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‘Beauty and the Beast’: Which YA Retellings You Should Be Reading

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is based on the French fairytale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. The film tells the story of Belle who, in order to save her father, willingly agrees to live in an enchanted palace with a beastly prince. At first, she is resentful of her imprisonment, but gradually, the two begin to bond and Belle learns that there is more to the Beast than meets the eye.

Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney movie that I saw in theaters. You can imagine how excited I was to learn that Disney would be making a live-action adaptation of my favorite animated film. It will star Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame as Belle, Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as Beast, and Luke Evans from Furious 7 as Gaston. The movie will premiere in theaters on March 17, 2017. To tide us over until then, Disney recently released a teaser trailer for the film.

Most recently it has become a trend to adapt animated films into live-action features, specifically fairy tales. The idea is to bring a modern twist to these classic stories. This trend has also gained traction among YA authors. Many have retold and retooled various fairytales in order to make them more appealing to teenage readers.

Below is a collection of Beauty and the Beast retellings that breathe new life into the tale as old as time:

Rose Daughter by Robin McKinely

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In Rose Daughter, Beauty and her family are forced to move into a tiny cottage after their father’s business ventures fail. When her father is suddenly taken hostage by the Beast, Beauty volunteers to take his place. There she learns that the Beast’s rose garden is dying and she may be the only one to save it. The unconventional ending will probably disappoint most readers, but I felt like it stayed true to the message that the author was trying to convey: “Beauty is found within.”

Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge

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In Cruel Beauty, a resentful Nyx marries the evil Ignifez, ruler of Arcadia, to save her twin sister. Secretly she plots his demise, hoping his death will free her people from a nine hundred year curse. What she didn’t expect was to fall in love with the man she’s supposed to hate. Readers will enjoy how the author incorporated Greek mythology and how the main characters parrot Hades and Persephone.

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli

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In Beast, Orasmyn is the future ruler of Persia until he’s turned into a beast by a spurned fairy. To break the curse, he must find a woman who can love him despite his beastly exterior. I can’t recommend this book enough because it allows the reader to finally peak behind the curtain and learn more about the Beast’s inner thoughts and feelings.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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In Uprooted, Agnieszka lives in a village surrounded by the Wood. The village’s only protection against the Wood is the wizard Dragon, but it comes at a terrible cost: One woman from the town must live with him for ten years as payment. Agnieska knows that her friend Kasia will be chosen to fulfill this task, but she is just as surprised as everyone else when she herself gets picked instead. Great for those looking for a darker tale and a very relatable heroine.


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