11 Contemporary Retellings of Classic Books You Probably Read in High School

Contemporary stories make you vibrate. Easy, 10 things i hate about you, She is the man – these three popular coming-of-age films are all contemporary retellings of a classic text. But have you ever read a contemporary story?

Let’s be honest, even with the special bond with our high school English teachers that many of us had, browsing through the classic books they assigned in class could be a struggle.

While some would argue that adolescent laziness was the reason many students didn’t embrace classic novels at school, there’s another reason that might resonate more: most of these stories lack a representation identities outside of a white, male-dominated, cis gender. , able-bodied, and heterosexual, overlooking the experiences of many students in today’s classrooms.

But there are tons of new books that take the essence and themes of the classics and reimagine them, paying homage to the original text while celebrating new and diverse voices…much like a remix.

Below, check out a list of eleven books that are contemporary retellings of classic titles – novels you definitely won’t need SparkNotes for.

Flood by Melissa Scholes Young

Although not technically a narrative, Flood, set in Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, is a debut novel that follows a young woman named Laura Brooks, who returns home ten years after a historic flood and exhausting grief. Caught in the drama of a small town, Laura is forced to confront her past and her instinct is to escape. But can we escape a flood? Melissa Scholes Young writes not just a love letter to Hannibal, but to the city’s enduring ties to the works of Mark Twain and their characters, and their influence on American culture.

Bad girls never say die by Jennifer Matthew

Set in 1964 Houston, Texas, this genre-swapped narrative of The foreigners follows rebellious bad-girl Evie Barnes and her friends. When Evie is mugged, a kind, privileged girl unexpectedly saves her, an act that will forever change the course of their lives. With this feminist novel that dives deep into the constructions of class and gender, author Jennifer Mathieu redefines what it means to be a “bad girl” in a patriarchal society.

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

In the midst of the Civil War, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is a community of emancipated people. Following four black sisters on the island – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow paints a coming-of-age story like no other, with sisterhood at the forefront . Filled with love, devastation, new beginnings and meaningful endings, this YA historical novel sheds new light on the March family of Little woman.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller offers readers an odd twist on the Greek classic, The Iliad, paying homage to history through the eyes of Patroclus and his company-turned-romance with the legendary Greek character Achilles. This novel explores war, masculinity, the fluidity of sexuality, and the efforts lovers have always made to stay together, through thick and thin.

Pride: A Remix of Pride and Prejudice by Ibi Zoboi

Exploring Race and Class in the Context of Brooklyn, New York, Ibi Zoboi’s Pride and Prejudice The story follows Zuri Benitez and her close-knit Afro-Latino family as they watch gentrification take over their Bushwick community. When the well-to-do Darcy family moves into their neighborhood, the two sons seem to be the antithesis of what Zuri represents. But when the families come together, is it possible for Zuri or even the neighborhood to go back to what they once were?

Anna K: a love story by Jenny Lee

Anna K., a 17-year-old “It girl”, navigates life with ease. Sitting at the pinnacle of Manhattan society, Anna has a perfect (and boring) life, rarely questioned by her protective Korean-American father. But after a surprise encounter with bad boy Alexia “Count” Vronsky, the unlikely duo connect in a way neither of them has ever known and risk exploding each other’s lives in pursuit of love. Jenny Lee successfully creates a vibrant account of Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina with this modern story about first love.

The chosen and the beautiful by Nghi Vo

Vietnamese queer adoptee Jordan Baker grew up in 1920s high society, a life filled with wealth and stylish jazz galas. Yet she is still exotified rather than seen as the person she is. This dazzling queer tale of Gatsby the magnificent unravels the disillusionment of the American Dream with touches of magic, and in doing so captures the unique intersections of class, race, and gender identity in American society.

The Code of Love and Sorrow by Jillian Cantor

Coding club co-chairs Emma and George disagree on the idea for Emma’s matchmaking app, titled “The Love Code.” George thinks the service is crossing borders, but Emma sees proof that their algorithm is working right before her eyes, with new couples popping up all over the school. But when the seemingly “perfect” relationships go south and unlikely relationships form within them, Emma begins to question her application. and his own feelings. A contemporary account of Jane Austen Emmathis clever romantic comedy explores the complexity and excitement of unexpected love.

These violent delights by Chloe Gong

This Romeo and Juliet the story follows two rival gangs in 1920s Shanghai. When Scarlet Gang heiress Juliette Cai returns to town to take her throne, she finds her gang’s power threatened by their longtime enemy, the White Flowers. To complicate matters further, the White Flowers heiress is Juliet’s former lover, Roma Montagov. When a mysterious disease sweeps through the city, the two rivals are forced to unite – if not for themselves, at least for Shanghai. Gong’s YA narrative fuses the elegance of Shakespeare’s storytelling with high stakes and equally high thrills.

Born of legend by Tracy Deonn

After her mother’s death, 16-year-old Bree Matthews joins a residential program for high school students at UNC-Chapel Hill. During her first night on campus, Bree discovers a flying demon feeding on human energies and a secret league of magic students with a mission to hunt down these demons. As Bree learns of her own magical powers and their connection to her mother’s passing, she travels deeper into the secret society of the “Legendborns”, descendants of King Arthur’s knights. In this diverse reinvention of king arthurthere is a twist around each turn.

The initial insult by Mindy McGinnis

A YA spin on Edgar Allan Poe The Barrel of Amontillado, this novel follows Tress Montor and her former best friend, Felicity Turnado. Nearly a decade ago, Tress’ parents mysteriously disappeared while bringing Felicity home. After the incident, Tress was wrongfully rejected by her town. In the years following the fateful race, Felicity fought to claim her status at the top of the social ladder and in the process lost her memory of what she knew. But Tress will call him back – setting in motion a sinister plan to get the truth out of Felicity, at all costs. Dark, gripping and filled with twists and turns, Mindy McGinnis’ first novel in this duology will leave readers frantically turning every page.

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About Marcia G. Hussain

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