Looking for some fairy-tale romance this Valentine’s Day? While you’re waiting for your prince (or princess) to come, read some of these great fairy tale retellings!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. The first book in the Lunar Chronicles offers a futuristic take on the Cinderella story.
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Beastly is a modern retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” told from the point of view of the Beast, a vain Manhattan private school student. Kyle Kingsbury has enjoyed being the most popular guy at school with the meanest and most egotistical attitude; however, he is punished by a witch in his English class and turned into a beast. Kyle now must find his true love and make her accept him as he is in order to break the curse and return him to being the man he once was. Also read Cloaked by Flinn. Cloaked is a modern romantic adventure with elements of The Shoemaker and the Elves and The Frog Prince.
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
A retelling of the French fairy tale set in pre-colonial India, Diribani meets a goddess at the village well and is granted a remarkable gift: flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks. It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when Tana encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward. Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince–and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province’s governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters’ fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?
Ash by Malinda Lo
In this variation on the Cinderella story, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother in the wake of her father’s death. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt. Kaisa reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
In this story loosely based on Sleeping Beauty, Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging, disgusting bachelor her mother has chosen for her. When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. Also by Dickerson: The Merchant’s Daughter based on Beauty and the Beast.
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
The body of a young girl is discovered in a field of wheat. Her flesh mutilated by telltale claw marks. The Wolf has broken the peace. When Valerie learns that her sister has been killed by the legendary creature, she finds herself at the center of a dark mystery, one that has plagued her village for generations. It is revealed that the werewolf lives among them, and everyone in the village immediately becomes a suspect. Could her secret love Peter be behind the attacks on her town? Is it her betrothed, Henry? Or someone even closer to her? As the men in the village hunt for the beast, Valerie turns to her grandmother for help. She gives Valerie a handmade red riding cloak, and guides her through the web of lies and deception that has held her town together for so long. Will Valerie discover the werewolf’s identity before the town is ripped apart?
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage. When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?” Also check out Spindle’s End for McKinley’s adaption of Sleeping Beauty.