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Best Fairy Tale Books For Teens

Updated on January 2, 2015
Illustration by Warwick Goble
Illustration by Warwick Goble

Classic Fairytales Retold For Young Adults

Fairy tale books aren't just for little kids and Disney fanatics anymore. Young adult readers love retellings of fairy tales like "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty", as well as original and modern fairytales with a twist on the classic pattern. Here I've spotlighted a few of the best YA fairytale books on the market, for teens and parents alike. Pull up a chair by the fireside and enjoy a classic fairy tale!

Fairest - Gail Carson Levine


Aza, a big-boned innkeeper's daughter with a gift for ventriloquism, finds herself at court, where the newly-crowned queen draws her into a conspiracy of song. Levine's writing is simple (and her poetry frankly mediocre) but Fairest is a brilliantly-woven story, with twists and turns so original you'll forget you're reading a retread of Snow White.


The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern)
The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern)

Another brilliant retelling of a classic fairytale, The Goose Girl is the story of Ani, a princess whose emotionally distant mother arranges her marriage to a stranger. On the way to her new home, treachery overtakes her, and Ani must learn how to survive until she finds a way to regain her identity. But there's much more to this book: magic, politics, romance, and humor. A terrific read for teens and adults alike.


The Ordinary Princess - M. M. Kaye

The Ordinary Princess
The Ordinary Princess

This classic book is a twist on Sleeping Beauty: instead of a death sentence, Princess Amethyst is cursed at birth with mundanity. With six storybook-perfect sisters, being ordinary can be a trial, and eventually Amy runs away to seek her fortune as a fourteenth assistant kitchen-maid. This is a gentle, humorous fairy tale in the tradition of E. Nesbit, and an indispensable part of any collection of fairy tale novels.


The Swan Maiden - Heather Tomlinson

The Swan Maiden
The Swan Maiden

Doucette is the youngest daughter in a family of aristocratic shapeshifters; while her sisters learn magic from their glamorous aunt, Doucette is groomed for marriage and household management. Naturally, she rebels. While the narrative is a little rushed at times, it's still an interesting and entertaining read.


Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley

Rose Daughter
Rose Daughter

In this gorgeous retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", Beauty's father and sisters become sympathetic characters in their own right, and their ordinary lives as well as her dreamlike sojourn in the Beast's castle are vivid and detailed. This is an adult novel, but suitable for older teens; McKinley's Beauty is easier reading, but similar in many respects.


Fairy Tale Faves

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    • damoiselle profile image

      damoiselle 5 years ago

      @goldenecho: It really wouldn't be the same without them!

    • goldenecho profile image

      Gale 5 years ago from Texas

      I loved the Ordinary Princess....though when I saw the cover shown I was afraid they had gotten rid of the gorgeous illustrations by M.M. Kaye. But a quick look inside Amazon shows they're still there! Whew!