Fairy tales are timeless. As a young adult, I love the classic fairy tales I grew up with, but I sometimes find myself wanting more out of the stories. Thankfully, there are a handful of writers in this world who took the chance and rewrote some of these classics. But they’re not just any retellings—these authors went even further and changed the story plots to either empower women or introduce LGBTQ themes and characters. The retellings are amazing and will definitely reach out to a whole new fan base.
1. Wendy Darling Series by Colleen Oakes
Whereas Peter Pan is normally the hero in Disney’s classic Peter Pan, Wendy—a prim proper sixteen year old from Edwardian London—must step up to the plate to protect herself and her brothers from the hidden dangers and twists that are reveled throughout the book. The Lost Boys are feral and uncontrollable, always wanting to shed the blood of Captain Hook’s crew. Tinkerbell is blinded by her love for Peter and slightly psychotic since she tries on several accounts to kill Wendy. Then there is Peter Pan who at first captures Wendy’s heart, but Peter’s true colors are soon shown; he is a selfish and possessive, a true sociopath who will stop at nothing to make sure Wendy belong to him. Now Wendy must put aside her traditional manners, summon up her bravery, and use her smarts to escape the prison of Pan Island with her brothers, who are blindly by loyalty to Peter. From start to finish in Volume 1: Stars, we see Wendy’s character transform from a formal young lady to a fighter who will do anything to protect her brothers. And keep reading because let’s just say in Volume 2: Seas, Wendy can definitely hold her own when aboard Captain Hook’s ship with his bloodthirsty crew.
2. Cinder Ella by S.T. Lynn
Within this 62-page novella, readers meet our transgender heroine named Ella. Eleanor, her stepmother, refuses to acknowledge her transgender stepdaughter and forces Ella to remain Cole (her birth name) if she wants to keep a roof over her head. Ella spends her days being called the wrong name, cooking, and cleaning. Then Ella is given an opportunity that could change her life: An invitation to the royal ball. Although Princess Lizabetta invited Cole to the ball, she doesn’t blink an eye when Cinderella presents herself. The two are drawn to each other and passions ignite. For a moment she glimpses into a world that accepts her, and she holds on tight. But such dreams can never last—can they?
3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Before she became the Queen of Hearts, she was Catherine Pinkerton, heiress to Rock Turtle Cove in the Kingdom of Hearts. She was pleasant, sweet, and known as one of most beautiful women in the entire kingdom. But as a lady of the court, Catherine is to only focus on pleasing her parents, keeping up the family’s reputation, and attending balls and tea parties. When her parents push Catherine to marry the incompetent King, she meets the palace’s joker, Jest. With her heart in his hands, Catherine is determined to live her own life and stop living to please everyone. Her journey takes Cath through the Looking Glass and puts her in dangerous situations she thought she’d never be able to face… But within Cath’s story we learn what happened that killed the happy, sweet girl she once was and birthed the mad Queen of Hearts.
4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This retells the story of Greece’s greatest hero from the point of view of his best friend and lover, Patroclus. When Achilles goes to Chiron, Patroclus is there. When Achilles joins the Trojan War, Patroclus (who is not a warrior) joins as well. When Achilles’ desire for glory blinds him, it is Patroclus who pulls him back to reality. In this novel, the bond that is formed between the two is heartwarming. Achilles is known for his bad attitude and harsh image, but through Patroclus readers will see that this legendary soldier has the potential to have compassion and love.
Like this article? FLURT is a completely volunteer-run community working to rewrite mainstream media for young people, and we support ourselves with donations from kind people like you. If you can donate as little as a cup of coffee a day, please click here and become our patron. There are cool prizes too, like getting FLURT stickers and a handwritten note from our Editor-in-Chief, Amanda to thank you for your generosity! And if you don’t have the funds, that’s okay! Just share this article to spread the word and let more young people know about FLURT.