This gender-bent Beauty and the Beast retelling with Ella Enchanted (the movie) vibes was an absolute treat. It genuinely made me laugh out loud with all its smart quips and the adorable romance made me swoon, repeatedly. The two main characters have chemistry that leaps off the page and there's a lovable diverse friend group that you won't want to part with. Get ready for balls, masquerades, and posh garden parties as well as enchanted forests, silly princes, and a support group for those who've been cursed. Also Tevin is a total dreamboat and I love him. That is all.
I go back to this book quite often. If I could underline the whole thing, I would. Carson reimagines an ancient Greek myth into a coming-of-age story told through verse, a combination of prose and poetry that lends itself perfectly to Carson's voice. Our main character, a red winged monster, deals with who to love, his brother and mother and the magnetic boy who takes him by the hand. A haunting and beautiful page-turner that at only 160 pages will make you pick it up again after you've just put it down.
Cameron Bright is pretty and popular, but brutally honest. Her crappy home life is no excuse for failure so Cameron works hard and chases her goals: date crush Andrew, get an internship at her father's office, and get into the Wharton School at UPenn. But when Andrew calls her a bitch, her normal teflon-tough exterior chips. Like Katherine in Taming of the Shrew, does she need to be tamed?
A millenial teen retelling of the film 10 Things I Hate About You that draws heavily from Shakespeare, If I'm Being Honest is crafted with thoughtful, real-world stakes. Cameron's a ringer for Blair Waldorf - and yet she genuinely learns from her mistakes and works to become a better person. Her social circle is rooted in relatable struggles like making new friends, keeping old friendships alive, being supportive, and managing conflict. She's flawed and *almost* unlikeable but the more I learned about her family dynamics, the more I rooted for her to make better choices and follow a path of her own making.
I can’t remember the last book I’ve been absolutely glued to like this one. There was a moment where I had to get up and start pacing the room as I was reading because my love for these characters quite literally affected my mind, body, & soul. It’s ultimately a story about survival; one that cuts deep while healing you at the same time. Quite simply, this book is “swoon” incarnate.
What if the Wind in the Willows was less of a warm-hearted tale about forest friends and more about a sinister plot to gaslight Mr. Toad? What if the Velveteen Rabbit was a cold-blooded sociopath intent on becoming Real, no matter the cost? The reimagined fairy tales in the Merry Spinster answer these questions and ones I didn't even know I had.
You may know Circe as the original witch, or as the goddess who tempted Odysseus on his legendary journey, or perhaps not at all. You may for a time forget it all, and instead be pulled into the story of her life recounted, told as its own epic, as she struggles to find her own meaning and agency in the realms of men and gods, when she fits in neither. Perdita Weeks narrates with such power and beauty, sweeping you up in every emotion as Circe's story unfolds.
Rather than spin, I find Novik brilliantly weaves this tale, crossing contrasting threads to create a gorgeous tapestry. A wintry world, malevolent fairy creatures, a starving family, a cursed king, and in the middle of it all Miryem, a young Jewish woman forced to take over her father’s money-lending livelihood when his sentimentality leaves her family destitute. This is more than a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, it is a tale worthy of praise all on its own.
With bold vision and glittering prose Carter brings us her own reteling of classic fables such as Bluebeard and Little Red Ridinghood. Simply captivating! With roaring sensuality we are carted straight to the dark mythic heart of these tales, made all the more beautiful by Carter's care and craft. It's not wonder she has gone on to inspire such authors as Emma Donaghue and Sarah Waters (go check them out as well!). Put on your warmest cloak, find a quiet wood, and enjoy.