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24 Retellings of Classic Books

A curated collection of 24 retellings of classic books.

If you’re like most of us, you were forced to read a selection of classic books in high school or college. I read my fair share in high school and can only remember how much I didn’t enjoy it. While I understand the need to understand and evaluate what makes these books classics, it’s not always the most exciting process.

Over the years since then, I’ve delved into a number of classic books of my own choosing. I quickly discovered reading them on my own terms was much more beneficial. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is even my favorite all-time novel!

So, for those of you still avoiding the classics, I suggest giving retellings of classic books a try! These retellings take the spirit of the story and turn it into something original and often more relatable.

This list of the best retellings of classic books includes a variety of genres and novels, so you may just find something new that piques your interest! Pride and Prejudice retellings have the most options, but you’ll also find retellings of Jane Austen’s other novels, Little Women, Peter Pan, and more!

 

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24 Retellings of Classic Books

 

Romeo and Juliet Retellings

 

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

A young adult retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in modern day California. Zorie and Lennon’s families are in an all out feud, so it’s easy enough for them to hate each other too. At least, until a camping trip leaves them stranded alone in the wilderness. In the desperate situation, they learn more about one another and develop tentative feelings. But, can that survive their fighting families back in the real world?
Amazon | Book Depository | BookOutlet ($3)

 

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Before Serle’s bestsellers The Dinner List and In Five Years, she wrote a loosely based retelling of the classic story of Romeo and Juliet. In this version, Rosaline takes front and center and she explores an alternate ending to this fateful classic. Rosaline and Rob are meant to be together and she knows from their first kiss that they’ll have a happy ending. Until vindictive, crazy Juliet shows back up. When she tears Rob away, Rose not only fears for Rob’s relationship but also his life.
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Julie inherits a key to safe deposit box that leads her on a journey back in time to her ancestor Giulietta’s romance with a man named Romeo. Back in present day she comes across descendants of both their houses and starts to wonder if the ancient curse still exists. I’m a fan of books that jump back and forth to different time periods, so this sounds right up my alley!
Amazon | Book Depository

 

 

Little Women Retellings

Little Women seems to be a hot topic these days, with a recent book release and a hit movie!

 

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

A recent Little Women retelling that puts the four March sisters in various parts of the country pursuing their dreams. Meg is living her supposed perfect life with her husband and kids. Jo is struggling in NYC to be a journalist and just gets by as prep cook and food blogger. Both are called home when their mother gets sick and start to realize what truly matters.
Amazon | Book Depository

 

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly

Jo March’s great-great granddaughters take center stage in this novel! Middle sister Lulu feels like she’s floundering a bit while her sisters are having successful relationships and careers. When she finds a box of Jo’s letters, she takes solace in the lives and feelings of the four sisters.
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo

A graphic novel retelling of Little Women! I absolutely adore this idea and would love to see more classics turned into graphic novels. Do those exist? Tell me! In this modern version, the four March sisters are part of a blended family trying to make ends meet in NYC while their father serves overseas. They rely on each other for love and support and pursuing their dreams.
Amazon | Book Depository

 

 

The Great Gatsby Retellings

I could only find one retelling of The Great Gatsby! It’s one of my absolute favorite classics, so I would have thought more authors would tackle the story. Alas, here’s your only option!

Great by Sara Benincasa

A modern retelling of The Great Gatsby that also puts a female at center stage. Naomi is spending the summer in Hamptons with her mother and becomes entangled in a scandal with her wealthy next door neighbor. This sounds like it has all the glitz, glamour, and drama of the original novel!
Amazon | Book Depository

Peter Pan Retellings

 

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Fifteen year-old Tiger Lily meets Peter Pan in the forests of Neverland and they form an intense bond. At least until Wendy Darling shows up… Tiger Lily is willing to give up everything for Peter but they face dangers all around and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep him in Neverland.
Amazon | Book Depository | BookOutlet ($4)

Never Never by Brianna Shrum

This Peter Pan retelling takes the classic story and tells it from Captain Hook’s perspective. James Hook is brought to Neverland by Peter Pan, but the appeal of never growing up is lost on him. He wants to return to his world, but Peter Pan refuses to take him back. Thus creating one of the most well known rivalries in children’s literature. I love the idea of reading a backstory of Captain Hook!
Amazon | Book Depository

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

A more loosely based Peter Pan retelling. In Unhooked, a girl is kidnapped and taken to an island filled with fairies, beasts, and a rogue ship captain. This is a sweeping fantasy tale that is full of action, romance, and adventure. Out of all the retellings of classic books on this list, this one catches my eye the most!
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

Another version of the story from Captain Hook’s perspective! In this version, Hook started out as the original Lost Boy, one of Peter’s closest friends. But the fun and games Peter promised turned into violence and fighting. Hook finally tells the real story of what happened on the island and how he became Peter’s nemesis.
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Anna Karenina Retellings

The only retellings of classics books for Anna Karenina I could hunt down is a recent new release!

 

Anna K by Jenny Lee

This Russian classic gets a Young Adult makeover! This adaptation features a seventeen year old queen of NYC society embroiled in all sorts of scandalous behavior. Reviews of this are mixed, but I’ve heard if you like a Gossip Girl type story you’ll adore it!
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Robin Hood Retellings

 

Hood by Jenny Moke

Robin Hood and Marian’s daughter, Isabelle, has lived with just her mother inside a convent her whole life. At least until she’s arrested for protecting innocent villagers and later forced to flee. She must seek our her father for the first time to help keep away from the King’s vicious right hand man, The Wolf. I requested an ARC of this one since it sounds so intriguing!!
Amazon (Preorder now! Out June 9, 2020)

 

Break and Enter by Lisa Matthews

This one is more “in the spirit of” Robin Hood rather than a direct retelling. Alexandra is a pro criminal who puts her talents to good use for those who have been wronged. Now she’s up against a smart and sexy security team leader who will challenge everything.
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Emma Retellings

Any list of retellings of classic novels has to include Jane Austen! It’s not as easy to find her less popular books, but Emma and Sense and Sensibility are excellent! So, I was thrilled to find a few.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Sam happily lives in the world of books, but starts her own adventure when a mysterious benefactor offers to pay for her to attend a journalism program. The only requirement is that she write letters to share her progress. These letters turn more personal as she starts to talk about a charming novelist she meets. However, she learns that trust can easily be broken. Emma is my second favorite Jane Austen, so I’m always up for a creative retelling of this story!
Amazon | Book Depository

 

 

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

A more direction retelling of Emma, this version lands her squarely in the 21st century. The names are the same, but the time period is different. Emma returns home to Highbury to launch an interior design business and care for her father. She befriends Harriet and begins to put her matchmaking skills to good use! I’m generally a fan of direct retellings, so this holds a lot of appeal for me!
Amazon | Book Depository

Sense and Sensibility Retellings

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

   Amazon | Book Depository

 

 

Pride And Prejudice Retellings

Possibly the book with the most retellings ever in the existence of writing! If you’re a P&P fan, dive into the numerous retellings below!

 

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha lives with her rambunctious Muslim family, including a younger sister who prides herself on turning down dozens of marriage proposals. When she meets Khalid, she’s immediately turned off by his attitude. That doesn’t stop her from being shocked and maybe even jealous when she finds out he’s marrying her sister. A Pride and Prejudice retelling is even more appealing when it explores a different culture or religion!
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Bennett family is back and just as ridiculous as usual. Kitty and Lydia are obsessed with CrossFit and not working. Mary is earning degrees one after another without using them. Jane and Liz managed to get away and lead their own lives, but are called back home when their father falls ill. They meet Bingley and Darcy at a barbecue and the plot commences as expected…
Amazon | Book Depository | BookOutlet ($5)

 

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

One of the original retellings of classic books and in my opinion, still one of the best! I adore both the book and movie version of this story. Bridget Jones is a hilarious mess who just wants to lose weight, stop smoking, and ride of into the sunset with her dream guy.
Amazon | Book Depository | BookOutlet ($3)

 

Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

This one also showed up on my Fiction Books About Food book list! T  

 

 

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

A young adult Pride and Prejudice retelling featuring characters of color! Zuri is proud of her family and her heritage and has zero interest in the wealthy Darcy’s that recently moved into her Brooklyn neighborhood. She’s worried that gentrification will hurt everything she loves. When her older sister starts to fall for the older Darcy brother, she’s forced to interact with the arrogant younger brother, Darius. This sounds like a nuanced and intriguing retelling and I love the YA aspect!
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz

A Christmas retelling!!!! Sign me up immediately. This one is also a gender swap where Darcy is a powerful executive who comes home to visit her family for Christmas. At her parent’s annual Christmas party, she hooks up with the neighbor’s son who lives a simple life building furniture. They have nothing in common, but she can’t get him out of her head…
Amazon | Book Depository | BookOutlet ($2)

 

Lizzie & Jane by Katherine Reay

The second Jane Austen retelling on this list by Katherine Reay! A loosely based story focusing on the two sisters. Elizabeth was a prominent chef until she returns home to care for her sister, Jane, who was diagnosed with cancer. Lizzy starts falling for Jane’s cute coworker, but knows everything isn’t always this easy. Will she return to her career or choose to stay and build a life around family?
Amazon | Book Depository

 

Which of these retellings of classic books would you want to read first?

 

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