20 Retellings That Need to Be Written Like I Need Air

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We bookworms love our retellings.

Over recent years, retellings have pretty much taken the publishing world by storm, and with that comes a whole new genre of books that I feel like hasn’t been explored to its full capability. So, I decided that I wanted to talk about some retellings of stories that I would love and enjoy (and, hopefully, you’ll beg the publishing industry for them as well).

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Robin Hood

1. Robin Hood

Because imagine a book where the main character was snarky and went around with a group of anti-heroes taking from the rich and giving to the poor in a sci-fi or a contemporary setting. Try to tell me that doesn’t sound totally awesome, BECAUSE IT DOES.

The Nutcracker

2. The Nutcracker

I will say, my obsession is birthed half from the Barbie adaptation and half from seeing the ballet live way back a long time ago (and it was absolutely stunning, if you want to know), but I’d love to see a modern retelling of The Nutcracker! It doesn’t even have to be centered around Christmas, but it’d just be amazing to see the gorgeous world adapted onto the page, especially with an author who has gorgeous prose.

Pandora's Box

3. Pandora’s Box

Not only does this Greek mythology really interest me, but it also pretty much ends on a sort of cliffhanger, if I remember (Pandora opens the box with all the bad traits inside…and that’s it, basically). I know there’s a middle grade series out there that I really enjoyed when I was younger that retold this story, but I’ve yet to see a YA retelling of this story. It’s so interesting, and I think it’d easily make an amazing series or stand-alone.

Hercules

4. Hercules

This would make a brilliant series or book! I remember that Hercules had to go through a slew of challenges to appease Hera, and it’d be so awesome to see a modern or sci-fi adaptation of the whole thing. And this may or may not have come up because I watched the Hercules movie a couple months back (it was objectively terrible, but subjectively entertaining).

prometheus

5. Prometheus

When I first heard this story, I absolutely fell in love with it. I don’t know why, but I’ve always found it so interesting that Prometheus was a sort of rebel and introduced fire to mortals anyone at the risk of being chained to a rock and having his insides attacked by a bird for the rest of his life, so why not have a more modernized version that talks about the events and gets into Prometheus’ head?

Atlas

6. Atlas

Even though I haven’t read the Percy Jackson series in a long time, that brief moment in The Titan’s Curse when Percy had to hold the world on his shoulders in place of Atlas was SO INTENSE. I think it’d be so interesting to have a retelling of the who, what, when, where, why, and how of this entire story! And because the premise of someone having to hold up the world with their shoulders is so interesting.

Spartacus 2

7. Spartacus

Basically, I freaking love Spartacus’ story, and if there was a YA modern adaptation of his story or the movie 300 or even the TV show, I would be behind it 100 percent. Please someone write this.

Trojan War

8. The Trojan War

The idea of an adaptation where a group of people hide in a giant wooden horse and pretend to be a peace offering is totally entertaining to me, and I’m all for it.

Frankenstein

9. Frankenstein

I actually had to read this book for school and absolutely hated it, but I can’t deny that the concept and the whole discussion about what makes something human is totally fascinating and would make an amazing YA adaptation that delves deep into a topic that’d make people think! The Unwind Dystology (one of my favorite series of all time) explores this concept magnificently, but I’d love more dystopian and sci-fi that talks about it!

Tangled

10. Rapunzel

Okay, this is definitely inspired because Tangled is one of my favorite Disney Princess movies ever (and probably one of the most underrated besides The Princess and the Frog and Brave, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT HERE), and I absolutely loved Marissa Meyer’s Cress, so I’d love a modern retelling of Rapunzel, especially since the original fairytale is pretty dark, if I remember.

King Midas

11. King Midas

This is another sort of story that really has a tragic, cliffhanger ending, much like Pandora’s Box, so it’d be nice to see a sort of continuation of it or maybe even a metaphorical retelling or adaptation of it. I really think it’d be an interesting story to retell.

Icarus

12. Icarus

Again, another Greek mythology that has a tragic ending with it, and that’s basically it. I do find the story intriguing and interesting, though, especially with the fact that a modern retelling could have a main character that’s really good at inventing things, which isn’t usually seen a lot in YA! And it involves being in prison, and it’d be nice to see how one got there, along with their father.

Romeo and Juliet

13. Romeo and Juliet

This is actually another classic I read back in middle school that I really didn’t enjoy (be prepared; there are a lot of them coming up), but the story of a star-crossed forbidden romance would make an awesome modern retelling, especially if it delved into politics and family relationships, or even had an alternate ending.

12 Dancing Princesses.gif

14. The 12 Dancing Princesses

I actually know about zero of the story behind this one, and the only reason I’m intrigued by it is, again, because of a Barbie movie I watched when I was younger about them, but it was a gorgeous-looking movie, and one of my favorites, so a YA adaptation, please?

The Little Mermaid

15. The Little Mermaid

And I don’t mean the Disney adaptation of The Little Mermaid, I mean the Hans Christian Anderson’s version of The Little Mermaid where awful things happen and it ends terribly. Because I want more dark fairytales, damn it! And, also, because I have yet to find a book about mermaids that actually interests me.

Julius Caesar.gif

16. Julius Caesar

Again, another book I hated when I read it for school, but I love the plot and think it would make an amazing retelling. I mean, it’s literally an entire story leading up to a betrayal and it deals with politics and takes place in Rome. That’s basically all I’d need to hear, and I’d want to read it immediately.

1984

17. 1984

I’ve actually never read 1984 ever (it’s been on my TBR for a long time, though), but the premise sounds so amazing that it’d be really cool to have a retelling of it, especially since YA dystopian has died off, and I really miss it (but then again, I only read about five or so of the many dystopian novels that came out, so there’s that). And, again, I want more YA that gets me thinking.

Fahrenheit 451

18. Fahrenheit 451

Again, another old dystopian novel with an interesting concept that has been on my TBR since the dawn of time. But don’t tell me you don’t want some sort of YA dystopian retelling that talks about free speech, because that would be absolutely amazing.

Lord of the Flies.gif

19. Lord of the Flies

This book bored me to death when I read it in school, but again with the amazing premise! The Troop by Nick Cutter deals with a horror variation of this (and it was absolutely brilliant; I’d highly recommend it), but the idea of a group of boys having to survive without adults on an island would be interesting to watch unfold (without the ridiculous amounts of filler like in the original).

The Odyssey

20. The Odyssey

Another super boring book I read in freshman year of high school, and my opinion of Odysseus could be explained as “If him living was the only way I could still keep reading and he was on the threshold of death, I’d still let him die,” but I’d love to see a modern version of a male or female protagonist going on an awesome journey with a group of people for an extremely long amount of time. And in novel format instead of poetry format, because that made the original book about ten times more painful.

Let's Chat

Do you agree with any of my retellings? What types of retellings would you like to see? Any book recs for the retellings I mentioned?

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65 thoughts on “20 Retellings That Need to Be Written Like I Need Air

  1. YES TO SO MANY OF THESE!! Literally my need for some of these stems from watching Barbie Films as well๐Ÿ˜‚ Swan Lake and The Princess and the Pauper would also be an amazing retelling!
    Also, one of my favorite trilogies ever is Scarlet by A.G.Howard and it’s a Robin Hood retelling!! It’s so amazing and there are so many plot twists and Scarlet is such a badass female MC. I definitely recommend it! (Plus she puts all the merry men in their place). Love this post!

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    1. Ah, I never watched Swan Lake (I played the game on the website though lol) BUT I LOVED THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER. The music was amazing. I sometimes still accidentally sing the “I’m Just Like You” song! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Ooh, I feel like I’ve heard of that before; I’ll add it to my TBR! And thank you! โค

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  2. Haha, YES! I’d love to see all sorts of Greek mythology turned into a retelling! Uncle Rick of course did an amazing job — but where are the others??? OMG THE 12 DANCING PRINCESSES WAS MY FAVORITE MOVIE TO WATCH AS A KID… I used to dance around with them. ๐Ÿ˜‚ #dancer And yes! I remember watching The Nutcracker when I was little (and being scared of the evil rat guy omg) and it would totally make a great retelling. TANGLED IS SUCH A GOOD MOVIE! And man you make me want to write a Robin Hood retelling. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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    1. Yeah, he did! I feel like after he did it, other authors felt they couldn’t write about it – but they totally can! I’ve only stumbled upon some Greek mythos retellings, but most have terrible reviews and aren’t as popular, so there’s that! I WAS SO ATTRACTED TO THE COLORS! I used to visit the Barbie website every day when I was younger and play the games! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I watched The Nutcracker so often; I probably still have the DVD somewhere in the house. TANGLED IS SO GOOD; I WANT TO REWATCH IT! DO IT DO IT!

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  3. ALL OF THESE ARE SUCH GREAT IDEAS! I need The Nutcracker, Robin Hood, Rapunzel (I also love Tangled), Icarus could be SO COOL! On a side note, have you heard Icarus by Bastille? It’s SO GOOD (Well all of their songs are… but check this one out!)

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  4. The animated version of Robin Hood remains to be my favourite adaptation. It’s just such a fun film and I’d definitely love to see a retelling of his tale. Anything with Greek or Norse mythology would be a hit for me. I love those tales and you could do so much with them. As much as I love retellings, I’m one of those people that wants them to retain their own individuality. Being able to identify key moments or characters from the tales are the best but it’s even better when you can still create a unique world or cast of characters within the retelling.

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    1. I actually haven’t watched it! There are many animated movies I missed out on, but they’re such cult classics that I feel like I’ve watched them (like The Lion King)! Ah, I love Greek mythology and I really need to learn more about Norse mythology! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I agree! I know there are some people who like retellings to be closer to the original story, but I’m one of those people that likes the subtle references!

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  5. Ahhh I’d loove to see more of those! I really need more retellings in my life!
    You know what would be such a cool one: Icarus fallin in love with the sun! I know it’s a bit clique but I’d love to see an author write that book๐Ÿ’•

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  6. Yes to all of these!!!! There are so many cool Greek Myths that have yet to be retold.

    Mackenzi Lee, the author of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, actually wrote a Frankenstein retelling called This Monstrous Thing! I have yet to read it, but knowing her it should be good.

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  7. Oooooh….I feel pretty strongly about a lot of these, Mikaela. As it happens, I’d be most excited for a good rework of Robin Hood, and least excited for a redo of Lord of the Flies. Coincidentally, they’re the top and bottoms of your list. I feel like you’ve already summed up why Robin Hood would be awesome. But Lord of the Flies? I love that book. It’s one of my all time favorites! But I get that not many feel the same way towards it. I just wouldn’t be too eager for a rewrite on that one.

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    1. Robin Hood would be an amazing book; I absolutely love heists, and that’d be a heist-worthy book! I read Lord of the Flies for school in freshman year, so a couple years back, and didn’t like it, but that was because of the way it was written! It made me bored! But I loved the concept (which is probably my problem with most classics; I love the concept but the way it’s written makes it so boring). But I would love a re-write because the concept is SO GOOD (and I loved The Troop, which was the horror version of it). ๐Ÿ˜

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      1. Huh. Never heard of The Troop, but I might have to look it up.
        Yes, I will admit that the writing can feel a bit drab. Sometimes I’m totally okay with that, but in other classics, I can’t handle it.
        I’m just wrapping up a horror novel, but my next writing project is actually a heist book. If I’m proud of the finished product, I might just let you know when it goes out to readers!

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  8. These are some great ideas as a lover of Mythology I am LIVING for this list haha! I do believe the only Nutcracker re-telling I’ve come across is Claire Legrand’s Winterspell but it didn’t fare too well in ratings. I would LOVE a Pandora’s Box re-telling & Spartacus would be EPIC ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Yes, I’m totally a lover of mythology; I need all of it! Ah, that’s the name of the book; I was trying to think of it for an earlier reply! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Maybe I’ll try it out! Ah, Pandora’s Box would be so interesting and Spartacus would be SO BADASS! I can just imagine the action scenes! ๐Ÿ˜

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  9. I would LOVE to read most of these retellings (probably all tbh) I’m actually also quite interested in writing a few of them. For instance Rapunzel and the 12 dancing princesses as well as Robin hood. There’s so much to try I really want to see what kind of spin I can add to it ;; This post was really helpful for ideas thank you so much! If you find any retellings of these please be sure to share them! I would definitely love to get my hands on them.

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  10. These are great! I’ve actually done several- a darker Little Mermaid, Lord of the Flies, and I’m working on Robin Hood and King Midas! Except, now I’m desperately I in need of Nutcracker and 12 princesses!

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  11. Romeo and Juliet will always translate well, but I like that you have some (sort-of) contemporary books in there (Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Lord of the Flies). These books all have great themes, which would be interesting to see translated to more modern times.

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  12. Before i even read this i was saying Atlas would be a good story to retell and then when i saw it listed i freaked!! lol. His story would be so cool to retell though. I’m not aware of any…… but i hope someone does it soon.

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  13. The actual real Greek myth of Atlas is a part of Ovid’s Metamorphosis, I haven’t read it yet but I do have a lot of Greek literature on my Nook that I got from Project Gutenberg. A Million Junes by Emily Henry is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and it is beautifully written. It’s the perfect mix of contemporary and fantasy.

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