The Beanstalk, a Glass Slipper, and a Frog Prince: Fairy Tale Mash-Ups in YA Lit

frog princeIn honor of Tell A Fairytale Day tomorrow, let’s talk about fairy tale mash-ups. YA authors do lots of great things with fairy tales, from detailed re-tellings like Robin McKinley’s Beauty (one of my favorites) to wild re-imaginings like Marissa Meyer’s cyberpunk version of Cinderella, Cinder (2012 Teens’ Top Ten). One of my favorite of the many contemporary takes on fairy tales is the mash-up. This is a story that recombines elements or characters from multiple fairy tales to make a new story. Below, I’ve compiled a list of five notable fairy tale mash-ups. Be sure to add your favorites in the comments if you don’t see them here!

Continue reading The Beanstalk, a Glass Slipper, and a Frog Prince: Fairy Tale Mash-Ups in YA Lit

The Monday Poll: Fairy Tale Retellings

by flickr user Loren Javier
by flickr user Loren Javier
Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week we asked which upcoming YA-book-to-movie adaptation you were most excited about. It’s probably not a surprise that Catching Fire (out November 22) came in first with 28% of the vote. The Great Gatsby (May 10th, 19%), The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (August 23, 16%), Ender’s Game (November 1, 14%), and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December 13, 13%) all followed pretty closely behind. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

Tomorrow is Tell a Fairy Tale day, so this week we want to know which of the following YA titles is your favorite fairy tale or folk tale retelling. Do you favor stories that hew closely to the original story, or do you like a lot of modern-day additions? How faithful does the story need to be? Vote in the poll below, and leave a comment if we didn’t include your favorite!

[poll id=”84″]

The Next Big Retelling: Gothic Novels

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

We’re all pretty familiar with retellings of classic stories; Pride and Prejudice took up a great deal of the second half of the 2000s, from Enthusiasm to Prom & Prejudice. Then fairy tales became huge, with authors like Alex Flinn producing awesome tales like Beastly, A Kiss in Time, and Cloaked. And that’s not to mention the resurgence and reprinting of stories by Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine. But the past couple of years have shown us the start of a new Big Thing: the retelling of Gothic novels.

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Irish Inspiration

There are lots of ways to celebrate March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. You can wear green and pinch those who forgot their festive clothes. Lots of people celebrate by eating cabbage, corned beef, and soda bread. Of course, anything with gold coins or four leaf clovers will be popular for decorations. A new way you can celebrate is by experiencing the rich tradition of Irish folklore found in teen novels. Here is a collection of books that drew their influence from Irish myths.  The list purposefully avoids myths about mermaids and Sirens because of Gretchen Kolderup’s previous coverage of them in “Fintastic: the rise of mermaids and sirens.”

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Tell a fairy tale day

Today, February 26th, is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, and what better way to celebrate then by featuring YA fairy tales that make the grade.

How do fairy tales maintain their popularity? Year after year they stay with us, the same story adhering to the modern age. Take Snow White for instance: the release of Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsmen tells us she has not gone out of style. Some of the first books that we read (or that are read to us) are fairy tales. As young adults and adults, we are familiar with this world and want to revisit it. Fairy tales are not just about happily ever after, they are a medium for storytelling, for learning, and for transforming.

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined is a YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adult winner and is a re-telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. A lush and eerie tale of one girl’s fight to save her family and herself. Check out the book trailer: Continue reading Tell a fairy tale day

Out of Our Comfort Zones, episode 2: Ted reads “Beauty” and Sarah reads “Beasts”!

In this ongoing series, Sarah Debraski and I try to broaden our horizons: we each made a list of the types of YA books we didn’t read, and then each chose a book for the other person to read from those categories, to deliberately force ourselves outside of our comfort zones and read something we normally wouldn’t. In our second episode, Sarah picks a fairy-tale retelling for me, while I pick a supernatural-horror graphic novel for her. Read on and check the podcast below for our opinions!

Continue reading Out of Our Comfort Zones, episode 2: Ted reads “Beauty” and Sarah reads “Beasts”!

31 Days of Teens’ Top Ten: Hale and Bray Were Absolutely Captivating

Welcome to 31 Days of Teens’ Top Ten! Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.  Each day during the month of May, The Hub will feature a post about Teens’ Top Ten.  Be sure to check in daily as we visit past winners and current nominees!

YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten has been around since 2003, so I decided to take a look back through past winners, which turned out to be a book trip down memory lane.  When I looked at the 2004 list two books jumped out at me immediately: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray and The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. Both are books that I read and loved when they came out.

Bray’s story includes supernatural elements, a boarding school, a clique, and a mystery–an absolutely winning combination.  Gemma is sent to a spooky boarding school in England, after having lived in India with her mother.  At the school Gemma gets caught up with a group of powerful girls who wield their snobby power over her.  It turns out that Gemma is the one with the mystical connection that they crave.  As I read the story it played out like a vivid movie in my mind, and I was completely caught up in it.  What went on in that secret wing of the building? Who was the mysterious man Gemma kept seeing? What was this power she had? Teens loved the thrilling bits of dabbling in the occult, as well as the power struggles between the teen girls.
Power struggles of a different kind featured heavily in The Goose Girl.  This is one of Hale’s signature beautifully retold tellings of a fairy tale.  Betrayed by those closest to her Ani must rename herself and become a goose tender as she hides from those who would hurt her.  Ani is a very strong girl who is definitely not a weak princess character.  Yes, she falls in love, but with her prince they become a powerful team fighting against the bad guys.  This was a perfect combination of romance and adventure.

But more importantly, I remember these books as, indeed, being very popular with the teens in my library.  If A Great and Terrible Beauty was checked in I always displayed it face out-that cover! So alluring and such a standout.  It was immediately attractive to teenage girls.  It was a book that for many months was a go-to recommendation.  And at the end of the year, teens voted and proved what everyone had been seeing-A Great and Terrible Beauty was indeed a top ten book for teens in 2004.

The Goose Girl was less of an obvious sensation to me.  It had a quieter following, but was a huge hit with the right reader.  Girls who liked fairy tales were an obvious audience, but I also recommended this title to romance readers, adventure readers, and those teens who told me they were just “looking for a good book.”  This tale of a girl determined to secure her rightful place, who has special abilities to communicate with animals, and is a strong heroine was a solid story that drew readers into the richly detailed fairytale kingdom the author created.  I was so pleased when it made the Teens’ Top Ten, proving that teens did like well crafted, engrossing stories, even if they weren’t flashy.

You can take a peek at the other winning titles from 2004 here.  In the meantime, if these titles passed you by the first time around, why not give them a try now? I guarantee they are absolutely captivating.  But don’t take my word for it, take the word of the hundreds of teens who voted them a 2004 Teens’ Top Ten title!

–Sarah Debraski, currently reading How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal