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The Statue of Hans Christian Anderson in Odense, Denmark

Hans Christian Andersen is best known for bringing us fairy tales such as “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “Thumbelina,” among many, many others. His likeness has been memorialized on everything from a Danish postage stamp to statues in cities around the world. To celebrate his 211th birthday, we’ve picked out four young adult novels inspired by his stories.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler - The Little Mermaid

Elyse d’Abreau is devastated when a boating accident takes her voice. Hailed as the most beautiful singer in the Caribbean, Elyse takes solace in the Oregon seaside town of Atargatis Cove – named for the mythical first mermaid. Atargatis Cove is everything that her home in Tobago isn’t: tame and polite, with water too cold to swim in. Everything changes when Elyse meets Christian Kane. Despite his arrogance and charm, he’s the only person in the entire seaside town who doesn’t treat her like she’s about to break.

 

September Girls by Bennett Madison - The Little Mermaid

Sam is having the kind of summer teenage boys dream of. He’s living in a beach town in the Outer Banks surrounded by beautiful blond girls. But there’s something unusual about them – something Sam can’t quite put his finger on. But he does find it strange that they don’t swim in the water. And that they all want something from him.

 

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen - The Ugly Duckling

Terra Cooper is tall, blond, and beautiful. Well, except for the birthmark on her left cheek that several surgeries have failed to remove. Now in her senior year of high school, Terra dreams of college life and an escape from her abusive father. Along the way, Terra meets Jacob, a handsome Goth boy with a cleft palette. As Terra and Jacob become closer, she starts to reevaluate her thoughts on carefully laid plans and the true definition of beauty.

 

Stork by Wendy Delsol - The Snow Queen

A move from Los Angeles to Norse Falls, Minnesota, halfway through high school would be enough to throw anyone off. But Katla LeBlanc isn’t just anyone. She recently stumbled upon a basement meeting of the Aslendigas Storkur Society and discovered that she’s one of them. Now Katla has to deal with the very real responsibilities of this mythical order while also juggling making friends, the school paper, and everything else that high school entails. 


Danielle Mohlman's picture

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.