Ah, the classics. A lot of people pick them up and immediately put them back down. The print is tiny, the words are long, and the details come in heaps. But everyone says they're SO amazing- so how can you get the gist without reading the whole book or reading through the dry SparkNotes? Try a YA retelling- there's a whole lot out there. Here are a few that I like.
1. Masque of the Red Death- Bethany Griffin: This is a retelling of the short story of same name by the master of suspense, Edgar Allen Poe. While few, if any, can live up to his writing, Ms. Griffin does an admirable job expanding on the mysterious thriller. Though Poe's work is primarily metaphorical, Griffin takes a literal stance on the plot of a plague invading a lavish party. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I appreciated the retelling of Poe's classic. Click here to get the retelling, or here to try Poe's classic. You won't regret either. And check out Poe's awesome statue by clicking that link.
2. The Fool's Girl- Celia Rees: This is a retelling of Shakespeare's classic play, Twelfth Night. While it's not the first, it's absolutely one of my favorites. The novel takes place in Elizabethan England, and Shakespeare even makes an appearance as a character, leading, of course, to many adventures. It's filled with humor and suspense (one of the main characters is a fool, a jester, as the title implies) and leads to an epic quest to find a stolen relic. Check it out here or wade through Shakespearean English (with helpful commentary) here. They're both worth it!
3. For Darkness Shows the Stars- Diana Peterfreund: Here we find a really, really cool retelling of a great classic- Jane Austen's Persuasion, set in the wilds of....space. That's right. Space. It's a sci-fi delight, with love lost and regained, an extraordinary journey, and something that isn't a spin-off of the more well-known Pride and Prejudice (not that I don't love that one too). But this twist on a great classic provides a new perspective- humanity has been decimated, and they are living in a world ruled by anti-technology tyrants called 'Luddites'. It's a wild ride, I assure you. Click here to check out the book or here to enjoy Austen's classic.
4. The Once Upon a Time series- Various authors: There are a ton of books in this series, all classic fairy tales retold by some excellent authors. From Beauty and the Beast (Belle) to Jack and the Bean Stalk (The World Above) this series covers a wide variety of classic tales, so there are many options for every preference. My favorites, personally, are The World Above (previously mentioned), The Diamond Secret (a story of Anastasia), and Violet Eyes (The Princess and the Pea). Click here to take a look at the selection- I'm sure there will be something to interest you! Or click here to order a book that contains many of the original fairy tales from which these books are taken.
No matter what kind of book you like to read, there's something out there for you. If you don't feel like tackling the originals, check out one of these books or google 'classics retold' to find even more YA adaptations of those fantastic, if difficult, stories.