I’m always here for a good retelling. Ones that honor the source material, ones that go above and beyond, and ones that are just soothing for the soul. Retellings are one of my favorite categories and so for AAPI month I decided to kick off some recommendation posts with retellings!
These Violent Delights
1920s Shanghai meets “Romeo and Juliet”. These Violent Delights goes above and beyond “Romeo and Juliet” and has now completely re-written it for me. It’s this high action dangerous stakes speculative fiction book that takes references about “Romeo and Juliet” and elevates it into sheer beauty. Make sure you catch up on this series before Our Violent Ends! I also had Chloe on the blog a few times for a YA Books meets Classic Shanghai Dishes and an interview!
Scavenge the Stars
This Count of Monte Cristo retelling features a queer MC and a world that balances decadence and decay. I’m a huge fan of Sim’s other series, Timekeeper, so you know that this duology was on my list immediately. It examines what is the heart of our motivation and who is truly to blame? There can be other people pulling the strings, the corruption running deep within the soil, and where does it stop?
Of Curses and Kisses
“Beauty and the Beast” meets boarding school? Menon’s recent series features retellings in the same setting and world. Of Prince and Promises is a retelling of “The Frog Prince” so this is really two for the price of one! I love how Menon was able to balance honoring the touches of the story we are expecting, with the new twists and unique elements.
This high drama retelling of Anna Karenina set in NYC offers a multiple perspective look at this intense romantic story about love and expectations. The ending had my heart in my throat! I just finished the sequel and ended up loving that one even more than the first! But if you are just searching for a look into high society in NYC which asks us about the power of love with a “Gossip Girl” feel then check it out!
The next two picks are middle grades! This “Midsummer Nights Dream” retelling is full of tender and affectionate sibling interactions. It features friendship at its core, like a whimsical confection that hits the right spot. Her siblings are involved in their own lives and plots and this is where the fabulous Shakespeare re-imagining takes place. We want more middle grade retellings!
A Wish in the Dark
A Les Miserables middle grade retelling, A Wish in the Dark retains all these fabulous character interactions and questions of privilege, while also being a touching middle grade. Which is a feat considering how big, and epic, Les Mis is! A Wish in the Dark tackles the same issues of privilege, justice, and corruption in thoughtful ways for middle grade audiences.