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3 YA Retellings of Classic Fables

3 YA Retellings of Classic Fables

By CamCat Books Date: April 25, 2023 Tags: Books to Live In

Written by MC Smitherman

Here at CamCat, we’re all about telling stories that will stand the test of time. We’re not alone in this venture, as I’m sure you know plenty of stories that were told centuries ago that still hold up today. Works of prose and poetry that have pierced the truth of the human condition and held a mirror up to nature in such a stark fashion that we realize the only things that truly separate our lives today from the lives of our ancestors are heated car seats and smartphones.

That’s right, we’re setting the way-back-machine to the 1800s and five-step waltzing with some fables! Or rather, more specifically, some fabulous retellings of fables.

“Rumpelstiltskin” has been retold by greats such as The Muppets and Shrek, but no telling has been quite as unique as Gold Spun, by Brandie June, which weaves faerie magic and political intrigue into this riveting duology. And we’re sure you’ve heard of “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank R. Stockton, but what about The Lady or the Lion by Aamna Qureshi? This tale is told through a Pakistan-inspired world of myth, legend, and love in a refreshingly new take on a classic story. Finally, we also have a good ol’ perspective swap of the classic “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Anderson in Kristi McManus’ Our Vengeful Souls which follows the tragic origin story of Sereia the sea witch.

 If Nor can’t spin gold, she can always spin lies. 

When seventeen-year-old Nor rescues a captured faerie in the woods, he gifts her with a magical golden thread she can use to summon him for a favor. Instead, Nor uses it for a con—to convince villagers to buy straw that can be transformed into gold. Her trick works a little too well, attracting the suspicion of Prince Casper, who hates nobody more than a liar. Intent on punishing Nor, he demands that she spin a room of straw into gold and as her reward, he will marry her. Should she refuse or fail, the consequences will be dire. Desperate for help, Nor summons the faerie’s aid, launching a complicated dance as she must navigate between her growing feelings for both the prince and faerie boy and who she herself wishes to become.

 “He sunk his teeth into her heart and she let him. ”

As crown princess of Marghazar, Durkhanai Miangul will do anything to protect her people and her land. When her grandfather, the Badshah, is blamed for a deadly assault on the summit of neighboring leaders, the tribes call for his head. To assuage cries for war, the Badshah opens Marghazar's gates to foreigners for the first time in centuries, in a sign of good faith. His family has three months to prove their innocence, or they will all have war. 

As Durkhanai races to solve who really orchestrated the attack, ambassadors from the neighboring tribal districts arrive at court, each with their own intentions for negotiations, each with their own plans for advantage. When a mysterious illness spreads through the villages and the imperialists push hard on her borders, Durkhanai must dig deep to become more than just a beloved princess—she must become a queen. 

To distract Durkhanai from it all is Asfandyar Afridi, the wry ambassador who tells her outright he is a spy, yet acts as though he is her friend—or maybe even something more.

 It all started with a curse. 

When mermaid Sereia overshadows her brother and the kingdom’s rightful heir, Triton, the position of next ruler of the sea is in question. Determined to keep his throne, Triton banishes Sereia with a warning: if you ever return, you will become a monster.

Left for dead, Sereia washes up on the shores of Atlantis, where she is rescued by a kind merchant with a tragic past. He earns her trust, but Atlanteans fear magic and Sereia must conceal her true identity as her feelings for her savior deepen.

Her skill with a blade finds her a place within the Atlantean army, and Sereia soon wavers between the pull of revenge and the possibility of love on land, but when a friend’s fate is at risk, she must make the hardest decision of all: expose who she truly is and be burned at the stake as a witch, or return to the sea a monster.


Thank you so much for checking out our recommendations. We think no matter which books you choose, each one will have you looking at this aged world in new and exciting ways.

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