Note to potential authors: this is a good way of putting together the plot of your novel. Take a song, poem, children’s story, play, myth or legend and then tweak it cleverly. The cleverer the better, but sometimes simple works like a charm (see the bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, for example).
- Impossible, Nancy Werlin (’Scarborough Fair’, made famous by Simon and Garfunkle) – seventeen year old Lucy must perform three seemingly impossible tasks before her daughter is born to save them both from a curse. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
- Beauty, Robin McKinley (Beauty and the Beast) – a fairly straight retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, but Beauty’s sisters are beautifuller than her, to begin with.
- Beastly, Alex Flinn (Beauty and the Beast) – a slightly more adventurous retelling, this time a “vain Manhattan private school student” (in the manner of say Nate Archibald?) gets the beast treatment.
- The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold, Francesca Lia Block – nine classic fairytales are Francesca Lia Block-ed, in her usual poetic and imaginative fashion.
- Dating Hamlet, Lisa Fiedler – if you’re a Shakespeare purist then don’t read this, it’ll upset you. If you’re not, then you might like what Lisa Fiedler has done to Ophelia (who needed an overhaul, in that the most interesting thing she does is drown).
- Exposure, Mal Peet – another Shakespeare, this time Othello in the context of South American football.
- The Seeing Stone, Kevin Crossley-Holland (the legend of King Arthur) – Arthur is a 13 year old boy in 12th century England who is given a magical seeing stone by the wizard Merlin which enables him to see images of King Arthur. Through the stone he discovers many parallels between his own life and that of the king’s. The first of a trilogy.
- The Looking Glass Wars, Frank Beddor (Alice in Wonderland) – Wonderland is a real place and Alyss Heart, heir to the throne, must escape through the Pool of Tears to Victorian London, else her evil aunt Redd will murder her in the same way she did her parents. In a war between wicked stepmothers and evil aunts who would win, I wonder? Followed by Seeing Redd.
- Book of a Thousand Days, Shannon Hale (Maid Maleen by the Brothers Grimm) – the Grimm brothers move to the central Asian steppes (aka Mongolia).
- Once Upon a Time series (fairy tales) – more fairy tales than you can poke a stick at, from The Ballad of Mulan to Rapunzel.
Plus much more.