Summer Break Reading Challenge #8: Read-a-Like

For our next Summer Break Reading Challenge, Karin has asked each of the participants to create a read-a-like list for one of our favorite novels/genres. As soon as I saw this challenge, I immediately thought of one of my favorite fairy tale retellings, the spectacular Beauty by Robin McKinley. McKinley is a favorite author for many people (including me) and so I thought I'd create a read-a-like list of those books that are also retellings of the timeless story of Beauty and the Beast. Enjoy!

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Sixteen-year-old Beauty has never liked her nickname. Thin, awkward, and undersized, with big hands and huge feet, she has always thought of herself as the plainest girl in her family--certainly not nearly as lovely as her elder sisters Hope and Grace. But what she lacks in looks, she makes up for in courage. When her father comes home one day with the strange tale of an enchanted castle in the wood and the terrible promise he has made to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows what she must do. She must go the castle and tame the Beast--if such a thing is possible...
Here is the unusual love story of a mostly unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.
- Goodreads


Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted - my review
Beastly by Alex Flinn - my review
 Hearts Blood by Juliet Marillier - my review


Here's another three retellings that I haven't read yet but discovered when I was searching around the internets. I'm not sure how good the second two are but I have it on good authority that Rose Daughter is something special. It's one that's been on my TBR list for sometime now.
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Twenty years ago, Robin McKinley dazzled readers with the power of her novel Beauty. Now this extraordinarily gifted novelist returns to the story of Beauty and the Beast with a fresh perspective, ingenuity, and mature insight. With Rose Daughter, she presents her finest and most deeply felt work—a compelling, richly imagined, and haunting exploration of the transforming power of love. - Goodreads

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli

In a narrative as glittering and richly detailed as a Persian miniature, Donna Jo Napoli interprets and amplifies the tale of Beauty and the Beast with startling originality. [...] 

Here she uses the intriguing setting of ancient Persia in a glorious retelling of the now-Disneyfied favorite--a bold undertaking with which authors from Robin McKinley to Francesca Lia Block have also challenged themselves. Napoli, however, brings a fresh slant to the story through the eyes of the Beast, Prince Orasmyn, who has been transformed by a curse into a lion--and can only be redeemed by the love of a woman. From this four-footed perspective, the young prince struggles to learn how to survive as a beast while retaining his humanity in devotion to Islamic moral principles. Fleeing his father's hunting park, he travels as an animal across Asia to France, where he at last finds an abandoned chateau. There, using paws and jaws, he plants a rose garden and prepares the castle for the woman he hopes will come to love him. Enter the merchant, the plucked rose, the brave Beauty, and the story wends to its traditional end--but this time with compassion and a new vividness. Into this sumptuous tapestry Napoli has woven a wealth of lore about Persian literature, the tenets of Islam, rose culture, animal behavior--even a leonine mating scene. This level of detail makes for a leisurely pace and a novel that may be more appropriate for older teens who are willing to savor the journey rather than the destination. After all, we all know how the story ends. - Goodreads

Belle: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Cameron Dokey

Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one's true love.

During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood -- and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart. - Goodreads

Are there any other favorite Beauty and the Beast retellings I should know about? Please don't be shy in filling in my gaps.


Chachic said...

Oooh Crazy Beautiful looks interesting! That's the only one in your list that I haven't heard of. Already have a copy of Heart's Blood but I'll read it after I'm done with the Sevenwaters books. I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite.

I read Beast a couple of years ago and I remember finding it interesting because the story was told from the Beast's POV. Belle, like the rest of the books in the Once Upon a Time series, was too short for me. I felt like the story wasn't properly developed.

Karen said...

I enjoyed your list. Retellings are really popular at my HS library. I didn't know Crazy Beautiful was a retelling of B&B. I have it in the collection so I'm excited to read it. Also the Marillier - I love Cybele's Secret. One that I read this winter Sun & Moon, Ice & Snow (I think that's right) by Jessica Day George is partly a B&B story. Thanks!

Lenore Appelhans said...

I love B&B retellings and have read most of these on your list.

Anonymous said...

I love Beauty and the Beast retellings! "Beauty" is my favorite, hands-down. I have also read "Rose Daughter," but I wasn't as fond of it (though it was good!). I've also read "Beastly" (which I enjoyed) and I believe "Belle" (which I can only vaguely remember).

Michelle said...

Chachic - CRAZY BEAUTIFUL was a pretty good read, it's worth a shot although IMO the story wasn't as developed as it could have been. But... HEARTS BLOOD is wonderful and I'm sure you'll enjoy it too. Good to know about BEAST - I plan to pick that one up too! Thanks.

Karen - I heartily recommend anything by Marillier. Give this one a go - I think you'll find it unique and beautiful. I did think about including all the SUN & MOON, ICE & SNOW type books since they really are their own Norwegian fairy tale - but still so similar to B&B.

Lenore - There's just something about B&B that makes you fall in love every single time!

Makayla - I'll have to pick up ROSE DAUGHTER soon, I'm interested to see how it is since I've heard so many different thoughts on it. Also, have you finished the PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER series yet? I am curious as to how you liked them!

Anonymous said...

I finished the first two books and REALLY enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I'm stalled now because the library in the town I'm in for the summer doesn't have the third book (but it does have the fourth? :/). I'm hoping to track it down once I go back to school in August, because I'm anxious to know what happens to Meg next!!

Michelle said...

Makayla - Oh I'm so happy!! Srsly. Just made my day. Although have you tried interlibrary loan for #3? just a thought, cause #3 & 4 will so blow your mind. You won't believe how awesome they are.

Anonymous said...

Heart's Blood is my absolute favorite fairy tale retelling. Marillier did such an amazing job with it.