Time and time again you’ve heard the same stories: a young girl gets to go to the ball with the help of her fairy godmother, a scientist brings his creature to life, a boy flies into a world of adventure because he doesn’t want to grow up, and more. While there’s definitely a certain charm to the classics everyone knows by heart, sometimes you’re simply looking for a twist to that familiarity. For a fresh take on the stories you grew up with, check out these eight titles!
Laurie Fox’s THE LOST GIRLS follows a contemporary Wendy Darling, who accompanies a Peter Pan-esque man-child into The Neverland, falls in love with him, and returns home to a far less imaginative reality, just as all the other women in her family have done. Though this family legend has affected generations of Darling women, Wendy wants to end the cycle before it touches her own daughter. In this tale of balancing freedom and security as well as fantasy and reality, Wendy’s journey to self-realization captures the essence of the original Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, but through a feminine lens that speaks to women of all ages.
Now a major motion picture starring Louis Partridge and Vanessa Redgrave, The Lost Girls is the story of a now grown-up Wendy and her ties to Peter Pan, in a novelized retelling of the original fairy tale.
Imagine a world in which the sole purpose of the women in the Darling family has been to entertain Peter Pan and his lost tribe. That is, until the contemporary Wendy Darling decides that she does not want to succumb to the same fate of the three generations before her. And she does not want to bear a daughter whose destiny is to follow Peter Pan to a suspect fantasyland, become thoroughly smitten, and then go back to a life that is far less remarkable, waiting forever to return. In The Lost Girls, Wendy straddles the line separating the human desire for freedom and security, fantasy and reality in a truly unique take on a classic.
Inspired by Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, THE CHILDREN ON THE HILL by Jennifer McMahon introduces a brilliant doctor and her creature. In this case, it is psychiatrist Dr. Helen Hildreth who brings home a strange child—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—named Iris, to play with her grandkids, Vi and Eric. Besides the usual activities that children enjoy, Vi, Eric, and Iris also meet in their clubhouse to secretly hunt monsters because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere. While this story plays out in 1978, Lizzy Shelley, host of popular podcast Monsters Among Us in the year 2019, is hunting down monsters who abduct young girls—but one of those monsters is her very own sister. This twist on the classic Frankenstein explores both the primal fears we all have to face and what it truly means to be a monster.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Drowning Kind comes a genre-defying new novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.
1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.
Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.
Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.
2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.
A haunting, vividly suspenseful page-turner from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.
While Professor Henry Higgins was tasked with transforming the crude Eliza Doolittle into a presentable high society woman in My Fair Lady, the roles are reversed in Lauren Layne’s MADE IN MANHATTAN. Set in modern New York, pampered and privileged socialite Violet Townsend must help Louisiana native Cain Stone become a polished gentleman worthy of inheriting his family’s business. However, as Violet teaches Cain the inner workings of dinner parties and tux fittings, she begins to realize that she can learn something from him too: there’s more to life than just blindly following society’s rules and, sometimes, the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Central Park Pact comes a reverse My Fair Lady for the modern era about a pampered and privileged Manhattan socialite who must teach an unpolished and denim-loving nobody from the Louisiana Bayou how to fit in with the upper crust of New York City. Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.
Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement.
Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman.
But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.
We all know the story from his perspective: a middle-aged professor becomes increasingly infatuated with an underage girl and abuses his power for sexual gain—it’s Vladimir Nabokov’s LOLITA. But what about the story from her perspective? No, not her as in the young girl he desires, but her as in the wife of the sexual predator in question. Julia May Jonas’s VLADIMIR introduces a popular English professor whose charismatic husband at the same small liberal arts college is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with former students. Life becomes even more complex for our narrator when she becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a successful, young, married novelist who’s just arrived on campus. Cynical in a darkly funny manner, VLADIMIR explores the nuances and gray area between power and desire beyond the classic LOLITA story.
A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely debut novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her professor husband by former students—a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own...
“When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.”
And so we are introduced to our deliciously incisive narrator: a popular English professor whose charismatic husband at the same small liberal arts college is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extra-marital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, their tinder box world comes dangerously close to exploding.
With this bold, edgy, and uncommonly assured debut, author Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the boundaries of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Propulsive, darkly funny, and wildly entertaining, Vladimir perfectly captures the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the nuances and the grey area between power and desire.
When Cinderella wanted to go to the ball, her fairy godmother transformed her from a tattered maid into a beautiful maiden. In this modern princess tale, best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just regular girls with average looks and typical quarter-life crises, until they encounter Pretty—a magical tincture that makes them gorgeous, as if waving a magic wand. However, though the gift of beauty opens many unexpected doors for these girls, the dark side to Pretty means they may not find a happily-ever-after like Cinderella did. Georgia Clark’s THE REGULARS begs the important question: What would you sacrifice to be pretty?
-Redbook Best of the Year Pick
-PopSugar’s Best Books of the Year
-Teen Vogue’s Best Books of the Year
-Reading with Robin 2016 Favorite
A fierce, feisty, and “compulsively delicious” (Redbook) debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular young women who suddenly have their fantasies come true…or do they?
Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. With average looks and typical quarter-life crises, they’re trying to make it up the corporate ladder, make sense of online dating, and make rent.
Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well...gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.
But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:
What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?
Wildly irreverent, blatantly sexy, and observed with pitch-perfect wit, The Regulars is a fresh, “twisted, modern-day take on Cinderella.” (InStyle), perfect for fans of Jennifer Close and Kevin Kwan.
Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE meets Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN in this fusion of classics where Dr. Victor Frankenstein falls for unmarried Bennet sister Mary, who hopes to escape spinsterhood through this newfound romance. Grappling with loneliness and abandonment from his creator, the Creature longs for a bride as well, which becomes another responsibility for Dr. Frankenstein as he plays God. In a tragic romance of the bittersweet flavor, John Kessel’s PRIDE AND PROMETHEUS blends the two classics while exploring themes of obsession and attachment.
Living up to her namesake, Charlotte Brontë’s JANE EYRE, Jane—of Rachael Hawkins’s THE WIFE UPSTAIRS—is a plain and simple girl who grapples with life’s obstacles, including financial distress and romantic competition. While Jane Eyre fell for her Thornfield Hall master, Mr. Rochester, who was married to his mad wife, Bertha, the modern-day Jane sets her sights on Thornfield Estate’s most mysterious resident: the rich and handsome Eddie Rochester, whose wife, Bea, remains hauntingly inescapable despite having drowned in a boating accident. Fast-paced and suspenseful, this JANE EYRE retelling follows Jane’s ambitious goal of winning over Eddie’s heart before either of their pasts catches up to her.
In Shakespeare’s Othello, the titular Black Venetian army general falls victim to the manipulations of his senior officer, Iago, who, out of jealousy and racial prejudice, pushes Othello to murder his beautiful wife, Desdemona, who is white. This tragedy inspired Tracy Chevalier’s NEW BOY, where jealousy and betrayal run rampant in a 1970s suburban Washington elementary schoolyard—a breeding ground of young, fickle love and casual racism. Osei Kokote expects to struggle as a new Black student in an all-white school, until he befriends Dee, whose popularity is unmatched, much to the disdain of another student, Ian. Vowing to destroy the friendship between the Black boy and the golden girl, Ian’s bullying techniques tear apart the school—teachers and students alike—ensuring that nothing will ever be the same again.
Photo credit: iStock / Anastasiia Yanishevska