7 of the Most Anticipated Middle Grade Fantasy Retellings
For me, fairytales are magic. I remember being a kid and being completely in love with and immersed in fairytales. My mother would read me Disney stories, such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, and I was also obsessed with movies and television shows that showcased that theme. For some reason, there’s a sense of wonder that comes with engaging with this type of magical story that just sticks with you even as you grow up.
Today, as an avid YA and middle grade reader, and honestly reader in general, I tend to gravitate to these type of stories still. With books such as Cinderella is Dead and A Spindle Splintered, I adore the fact that authors are taking these type of stories and giving them quite the spin for new readers. And, when it comes to the young readers world, there are also a lot of books that explore retellings of classic fairytales that us as readers recognize.
With that in mind, I have selected to showcase seven upcoming fairytale retellings for young readers that you should add to your TBR as an avid reader, teacher, or even parent or guardian, looking to show a young reader a diverse and magical world based off a classic story. Read on and make room in your bookshelf for these upcoming and anticipated reads.
I must add as well that I am hoping for more diverse books featuring retellings for fairytales from other cultures in the future. Those would be so much fun to read!
Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess (April 5)
This book is part of the Sisters Ever After series, which follows classic fairytales utilizing the lives and experiences of the siblings in the background, with this one exploring one of Cinderella’s siblings.
The story follows Cinderella’s third evil stepsister, Tirza, who has lived her life feeling terrible about what happened to Cinderella because of her family’s abuse towards the now queen. Cinderella, though, gave Tirza a chance and a home in the castle, which Tirza is thankful for, since she feels like she does not really deserve the care.
One day, Queen Ella’s famous glass slippers disappear. Tirza becomes the main suspect after trying them on. Desperate to clear her name and not lose her home, she begins searching for the shoes and becomes closer to her other sisters in the process. Are her sisters as evil as everyone claims? Will she find the coveted shoes and clear her name? I cannot wait to read and find out.
The Edge of In Between by Lorelei Savaryn (April 19)
I love, love The Secret Garden and that ethereal story, so I am super excited for this one to come out!
The story follows 12-year-old Lottie. Her usually upbeat life turns dark at the sudden passing of her parents, and she is immediately sent towards an unknown place to live with her mysterious uncle.
There, in Forsaken, she finds out that the home she resides in now is eerily stuck between the Land of the Living and Ever After, the land of the dead. Suddenly, Lottie is thrown into adventure as she discovers a hidden magical garden and other surprising adventures and oddities in the manor.
Full of fantastical elements, this looks like one to add ASAP to your TBR!
Once Upon Another Time by James Riley (April 5)
This is the first to come of an upcoming trilogy by author James Riley, where fairytales are told with a little twist!
The first installment follows five and a half feet tall 12-year-old Lena, who is keeping the fact that she’s a small giant a secret by only growing when she’s outside and exploring the immense village where they reside. Her parents are giants, so this is where she gets it from. Lately, Lena been feeling bad about keeping this tiny giant thing a secret, and her friends in the Cursed City really just want her to be herself and accept herself, finally.
The story gets way adventurous when Lena joins forces with a genie, Jin, who is desperately trying to stop the Golden King’s plans of dark magic from becoming real, and if he does not complete a certain task, the whole fairytale world that they’re in could come crashing down. I am excited for this first book in what looks to be an engaging and awesome series that definitely adds some fun to some magical characters and tales.
Ravenous Things by Derrick Chow (July 26)
A cover has yet to be revealed for this exciting middle grade, which is a retelling of The Pied Piper.
The story follows temperamental 12-year-old Reggie Wong. He lives with his mother, who currently suffers from a deep depression and is desperate to have his father back. His father is deceased, and he is losing hope everyday that he can magically, somehow, bring him back to life.
One day he meets the mysterious Conductor, who makes Reggie an offer he can’t refuse. He can see his father again, but he must immediately get on the Conductor’s subway train which is leaving St. Patrick Station at midnight. Once he gets on the train, Reggie realizes he is now surrounded by other kids who also recently lost a loved one in their lives. What follows next is what promises to be a fun and twisty adventure, where not all is what it seems to be, and Reggie meets some new interesting friends. I cannot wait to check this one out!
Alliana, Girl of Dragons by Julie Abe (August 2)
I am so excited for this Cinderella retelling with a twist, which follows a Japanese Cinderella!
The story tells the tale of Alliana, who always wished to visit the capital city and meet the queen. But her grandma has passed, and that dream seems beyond reach now. Now, her guardian is her evil stepmother, and she is forced to clean her stepfamily’s inn, as well as utilize her creative talents to sew exorbitant ball gowns for her super mean stepsisters. Frustrated, she suddenly feels like her life has reached a breaking point.
Alliana’s luck seems to change when she meets two unique beings: one a young night dragon who Alliana discovers she can hold conversations with, and the other Nela, a super magical young witch. Nela gives her the chance to help her, as they explore a mysterious abyss together, battling scary monsters and going on other adventures. Will Alliana be able to continue her adventures, find her own dreams and ever after, and not get caught and forced to go back to work with her stepmother? I can’t wait to read and find out!
The Gingerbread Witch by Alexandra Overy (September 13)
The cover has yet to be released for this fun middle grade novel retelling of Hansel and Gretel.
The story follows Maud, who was grown up and spent life in a house made of gingerbread with his witchy mother, Agatha. The only issue is that if anything goes wrong, he will turn into a gingerbread person, especially if anything dramatic happens to his mom. One day, due to a fight, Maud leaves the house in an angry huff, but when he returns he is facing a huge and scary surprise. Witch hunters Hansel and Gretel have put Agatha into the home’s oven, and now everything Maud fears could come to life.
So, Maud decides to face the forest of the Shadelands in order to a find a magical spell book that can help with this terrible situation that might result in Maud becoming gingerbread. I am extremely excited to read this and see if Maud can save his mother and defeat the witch hunters to find a happily ever after after all.
A Bit of Earth by Karuna Riazi (Date TBD, Fall 2022)
This book has yet to appear for sale or preorder, and still has a very mysterious Goodreads page, but this is what I know about this upcoming 2022 retelling, thus far.
Riazi has written a retelling of The Secret Garden, in which an adventurous girl of Bangladeshi and Pakistani descent is sent away to the white Clayborne family on Long Island after her parents, a pair of known activists, pass away. I am hoping for a very emotional story, and I am excited for the diversity it promises, especially since I am a fan of The Secret Garden!
I cannot wait for this book to release, which based on the announcement that the author posted on her Twitter, has a “to be determined” Fall 2022 release date, so save some space on your shelves for this one!
What other retellings are you looking forward to this 2022? See any on this list that you wish to pick up? Let me know on Twitter @AuroraMiami. Happy reading!