I love a good retelling, and there are few things I love to see more than the queering of a retelling. Take a classic and make it gay — it’s really that simple. From the first time I read Malinda Lo’s Ash as a teenager to now, with my shelves lined with retellings, seeing my favorite fairytales and stories reimagined with LGBTQ characters just never gets old. And there are so many incredible queer retellings coming out in 2022. So many, in fact, that I couldn’t even fit them all on this list. Yeah, just let that sink in for a moment. It’s an embarrassment of riches.
From A Great Gatsby retelling featuring trans and gay characters just like we’ve always known it should to a Sapphic take on Arthurian legend, these new retellings take on myths, legends, fairytales, and classic stories — both old and new. And each one has added LGBTQ characters and storylines along the way. Whether you’re looking for a new take on a favorite or something entirely new, you’ll find the perfect story waiting for you here. So dive on into the amazing world of retellings with me, starting with these thirteen queer retellings coming out in 2022.
Queer Retellings for Your 2022 TBR
The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder
Retelling: Sleeping Beauty
Any book described as Indiana Jones meets fairytales immediately has my attention. Make it queer on top of that I am 100% sold. A bookish treasure hunter and a tough-as-nails warrior team up to rescue a prince under a sleeping curse. It’s queer, it’s gender-bend, and it sounds utterly perfect.
Travelers Along the Way by Aminah Mae Safi (March 1)
Retelling: Robin Hood
This Robin Hood retelling is everything you could ever want. Set during the Crusades, it’s full of historical detail, warrior women, and big multicultural found family feels. And, this story’s version of Robin Hood, Rahma al-Hud, has an older sister who falls for a girl! What more could you want?
One for All by Lillie Lainoff (March 8)
Retelling: The Three Musketeers
This feminist reimagining of The Three Musketeers is full of sword fights and fierce girls. Not only does the novel feature a main character with a chronic illness, but also multiple queer Musketeers (one lesbian, one demi bi) as well as an ace character. We love to see it!
The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson (March 29)
In 1930s Berlin, an 18-year-old orphan discovers her voice and her sexuality — not to mention a found family — when she starts working at a German cabaret. Just look at that cover and tell me you aren’t convinced this is worth a read. Now excuse me while I go sing songs from the musical to myself in a poor imitation of Alan Cumming.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel (April 26)
The vilified queen from the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic, gets new life in this retelling from Vaishnavi Patel. It’s the story of a powerful woman deciding her own fate in a world where men and gods decide the way of things, featuring an aro-ace main character and incredible writing.
Spear by Nicola Griffith (April 19)
Retelling: King Arthur
A girl raised in a secret cave, far from court, knows that her destiny lies beyond this place. And when she hears of Artos, king of Caer Leon, she knows her fate lies in that place. With only her magic, mended armor, and a gelding, she rides to Caer Leon, fighting sorcerers and wooing women along the way.
Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino (May 3)
Retelling: The Goblin Market
After her beloved teenage aunt is kidnapped by the goblin market, Lou must set aside her doubts and learn the songs and spells that will allow her to slip past goblins in the twisted streets of the market before it disappears in three days…and her aunt along with it. I’m always here for Sapphic horror, okay?
Ben and Beatriz by Katalina Gamarra (August 2)
Retelling: Much Ado About Nothing
One of my favorite Shakespeare plays with a bi Beatriz? That’s what I’m talking about. Beatriz has always been quick to put others in their place, and as a queer biracial woman in the aftermath of the 2016 election, she certainly doesn’t have any patience for the privileged Ben Montgomery. But as they grapple over assumptions about each other and have a sparring of wits, the line between hate and attraction grows more complicated.
Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore (September 6)
Retelling: The Great Gatsby
I’ve really been loving the classics remixed series from Feiwel & Friends (see: Travelers Along the Way), and this is another one that sounds incredible. Not only does this book feature not one but TWO transgender characters (Nick and Gatsby), it also dives into Nick’s not so subtle feelings for Gatsby and features a lesbian Latina Daisy.
The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang (2022)
Retelling: The Water Margin
Inspired by the Chinese classic, this reimagining flips the epic on its head with women and genderqueer bandits and martial artists. This will be my first introduction to The Water Margin, and I can’t wait to read it.
In the Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune (2022)
Retelling: The Adventures of Pinocchio
I’ve fallen in love with T.J. Klune’s writing through The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door, so I’m really excited to see what he can do with a Pinocchio retelling. The book apparently features a scientist, an android, an anxious Roomba, and a sociopathic nursing machine and I am just, wow, so excited.
And believe it or not, those aren’t all the queer retellings coming out this year. I might not have had time to go in depth on every single queer retellings coming out in 2022, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on your radar! So here are some of the other queer retellings you can look forward to this year:
Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes
Retelling: Back to the Future
Need more great retellings? Check out these list for more recs: