I’ve been reading a stack of non-fiction lately–books that are interesting, but not necessarily things I want to blog about. That is, unless folks are interested in a giant autobiography/oral history about the Mob hitman who killed Jimmy Hoffa? But I broke up all the history with a couple of lovely young adult fairytale retellings that seem like they might fit well into the YA vibe we generally have going here. Jackson Pearce clearly has the knack for reframing classic stories into modern young adult stories–she’s got a whole catalog of them. The two I read were As You Wish and Sisters Red and both were totally charming, easy reads.
As You Wish is the story of a depressed teenage girl who accidentally conjures a jinn (or genie) who has to stick around until she makes three wishes. But she doesn’t really want to fix her life with wishes, and he ends up getting interested enough to want to stay. The book is pretty short–almost spare–but it does a wonderful job creating a back story for the jinn with a minimum of information. In fact, the whole book gets across a lot of information and plot while staying very simple and not getting overly flowery. Sisters Red is a more complex story, wrapping together werewolves and the Little Red Riding Hood story, but adding in a relationship between sisters that really touches on the kind of layers that love and obligation create.
This might be making a fine distinction, but I found both these to be more like YA books plus a little fantasy, rather than fantasy books aimed at younger readers. There are no elaborate maps of fantasy kingdoms or complicated world building, but both books present a nuanced picture of teenagers and the serious issues they face, magic and mundane.
Kinsey’s Three Word Review: ABCFamily-esque modern fables
You might also like: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver or Robin McKinley’s Beauty and the Beast retellings.