue is easy and comfortable. The romance in the story is something that builds naturally out of friendship instead of the big crush/fall in love that’s entirely too common in YA romance type novels.
    I’m highly recommending it to my daughter to read now that I’ve finished devouring it in less than an evening. It did grab me that hard, that I didn’t want to put it down until I was done reading it.” 
    – Shala KerriganAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Beastly by Alex Flinn


What do the readers say?

  • “I love the story of Beauty and the Beast no matter how it’s told. The “Beast” is described like the Disney movie version. I enjoyed it as a light young adult modern take on the Disney version of the classic tale. I loved the characters developement and strengths, and how much they change each other. This is one of my favorite books.” – Shannon HinmanAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]





Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Celaena Sardothien is an assassin summoned to the king’s castle to win her freedom. She only needs to defeat twenty-three killers, warriors, and thieves in one competition, so that she can be released from prison and become the king’s champion. But soon, the competitors start dying out one by one, and it becomes clear that there’s evil lurking in the castle. It’s up to Celaena to fight – for her freedom and for everyone’s survival.

What do the readers say?

  • “Wonderful twist on Cinderella. Plot twist and turns to keep you guessing. Ending leaves you ready for the continuation but not holding hanging.” – tngirl2Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]


Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede


Snow White and Rose Red live on the edge of the forest bordering the world of Faerie. Their lives have been peaceful enough until they find sorcerers performing magic near the border – a dangerous act on its own. When they encounter a black bear in their cottage months later, it doesn’t take long for the two to realize the connection between the bear’s plight and the sorcerers they saw before.

What do the readers say?

  • “Patricia Wrede never disappoints! A newer twist on the classic tale, drenched in the beautiful and lush language that comprises all of her works. I never tire of tales of Faerie, so this one, from an old favourite author, was a real treat.”  Landon and Sarah, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]


Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J. Pepper


What do the readers say?

  • “This book was so wacky that half the time I didn’t know what was going, at least for a minute or two, but luckily most of the characters were as confused as I was which mad me feel a whole lot less silly! This book had the right amount of crazy that any Wonderland retelling needs and I adored it! Everything from the wacky prophecies, to Alice Mae’s crazy make-up, I loved and couldn’t get enough of the superb and splendiferous weirdness!” – Myra [Pieces of Whimsy]Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]




Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige


Amy Gumm is from Kansas and a recruit of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. She knows how to fight, and she has a mission: to go to Oz, a place that’s already degrading, with the Yellow Brick Road crumbling. And what she needs to do is track down the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Lion, and take from them their heart, brain, and courage. And of course, defeat Dorothy, who returned to Oz and seized power.

What do the readers say?

  • “I absolutely love this book, it is full of action, with just that little hint of romance that makes you keep reading. The writing is so well done and I when I finished I felt like I had known Amy Gumm all my life. I highly suggest that you read this book!” – shemomAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Looking Glass Wars
by Frank Beddor


Alyss Heart is heir to the throne, but her Aunt Redd wants the crown and attempts to kill her. Alyss is saved by Hatter Madigan, and together the two flee from Wonderland and enter Victorian London. There, separated from Hatter, Alyss meets an author to whom she tells the story of her life, but who gets the story all wrong. Now Hatter has to search all over the world for Alyss, so that the two of them can return to Wonderland and wrest control from Redd.

What do the readers say?

  • “The innately clever underpinning of Beddor’s book is how he can gently poke fun at Carroll’s work, by making his fantastical descriptions and flights of fancy as a basis for Alyss’ reality. The staid, gray world of Victorian England stands in remarkable contrast to the rainbow hues of Wonderland, and the plot manipulations are consistently amusing.” – Thomas D. RyanAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan


Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-years, her long slumber ending only when she’s woken up by a kiss. Now she finds herself in a world that’s changed drastically, and everyone she loves – from her parents to her first love – are gone. To make matters more confusing, she finds out that she’s the heir to an intergalactic empire. Alone in a strange world and drawn to the boy who woke her up with his kiss, Rose must now deal with her new existence, while facing the ghosts of her past.

What do the readers say?

  • “Sleeping beauty has never been my favorite story, but this book completely changed that. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and the story. I found myself cheering Rose on and wanted her to have the perfect ending. I really hope this book has a sequel. I loved it so much I’m willing to start a campaign for a sequel. I totally recommend it to anyone wanting a really good read.” – Ericka A. GarciaAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


Nyx is betrothed to the ruler of her kingdom, with her ultimate fate being the one who will kill him and free her people from his tyranny. But when she finally arrives at her betrothed’s castle on her seventeenth birthday, her tyrant of a husband isn’t what she expected. He’s charming and beguiling, and Nyx is beginning to have a difficult time drawing herself away from him. She knows her duty to her nation, but she can’t simply resist the fact that he’s pulling on her heart.

What do the readers say?

  • “This is the kind of book where, when I’m finished, I immediately want to run and get the next book by the author. Sadly, this is her only book so far, so I suppose I’ll have to be patient and wait for her next. She’s a promising voice in YA fantasy fiction, and I’m very eager to read more works by her.” – BookphileAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Zel by Donna Jo Napoli


Zel lives with her mother in the mountains, leading a life that’s peaceful and protected. But one day, she meets a young prince in the market, and Zel begins feeling emotions that she’s never felt before. Her mother, however, can see the future – and she knows that Zel will be leaving her. And she’ll do what it takes to prevent that from happening.

What do the readers say?

  • “It’s one of the best books I ever read. I read this when I was little.Actually, it was my first favorite novel. It has the ability to really draw you in, and get you in the book.The first page drew me in, and that was what raptured me until the ending. Also the twist on the witches tale was irresistibly interesting and different. I loved the goose.I loved it. I wish I had it.” – EireAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]


Stars by Colleen Oakes


Wendy Darling lives with her family in wealthy London, and it’s a life that’s just about perfect. One night, however, while her parents are at a ball, the charming Peter Pan flies into the Darlings’ home – and the Darling children follow him out and into Neverland. Now Wendy, sucked into Neverland, starts forgetting where she came from. But she realizes that Peter’s hold on her heart is a little too tight, and that maybe the Lost Boys’ paradise can become a nightmare.

What do the readers say?

  • “The story kept me engaged, and the descriptive writing was beautiful, however, the dialog left a lot to be desired. I thought more than once that the conversations seemed very awkward and strange. Overall, I think the best way to summarize this book would be to imagine the original Peter Pan story, add a dash of Lord of the Flies, with a generous helping of angsty YA romance.” – RachaelAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Emerge by Tobi Easton


Lia Nautilus is a mermaid who’s never lived in the ocean before, because of a war that had happened in the Seven Seas, when the Little Mermaid unleashed a curse on all the Mer, stripping them of immortality. Now Lia lives among other Mer like her in a secret community in Malibu, living the life of a regular human teenage girl. She’s struggling with P.E. and has strong feelings for Clay Ericson – someone she can’t fall for because he’s human. And then suddenly, Lia finds that someone else in school is harboring a secret as deadly as hers – and this new girl has her eyes on Clay. Lia has to risk everything to keep Clay from the girl, and from endangering their lives.

What do the readers say?

  • “If you love mermaids, you need to own this book. If you love YA fantasy or romance, you need to read this book. Heck, if you just love well-written stories, you need to read this book. It’s billed as book one of the Mer Chronicles, so there’s a sequel (or is it sea-quel?) coming, for which I’ll wait with bated (or is it bait-ed?) breath. Till then, Emerge emerges with FIVE STARS.” – Pete TarsiAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Spindle by Shonna Slayton


Briar Rose’s life is the furthest from a fairy tale. She has to raise her siblings alone, and has problems with the wage cuts at the spinning mill. The boy she likes has his eyes on someone else, and the only person she feels is on her side is her best friend, Henry Prince. Who keeps throwing flirty jokes in her way – and he’s too funny to take seriously. But she’s given a chance to turn her life around when a peddler sells her a magic spindle to help her earn more money at the mill. It sounds good, but then the other girls at the mill start coming down with a sickness – and Briar isn’t immune. If she wants to save everyone, she has to start believing in fairy tales. And the kiss of a prince.

What do the readers say?

  • “This is a great story that let’s us get a glimpse into what might have happened with a classic fairytale that we all love. I loved that Shonna Slayton gave us an imaginative world that was a spin off of an old classic. Although I thought the story was sort of slow leading up to the action part, it did flow very well. After I got past the introduction of it all, the story picked up and I was flipping pages to find out what was going to happen.” – MelanieGoodreads user. [Review from Goodreads]

Asleep by Krystal Wade


Rose Briar is imprisoned in an asylum, but she claims no responsibility for the act that brought her there. All she wants to do is escape, but then nightmares start plaguing her and she starts doubting her sanity. Rose reaches out to her doctor, who appears to be kind and caring – but another patient named Phillip warns her that the doctor is evil, and that they’ll never make it out alive. It’s either she trusts Phillip – or accepts that she rally belongs to the asylum.

What do the readers say?

  • “So, so, so good! This was impossible to put down! I couldn’t figure out who was crazy, who was sane, who was good, who was evil, or whether I would be sane by the time I finished reading it! I loved the constant drama and mystery.” – J. McPhersonAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Charm by Sarah Pinborough


What do the readers say?

  • “If you’re looking for something dark and thrilling to read, please read Sarah Pinborough’s Charm, because it offers you style, originality and good prose in a beautiful package. If you’ve ever read any fairy tales and have enjoyed reading them, you should immediately read this retelling of Cinderella, because you won’t regret it. It’s an excellent fairy tale for adults who want the best from their fantasy stories.” – Seregil of RhimineeAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]





The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman


A young queen is about to be married, while a princess is cursed to sleep forever. There is no prince coming to the rescue, though there is a castle, and there are dwarves. The queen might just have a chance to prove herself a hero, if a princess does indeed need rescuing.

What do the readers say?

  • “I just finished this wonderful story, and was in tears, but tears created out of wonder and hope! This is a fairy tale as it should be told, not the usual drivel about a princess being saved by a prince. Stories like this… give full meaning to the people who inhabit them and for the fullness of life that can come out of making our own choices and moving forward. Have other women in my life, both young and old who need to read this book, but will be purchasing a second copy so that can pass to more than one person at a time.” – DunkirkAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale


Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee is the Crown Princess of Kildenree, who has spent her entire life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of birds. Ani grows up knowing the speech of animals, and is more comfortable talking to them than when she talks to people. So when her lady-in-waiting stages a mutiny during Ani’s journey to a foreign land to be married to someone, Ani – helpless and speechless – is unable to persuade anyone to help her. So Ani must use her magical powers to help herself, and to find her destiny.

What do the readers say?

  • “If you enjoy fairy tale novelizations, such as those by Robin McKinley and Donna Jo Napoli, this book will make a great addition to your bookshelf. If you simply like historical fantasy, forget the fairy tale, this novel will also please. Royalty, deception, intrigue, treason, and redemption make up a story that doesn’t obviously derive from a fairy tale.” – Heidi Ann HeinerAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli


What do the readers say?

  • I have never liked the story of Rumpelstiltskin, so I suprised myself when I checked this book out from the library. I’m so glad that I did. Donna Jo Napoli did such a wonderful job writing Spinners that I’m now convinced that the Grimm Brothers were WRONG! This is how Rumpelstiltskin was meant to be.” – Allison, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]





Briar Rose by Jane Yolen


Rebecca has always been enchanted by the stories about Briar Rose, which her grandmother Gemma tells her about. But a promise made to her grandmother upon her deathbed will lead Rebecca to investigate the claim that her grandmother has always made: that she is Briar Rose. The journey will be horrific and brutal, but at the end, Rebecca knows that she will find redemption and hope.

What do the readers say?

  • “I really enjoyed this book. I loved how Yolen interwove the story of Sleeping Beauty with the horrors of the Holocaust. As both fairy tales and stories of the holocaust fascinate me I loved how they were intertwined to form this story.” – Kathy HabelAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]


Dust City by Robert Paul Weston


Teen wolf Henry Whelp’s father has been arrested for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, and Henry has little choice beyond hiding in a Home for Wayward Wolves. But a murder happens in the home, and Henry begins suspecting that his father might have been framed. With the help of his kleptomaniac roommate Jack and the fierce she-wolf Fiona, Henry has to delve into the heart of Dust City and solve the mystery of his family’s past.

What do the readers say?

  • “If you like fairy tale retellings, you will definitely enjoy this book. It is amusing and fun to read! There is a fairly intense torture scene to look out for, but I think most of us can handle it. The story is interesting, and the world that Robert Paul Weston has created is intriguing.” – ElizabethAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]


Belle by Cameron Dokey


Belle has retreated from society, believing that she’s not as beautiful as her sisters, and therefore not someone society would want to see. She spends her time wood carving instead. But Belle dreams of finding the Heartwood Tree which, when carved, would show the face of her true love. During a storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the Heartwood itself – and with it, a terrifying Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to be able to save her father, and see with the eyes of her heart.

What do the readers say?

  • “I was a bit worried about this book when I initially started reading it as I dislike reading about whiney, shallow people and Belle is so hung up on her looks. But I was quite surprised and delighted with all the character development that occurred, not just with Belle but with her family and the Beast. A Romantic at heart, I loved the end.” – A. LakeAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson


Sophia Petheram receives a mysterious letter after her father’s death from Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no other options open to her, Sophia does what the letter asks, and lives with him at Wyndriven Abbey in Mississippi. There, Sophie discovers a comfortable life – her guardian is charming and attractive. But soon, Sophia begins to piece together the dark secrets that he’s keeping, as he hears whispers about his former wives – all red-haired, like she is – lost and forgotten in the darkest corners of the abbey. Sophia knows she’s trapped and that continuing to live with Bernard de Cressac spells danger.

What do the readers say?

  • “Well written and fully delineated characters. A wonderful example of the gothic novel genre. Satisfyingly terrifying, and not a stupid chit of a heroine in sight. l have missed the true gothic novel for a very long time, but Jane Nickerson has renewed my faith that there are other readers and writers who enjoy the genre as much as I do. This book should be at the top of your must-read list if you’re a fan of Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt,nd Marlys Milhiser, the queens of the gothic novel.” – Shirley RiversAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce


Anne, Jane, and Celia are triplets who have the power to see the future, the present, and the past, respectively. But Celia is the youngest and the weakest among the three, and she doesn’t think there’s anything special about seeing the past. Until she meets Lo, a girl who doesn’t know who she is or who she used to be. She knows she was once human, and that she’s now a creature of the sea, beginning to succumb to the darkness inside her. When a boy named Jude falls off a pier, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him. They become friends, but soon find that they’re also fighting for Jude’s affection. But for Lo, the stakes are higher, as Jude may be the key to her becoming human again.

What do the readers say?

  • “All of Jackson Pearce’s fairy tale retellings are extremely enjoyable and I highly recommend them all. They all have a delightful cast of characters and brilliantly thought-up plots that take the fairy tales you knew as a child and upgrade them into charming YA novels. I really hope Pearce continues on with the series, I would love to read more.” – pandareadsAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Bunce


A gold thread becomes the key for Charlotte Miller to save her family’s woolen mill. It brings promise of a secure future for her and her family, and the promise of true love, but Charlotte first has to strike a deal with the thread’s maker, Jack Spinner. But with the promise of a good future comes the secrets woven into the thread’s existence, as the shadowy past of the Millers unravels secrets in which generations of Millers have been ensnared.

What do the readers say?

  • “Bunce has certainly done her research with the workings of mills and the people from this period in history. The result is a strikingly written story that will have it’s readers wondering what happened to the characters long after the close of the book. I enjoyed this story far more than I thought I would, and will highly recommend it in the future.” – KarusichanAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley


The world has just been overcome with a flu pandemic, taking the lives of millions in a short time. And bringing them back. In a world filled with the undead, seventeen-year-old Ella has to cope, taking care of her war-injured father, cleaning their house, and killing the hordes of undead – the Vermin – attacking the locals. In the middle of this kind of life, Ella encounters – and almost decapitates – a handsome stranger, who happens to be alive. And that stranger is Seth deMage, the Duke of Leithfield. He has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office – to deal with the Vermin plague in Somerset. He needs help, but never expected it to come from someone like Ella – a katana-wielding scullery maid.

What do the readers say?

  • “I don’t give away the plot when I give a review so you will have to read it. I love A.W. Exley’s stories. This was a great, fun and interesting take on several themes. Not your usual predictable story… This was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. The author did NOT intend to do a series when it was written. But after many fans begged her to write a series she relented. Can’t wait to read more.” – dianaBdesignsAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Cinderella Dreams of Fire by Casey Lane


For the past ten years, Cinderella has only pretended to be too weak to face her stepmother, who’s making her scrub the floors and wash the laundry. But at night, Cinderella runs as a fearless thief. And it’s in one of her night runs that she encounters Prince Braedon, who’s hardly the model prince his mother expects him to be. A tavern regular, Braedon unexpectedly has to team up with a beautiful thief when a blight strikes down the kingdom’s soldiers.  Cinderella would rather work alone, but Braedon begins to grow on her. And now the fate of the kingdom is up to the two, as the two unlikely allies have to do everything they can to save the kingdom and themselves.

What do the readers say?

  • “What a fun read! When I started this fairy tale re-telling, I thought I knew the Cinderalla story. When I got to chapter three and discovered that this Cinderalla knows how to kick some serious butt, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down because I needed to find out what would happen between Cinderalla and the prince with their witty banter and chemistry. Add a few unforgettable characters, a bit of magic and a few kegs of ale and you have a recipe for a delightful tale.” – jennifer a evansAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Throne of Ice: A Gothic Faerie Tale by Pauline Christou


Princess Khione’s life is far from perfect. Her father is long gone, and her mother is heartless and jealous. The only ones she can rely on are her nursemaid Agnes and her friendship with Agnes’s daughter, Gerda. When her mother Queen Eleanor takes away her freedom and threatens to take even her life, Khione is forced to flee to the nearby forest occupied by the Fae. Agnes and Gerda, meanwhile, are banished from the kingdom and try to start a new life in the neighboring kingdom of Agraunia, where Gerda befriends their neighbour’s son, Kai, with whom she eventually falls in love. But Kai’s eventual disappearance leads to rumors that he has died, and only Gerda’s belief in her instinct, telling her that he is still alive, is the only force that compels her to look for him – even if she has to do it alone.

What do the readers say?

  • “I wasn’t sure what to expect when I bought this book. I started on the first page and was immediately immersed in a world of imagination. A world that was a bit familiar but wove my favorite fairy tales into a tapestry of shining, beautiful colors. It brought all the stories I’ve always loved into one book, one continuous tale where all the characters were familiar and lived together. It was like I got the back story to all the stories I’ve been wondering about since I was a child. It was like when I discovered Anne Rice and found a new world for vampires. P. M. Christou has given a new life to the brothers Grimm. This book will be cherished and read over and over again in my household. I had to get the next book immediately when I finished this one. Definitely worth every penny!”Amazon Customer. [Review from Amazon]

Kingdom From Ashes by Megan Linski


Princess Bennua is the daughter of a sultan, and because of this, she has to be married to someone to seal an alliance. This someone happens to be a cruel husband, but the marriage is supposed to be beneficial, as it is supposed to scare the desert of Sahrahn into submission. Bennua’s wedding is interrupted, however, when the infamous Raider Prince, king of thieves and leader of the city of Ashana, arrives to take her city. Bennua sacrifies her freedom for the sake of her country, and agrees to travel with the Raider Prince if it means that he will leave her homeland untouched. Now Bennua begins to learn about the life of people beyond the walls of her palace, and the lives of the thieves led by the Raider Prince. And more and more, she starts falling hard for him.

What do the readers say?

  • “This book is definitely a 5+ star book! Megan not only does a great job building the characters so that you care and feel for them, she does an awesome job with the setting and culture of the story. This book is not a book to miss out on. If you like a strong heroine, action, romance, and fantasy you will love Kingdom from Ashes. I did not want the story to end and once I finished it, I decided to start it all over again. Megan has a wonderful talent and her passion for what she does shows in her books.” – Brooke Haven, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]


And that’s all for this list! There are, of course, many other wonderful retellings of fairy tales in YA, so if we’ve missed something, do let us know!

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