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Once upon a time, there was a magical story about a princess, a castle, a spell, and an enemy vanquished. This story was magic not just because there was magic in it, but because it never got old. No matter how many times this story was told, everyone would listen, even though they knew exactly how it would end (happily ever after). That’s what made this story magic…and that magic holds up today.

Fairy tales are some of our oldest shared stories, and even while everyone knows that Cinderella will make it to the ball, they still hold fascination. As time goes by, though, these same stories are adapted and tweaked, keeping the magic alive but bringing them up-to-date to enthrall new audiences. Here are some of our retold faves.

 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Ashely Poston’s charming YA series started with Geekerella, a nerd-culture take on Cinderella, that sees a pumpkin-food-truck worker heading to the sci-fi convention her parents launched, despite her evil stepmother’s plans. From there, the series has just expanded, with both The Princess and The Fangirl and Bookish And the Beast bringing classic fairy stories into this gloriously geeky world.

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The first book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder catapults the classic fairy tale into a sci-fi future, packed with new planets, androids, cyborgs, and space ships. This series takes on multiple traditional tales (including Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel), but gives them an entirely futuristic twist, rather than the classic historic settings.

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Grim

Rather than a re-telling of just one fairy tale, this collection brings together some of the biggest names in YA to re-tell many of the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Each of these short stories provides a different take on the classics, some darker, and some more modern, but all worth the read.

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Princess Of The Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

While most new takes on classic fairy tales look at the best-known stories, like Cinderella, Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty, Princess of the Midnight Ball creates a trilogy out of a lesser-known story: the Twelve Dancing Princesses. The first in a trilogy, this novel doesn’t take the story into a whole new time, but does expand on it, making it far more than a simple prince/princess tale. It also provides knitting patterns—because this is a major part of the tale itself.

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This retelling of the classics was so popular that it has spawned a series and a live-action movie, so most fairy tale fans will probably have heard of it…but there is a reason that this story became so huge. Rather than taking a specific tale, Ella Enchanted plays with the basic framework of classic stories instead. Ella herself lives under a "curse of obedience," and her journey to break it gives this traditional story real depth.

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Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

This may not be a retelling in the sense that the other books on this list are, but it is something that may be even better for fans of fairy tales: a look at the real life women that may have inspired them, and a few that deserve their own Disney movies! These historical princesses ruled, fought, spied, and took on the world in their own way—with stories so much better than a prince and a castle to be discovered.

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A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Finally, another sci-fi take—this time, on Sleeping Beauty. Often, Aurora is a far-from-favorite princess, especially as she spends much of the action asleep! (After all, that’s a key part of the story.) In this novel, though, Rosalinda’s story starts after she is woken up, and while she is woken by a kiss, it’s not to a happy ending with a prince, but to find that over six decades have passed, the world is entirely changed, and she may just be the heir to an empire…

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What are your favorite fairy tale retellings? Tweet @quirkbooks and let us know.