Since I took August off for the most part, I missed out on some nice Top Ten Tuesday topics, and I just had to catch back up – so, get ready for many, many lists!
For the topic on fairy tales (your favorite ones, ones you want to read, or ones you want to be retold), I wanted to highlight fairy tales that we could use in the world of literature – both fairy tales that are a little lesser known and ones that might already have been retold, but could be retold differently, like with a sinister or feminist twist.
I know they recently did a violent, supernatural film remake, but it didn’t sound like it was too good – plus, it wasn’t a book, a creepy book about teenage Hansel and Gretel in a creepy forest! Try and tell me that this wouldn’t be fascinating – an interesting look at a sibling relationship, lush descriptions of a candy house, a twisty, much-more-intricate plot by the witch in her attempt to become a cannibal – we could have so much twisty-ness!
I only vaguely remember this story – a bunch of brothers get turned into swans and their sister has to sew them shirts or something so they can become human, but she’s arrested for being a witch or something? That could be such an interesting story about sibling dynamics and the complexities of “odd” women being arrested for being witches and such, so I’d totally love a retelling.
Have you read Hans Christen Anderson’s original story? It’s dark and depressing – it does not end in a wedding with her father’s blessing after she saves him, that’s for sure. Spoiler alert: she dies. A retelling doesn’t necessarily have to end in death, but it could be quite interesting, especially if there was more of a focus on life under the sea rather than running after a dude in the world we already know.
This is actually a ballet, but whatever. It’s about a bunch of dead maidens who take revenge upon men for wronging them or something along those lines, which could be an awesome story. Yes, it would be bad if the ultimate message was that all men suck because that is obviously a huge generalization – but it could still a cool, feminist-focused story about a bunch of ghostly girls banding together to take down the guys they find unfit, even if that means they have to learn some sort of lesson before the end or something (I think that’s what happens in the ballet, anyway).
This is one of the journey stories – it has a bunch of different versions, so you might know it as the story of Eros and Psyche or a Beauty and the Beast-esque stories, I can’t even remember them all. Anyway, it has a girl going basically or literally to the ends of the world to win back her man – or it could be a girl, because yay LGBTQ retellings! – rather than being the damsel in distress.
My sister had this storybook of various ballets, and I think that’s where I discovered this story, about a prince who saves a bunch of girls trapped by an evil guy who hides his heart in a tree or something – and, of course, a firebird who helps said prince, because of course he can’t do it all on his own! This could be an interesting retelling, with an awesome bird who saves the day for the hapless prince/whatever (he might not have been a prince) and the trapped girls.
I know there’s already a YA retelling of this, but apparently it was better if you didn’t know the story of Bluebeard already; obviously, that wouldn’t work for me. Yes, it’s a big twist, but you can still have a story thats plenty of twists and thrills, even for people who know what’s in that locked room in Bluebeard’s house that his wife isn’t allowed to enter.
This could be a Borrowers-esque thing, with plenty of quaint, beautifully-described worlds with regular items becoming something else in tiny homes. It could be darker than the original, but it could also simply be adorable and so much bigger (in a way) than the original tale of a tiny girl who was almost married off to a mole or something.
This is a pretty weird story – a king promises his dying wife that he’ll only marry someone as good as her, but apparently the only one as good as the wife is the daughter, so the daughter runs away from her incest-minded father. Oh, and they have a donkey that makes gold, and in order to convince her father not to marry her, she asks him to kill the donkey, but he does it anyway even though that’s where all his wealth comes from, so she runs away and uses the donkey skin as a disguise, and there’s a fairy godmother and magical dresses, and she ends up marrying a prince or something? It’s a weird story, but a retelling that could be interesting if done right.
There was this children’s book that my sister and I were obsessed with when we were little, about this boy who was born out of a peach or something. There’s not much to the story, but I decided to look for it, and this seemed to be the title, and I mainly stuck in on this list to remind people that there are tons of fairy tales to adapt, not just Grimm and Anderson ones!
Now on to the authors I’ve read the most books from – spoiler alert: I’VE READ A LOT OF MEG CABOT. Like, A TON.
This is actually wrong – since I made this graphic, I read another Meg Cabot book, so the number is actually 46! And I still haven’t read all her books! I am determined to keep her at the top of this list always – and it’d be pretty difficult for another author to usurp her at this point… Sure, some of her books are much better than others, but overall, Meg Cabot is flawless and needs to always be writing.
Yep, the author of the Gossip Girl series is my number two author. I consumed that series and its spin-off back in middle and high school, and I recently reread It Girl so that I could finally read the last book and be done with the series. They’re shallow, sure, but they are quite addictive with all their drama, and they had some LGBTQ stuff going on before it became more mainstream – I mean, it was shallow as well, but it was there!
Wow, I hadn’t realized I had read so many Lynne Ewing books – I often forget about some of her other, smaller series that I’ve read other than the Daughters of the Moon series, which I’m stilling working on, rereading-wise. As for Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, I just realized that this number is wrong, because I know I’ve read some of her middle grade books and don’t think I’ve updated it on Goodreads, plus I need to finish her Alice series, so this number will definitely change in the future.
I really liked those boarding school books back in the day – oh, middle and high school, you eclectic time! Anyway, I read most of Kate Brian’s Private series until it randomly added magic to a previously-contemporary series about killers and fashion and mean girls and such. I also tried the spin-off, Privilege, but I wasn’t ready to be in the mind of a killer back then – hell, even though it can make me feel a bit unsure about what that says about me as a person.
I know, I’ve only read his Series of Unfortunate Events – I should remedy that! If his other stuff is at least half as entertaining and twisted as that series, then it should be good. I need to reread A Series of Unfortunate Events – I just need the second book and then I’ll have all thirteen, so I’ll do the grand reread then.
I just finished Sarah Dessen’s latest book last month, Saint Anything, and I’m glad to say that it’s a new Dessen favorite. She’s written a wide range of books for me, from 2.5 stars to 4.5; not all of her books take place during the summer, but they all feel like such summer reads, and at this point Dessen is so freaking iconic in the YA community that it should come as a surprise to no one that she made this list. Of course, that wasn’t true a couple of years ago – thank you, Summer of Sarah Dessen challenge!
I read nine of the Pretty Little Liars books before I finally decided that it was too much for me. I plan on checking out the TV show, despite all its unanswered questions and such, but I think I’m going to wait until it’s over so that I can get as many answers as possible. I also read the first book of her Lying Game series, but I wasn’t quite as interested to keep it up.
And, OH NO, I just realized that the glorious J.K. Rowling isn’t on this list, when she totally should be! It’s because I’ve read her two Robert Galbraith books, which are listed under that name, and only eight “official” J.K. Rowling books. Whatever, she belongs here with Sara Shepard, and, no offense to her or anything, but she definitely gets top billing.
Yep, lots of authors. I have a new Ally Carter book right now, so she’ll obviously go up in the future, and so will Rick Riordan since I need to finish his Heroes of Olympus series and am interested in his upcoming Norse-mythology series, but I don’t know if James Patterson, Lisi Harrison (author of The Clique series, which I devoured back in middle school but never finished because I outgrew it) and Jen Calonita will rise at all. Sorry, authors, my tastes have simply changed a bit!
Now you can take a look at some of my auto-buy and auto-buy-ish authors!
I don’t own all of Meg Cabot’s books, but I would seriously consider it, even the books I wouldn’t read as much, simply so that I could have a full collection. And even if that doesn’t happen, I’m sure I could buy enough books of hers that I love so that she’s the author who I have the most books from – she certainly has enough books to make that possible.
So far, I have two of Jessi Kirby’s four books, but I’d like to get her latest, and I wouldn’t mind getting her first either. She just has interesting contemporary stories, nice and thin and easy to just pick up if I want to occupy an afternoon or two – at least, I figure that’s what’ll happen once I reread her summery-good stories!
I pre-ordered What I Thought Was True, and I recently pre-ordered The Boy Most Likely To – I think it’s safe to say that Huntley Fitzpatrick is an auto-buy author for me, despite only having two books published so far – although, by the time this post comes up, I’ll have hopefully read her third one, which will be out by now!
I also pre-ordered Lair of Dreams, which I will hopefully have as well when this post goes up. I’ve read all of her books except one (which I should probably remedy) and I’ve loved them all and have them all, so she’s definitely a huge favorite of mine and someone whose books I need, not want!
I don’t have all of Kasie’s books, but come on, I should – even my “least” favorite books get 4 stars at the least, and they tend to be fairly quick and fluffy, even her paranormal duology, so obviously I need to have them all on hand in case I need fluff stat.
IT’S J.K. ROWLING! I have loved everything she has written, and even though her adult books can be darker and long, I still want them all just so that I can continue to live in her writing worlds.
I haven’t read her latest series (although I have the first book, so who knows by the time that this post goes up – I’m writing this a few weeks in advance), but her other two series are pretty fun and interesting. You either have spies or conmen – both of these things can be quite entertaining, and Carter does a pretty good job, even though her series do feel like earlier YA – no cursing or PG-13 romance stuff.
Maggie gets an asterisk because I love her Raven Cycle so freaking much, but her earlier stuff doesn’t sound like my kind of thing. So, more of her current stuff, less of her early wolves stuff.
I love the Ruby Oliver quartet, but nothing else E. Lockhart has written has managed to become an obsession nearly as much, which is why she gets an asterisk as well. I still need to read We Were Liars, so that could change – and I really think I should reread The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and see if I like it better a second time around.
I love the humor of the Percy Jackson series, the adventures of the spin-off, and unfortunately not much of the Kane Chronicles, a separate trilogy about Egyptian mythology. So, I definitely want (and have) all of the Percy Jackson books, and I might try to get all of the Heroes of Olympus book, but I guess Riordan isn’t necessarily an auto-buy author – he’s definitely an auto-buy author with a bit of an asterisk.
And finally, the last topic that I missed this past month! If you made it this far, then congrats, you’re a real trooper!
Ok, the final topic is picking books for “Class 101” – I decided to go with a “Mental Health 101.” It’s a combination of many different mental health things, from anxiety and depression to the fallout of stalking and death; so, happy things like that, obviously. But this is a topic that’s important to me, so I don’t care if it’s not a happy topic – it’s important, darn it!
Ruby Oliver will always be my go-to when it comes to mental health. There’s plenty of mental health issues, from Ruby’s anxiety to therapy, but the books never feel like true “issue” books. Yes, Ruby has anxiety and panic attacks, but she also has boy problems and friendship issues and loads of identity questions to puzzle out.
Not all of the Princess Diaries books might fit into this, but some of them certainly do. I remember one of the later books in particular, when Mia begins seeing a therapist, but writing in a journal is a general kind of therapy, so I think this could qualify for the whole series. Mia is a very anxious person, sometimes for legitimate reasons, but oftentimes for things that don’t really matter to anyone but her, which really sums up an important aspect of anxiety in my mind.
I can’t remember if the main character goes to therapy in this book, but she is certainly dealing with some anxiety and the more obvious grief issues a year or so after her boyfriend drowned. She has plenty of trouble moving on, partially because she’s stuck in that awkward place where her boyfriend has been dead longer than they were in a relationship, and that their romance gets played up a lot more because of its tragic end, and it all really affects the protagonist (whose name I can’t remember right now, which is really annoying me).
Clara has just barely escaped a mentally (and occasionally physically, if I remember correctly) abusive relationship that turned into a terrifying stalking experience, and it’s fascinating and terrifying to see that relationship growing while also seeing Clara deal with the aftermath.
Francesca very likely has depression herself, but her story was mainly about being the loved one of someone who is diagnosed with depression and trying to deal with that. It obviously exacerbated her own depression and anxiety, and it made her struggle to figure out just who she was and where she fit into her life and family.
Yes, Shatter Me is a paranormal dystopian, but if you think Juliette didn’t have a ton of mental issues, especially in the first book, then you definitely missed something. Juliette is screwed up, and the writing reflects that beautifully, at least in my mind. I loved watching her difficult and slow journey to becoming a more confident and whole person.
Yep, I’m including a book that’s written entirely in texting and messaging and all that. This was the unexpected fourth book that showed the Winsome Threesome at college, and I think it dealt with some college issues beautifully. Zoe is dealing with her first major breakup and becomes quite depressed, all on her own since the three girls go to separate schools; Angela is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to be when she grows up, which sounds simple but is a very big deal when you’re actually making the decision and not just spitting out ideas anymore; and Maddie has to deal with the fact that college might not be the adventurous, wonderful world that she always pictured, at least for her.
The main character is definitely affected by the death of her sister, and writing letters to dead people is another method of therapy that helps her understand that tragedy at least a little more.
More letter writing! I really think this is an important theme – hey, a theme to focus lessons on, look at me being so scholarly with my list! – and Charlie really needed someone to talk to, even if it was possibly a fictional person. He had so much to deal with, and slowly being less of a wallflower didn’t mean that he was ready to actually talk to a physical person while trying to untangle his psyche.
Etta is a bisexual, black girl who had an eating disorder – if a book with this type of character didn’t have some mental anguish that she had to sort out, then this book would totally be doing it wrong. It’s great to see a character who seems to brash and confident on the outside but is often falling apart on the inside.