I’m starting a list tag because suggestion lists aren’t exactly discussions, but they aren’t reviews and I don’t want to put them in Bookish Thoughts because that’s going to become Top Ten Tuesday. OK, moving onto the meat, I wrote a blog post about classics, because I actually hate them a lot. I can count on one hand how many I’ve enjoyed and I don’t mind sharing that fact #notashamed. I got thinking about classic stories and also modern books and how we can appreciate all of them. So I came up with this “if you like this classic try this YA/MG book” list. I mean I guess this list might be more popular if it was the other way, but oh well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Alright let’s get started!
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen you should try The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
I mean hate to love tropes are LITERALLY everywhere. Like SO MANY books use this trope even when they’re combining with another story. To be honest, I haven’t read The Hating Game, but I plan to and I know it’s a P&P retelling. So I’m sure you’d like it if you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice.
Further reading: Literally every book. But specifically: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, The Wrath and The Dawn Renee Ahdieh.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood, you should try Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
Chilling and terrifying, Only Ever Yours is The Handmaid’s Tale with an emphasis on body image and a cluster in mental health. As important as The Handmaid’s Tale, but also includes technology and there’s a tiny bit of intersectional feminism, which is good. A step in the right direction for sure.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding, you should try Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Yup, that’s right. Libba Bray is like, “Let’s do the same thing as William Golding, but with girls.” Plane crashes and chaos ensues with teen girls are left on a deserted island. Try it. You’ll like it!
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, you should try Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Naughts and Crosses is a lesser known book by a UK writer. The book is about teenagers who live in a racially charged world. Naughts and Crosses are divided by socioeconomic class much like race is largely divided by class in our world. It’s an #ownvoices story, that will open your eyes to your privilege (although I personally didn’t like the writing, it is nevertheless important).
Further Reading: Dear Martin by Nic Stone, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, you should try Vicious by V.E. Schwab (sorry this one’s not exactly YA)
Vicious is Frankenstein with a twist. It discusses the same themes and ideas Frankenstein does. But doesn’t follow the story exactly. So it’s not exactly a retelling. But it’s a great story and Schwab is a good writer!
Further Reading: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee, A Cold Legacy by Megan Sheppard (bonus you can watch Mackenzie Lee’s common misconceptions about Frankenstein here!)
- Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carol, you should try The Wind and the Wild by Kathryn Ormsbee
Sometimes it was hard to believe The Wind and the Wild was a middle grade book. Ormsbee is a brilliant writer. She has this elegant way of describing things and moving the characters through the story. But the world isn’t lost either. The world is as imaginative and whimsical as Wonderland.
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you should try Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard
This is a sequel, but as far as I know you don’t need to read the first book (which is a spin off of The Island of Dr. Moreau), I think it’s a nice retelling of the classic.
- Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, you should try The Reader by Traci Chee
Both of these books deal with reading and knowledge and the power of words. As book lovers, I think we can appreciate the similarities between these characters and ourselves.
- The Odyssey by Homer: Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordon
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 5-10 years, this should be a no brainer. Just in case, Percy Jackson is a “magic in the real world” book that follows demi-god Percy Jackson, he’s the son of Poseidon and has to navigate living at a camp that’s for demi-gods. The concept is hilarious and is chock full of witty A+ humor. A great introduction into Greek Mythology for anyone! And much more engaging than the Odyssey (IMHO).
- The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank, you should try Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipović
Zlata’s Diary is much like Anne Frank’s as it follows a child through war. Zlata’s lived in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war and she actually mentions Anne Frank in her diary. But if you’re looking for something similar, Zlata’s Diary is what I would recommend.
I didn’t put Dracula on this list because although, in fact, there are A LOT of vampire YA books, all the vampires in modern books are “good” because they have to be the love interest (bleh). Which is like in direct opposition to Dracula who like, wanted everyone to die. OK? OK.
What do you think? Do you have any YA book recs based on classics?