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8 Fractured Fairy Tales for Teens

by Devon A. Corneal


Fairy tales are a staple of bedtime reading for children. Unfortunately, dwarves, giants, and magical mirrors seem to lose their appeal after elementary school. Happily, there’s no reason teens have to leave these enchanting stories behind. They just need new, creative, more adult versions of their old favorites. That’s why we’re thrilled to share a list of some of our favorite fairy tale retellings that we know will enchant your young adult readers.

Have you ever imagined Snow White in the Roaring ’20s with seven street urchins instead of dwarves? Interested in a modern-day LGBTQ retelling of Beauty and the Beast? These aren’t your grandmother’s fairy tales, and that’s a good thing.

  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

    by Julie C. Dao

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    The first book in the Rise of the Empress series takes the bones of a traditional fairy tale — a poor girl destined for power, an evil queen determined to stop her, unrequited love, and magic — and gives them a richly imagined East Asian setting.

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  • Flame in the Mist

    by Renée Ahdieh

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    The very best fairy tales speak to us about common truths, no matter their setting, and this new novel from Renee Ahdieh does just that in a story about a young girl striving for a life unconstrained by her gender. Anchored in Feudal Japan, the story of Mariko’s quest to realize her potential will definitely resonate with adolescents.

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  • Dark Shimmer

    by Donna Jo Napoli

    Donna Jo Napoli is the author of a wealth of intriguing and captivating fairy tale retellings, including Magic Circle and Zel. In Dark Shimmer, she molds the story of Snow White into an unsettling Venetian mystery that will have your teen questioning everything they know about innocence and evil.

  • Beast

    by Brie Spangler

    Beauty and the Beast takes a decidedly modern spin in Beast, with a very hairy boy and an insightful trans girl navigating the normal challenges of high school and their own love.

  • Sometime After Midnight

    by L. Philips

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    The sweetness of this romance, which kicks off with a Cinderella-like meeting, will win over every reader. When Nate and Cameron meet at a night club, they immediately bond over their shared love of music. That night, Cameron takes a photo of Nate’s sneakers before he abruptly disappears. Will the photo be the key to tracking Nate down? You’ll have to read it to find out!

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  • Snow White

    by Matt Phelan

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    Fairy tales, with their bold characters and gripping plots, are uniquely suited for graphic retellings. Matt Phelan’s decision to put Snow White in gritty 1920s New York is brilliant, fusing Wall Street and urchins with the familiar evil stepmother to create a fascinating take on this classic.

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  • Egg & Spoon

    by Gregory Maguire

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    From the author of Wicked comes this marvelous take on Baba Yaga. Imperial Russia perfectly captures the atmosphere of the traditional Baba Yaga stories, complete with her chicken-leg house, while allowing Maguire to imbue them with new life.

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  • Never Ever

    by Sara Saedi

    Teenagers often long to escape the boredom of everyday life. But what if you could really leave everything behind and live forever on a tropical island where you never grow old and every day is a wild party? Wylie Dalton is about to find out, but she may discover that her new freedom comes at a very high cost.