Booklist: New 2016 YA Fairytales with Fierce Female Main Characters

In the past, a common argument against traditional fairytales has been the detrimental stereotypes of women that they portray. Over the years, fairytales have been reinvented to reflect our current society, as evidenced by the change from Grimm’s or Perrault’s versions to Disney’s iconic films.

Still, women’s roles have changed drastically from those seen in the 17th and 19th centuries, and even the 1950’s! Today’s girls and young women are now highly encouraged to stand up for themselves, speak out and break patriarchal barriers. This trend has translated into traditional fairytales and folktales being spun with stronger female protagonists.

fierce fairytales

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

First in a planned trilogy, the story of Snow White loosely frames a gripping fantasy. After Queen Irina steals both the throne and her father’s life, Crown Princess Lorelai is a fugitive in her own country and hunted by a shape-shifting prince desperately trying to save his kingdom. However, Lorelai is determined to win back her crown, and despite the danger to herself, allies with the dragon prince to kill Queen Irina. This battle for a birthright is complete with love, magic, poisoned apples, and a princess who develops into a fiery, determined heroine.

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

The second book in Liz Braswell’s Twisted Tales series and beginning after the end of the Disney film version, Princess Aurora is stuck in her own dreams in a world turned on its head. Maleficent is the benevolent, caring ruler of a terrifying kingdom. Meeting Prince Philip on her journey through the kingdom, Aurora comes to realize that her reality is magically hijacked by Maleficent’s power. Only Aurora has the courage and power to save her kingdom from this coldly calculating evil.

Everland by Wendy Spinale

A bombed and disease-ridden World War II London is overshadowed by the deadly German army known as the Marauders under Captain Hans Otto Oswald Kretschmer. Since most if not all the adults are dead from illness, Gwen Darling tries to protect her two siblings from being kidnapped by the Marauders but fails when Joanna is taken. Together with new allies Pete, Bella, and Pete’s gang of Lost Boys, Gwen is determined to face Hook and save her sister in this first novel of a trilogy.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Enslaved Jinni Zahra and her lamp are discovered by a roguish thief who bargains her freedom with his own wish for retribution. Cunning and powerful, Zahra helps Aladdin but is also under a vow to save the jinni prince in a month’s time or be responsible for thousands of deaths. To her surprise, her feelings for Aladdin mean she must choose between compromising her mission or her heart.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

In a new interpretation of A Thousand and One Nights with a blend of Middle Eastern culture and an old western, Amani longs to leave her hometown of Dustwalk and enters herself as a boy in a shooting competition. During the competition, she meets an intriguing stranger, Jin, and is caught up in a rebellion, forcing her to flee into the desert. Readers will love Amani and her feisty attitude but also discover a rich, addicting story.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

With her country embroiled in a stalemate war, Princess Maya is promised in marriage to appease their enemies, except Maya’s wedding has always carried a deadly prediction. In a sudden twist of fate, Maya becomes queen of an unknown country filled with strange magic. Her new role leads her into a search for truth where she might discover love and the depth of her inner strength.

Which fairy tale retelling are you most looking forward to? Are your teens excited about any of these new releases? 

— Kara Hunter, currently reading Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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