5 Retellings That Are Short Enough To Finish In One Weekend

by Sadie Trombetta

In an unpredictable world, there are few things that feel as comforting as a familiar story. That's why so many of us enjoy rewatching the same TV shows, listening to the same songs, and reading the same books over and over again. It's also why we're attracted to adaptations of narratives we are already familiar with, like these short retellings of classic books, myths, and fairy tales you can get lost in this weekend.

What retellings offer readers that few other books can is the perfect combination of the old and the new, the safe and the unfamiliar. The basic path the things like myths, fairy tales, and classic literature lay out is comforting, but it's the adaptations' twists and turns along the way that create exciting opportunities for readers to learn, reflect, and reconsider things they thought they already knew.

By now, readers are familiar with the wildly popular YA retellings in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, which include wholly new stories about Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Anyone who loves adaptations probably also loves Gregory Maguire, who has reimagined everyone, from the Wicked Witch of the West and Alice to the Evil Queen and Cinderella. If you consider yourself a Jane Austen fan, then chances are you also know all the adaptations by now, from the rom-com Bridget Jones's Diary to the parody novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. You may think you have read through every version of every narrative out there, but no matter how many times a story is told, there is always another way to retell it.

Whether you're looking for a new take on a classic novel, or a modern interpretation of an age-old fairy tale, one of these five short retellings will get the job done.

'Daphne' by Will Boast

Hardcover Page Count: 288

In this loose retelling of the myth of Apollo and Daphne, a young woman who suffers from paralysis when faced with intense emotion has created a carefully isolated world for herself. But when she meets the shy and charming Ollie, Daphne can feel her defenses start to fall, and suddenly she's forced to choose between the safe but lonely life she's built, and the reckless and intimate one she craves.

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'New Boy' by Tracy Chevalier

Paperback Page Count: 224

A modern retelling of Othello, and just one of the many fantastic titles in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, New Boy takes this classic tale and moves it onto a playground in 1970s suburban Washington. It's a moving drama about friendship, loyalty, jealousy, and betrayal, one that will change the way you see the Bard's original work.

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'Wolves and Daggers' by Melanie Karsak

Paperback Page Count: 122

In this short steampunk Little Red Riding Hood-inspired story, the little girl from the fairy tale is recast as a kickass, crime-solving agent who will stop at nothing to find out what is happening to London's brightest scientists. That is, if she can get over the distraction of her new partner, a werewolf with a knightly history who just can't seem to stop flirting with her.

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'Hiddensee' by Gregory Maguire

Hardcover Page Count: 304

From master story reteller Gregory Maguire comes Hiddensee, a remarkable reimagination of the Nutcracker. In this version, the tale of the famous holiday legend is intertwined with the intriguing life of Drosselmeier, the mysterious toy maker who created him.

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'Winter Glass' by Lexa Hillyer

Hardcover Page Count: 352

If you haven't checked out Lexa Hillyer's Sleeping Beauty retelling, now is your chance. In this sequel to Spindle Fire, Princess Aurora continues her quest for vengeance on the faerie queen Malfleur, while her sister, Isabelle, explores the possibility of real love. Though it may be on the longer side, Winter Glass is the kind of page-turner you'll devour in one sitting.

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