Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes on Goodreads. Each week features a new prompt in which you are suppose to talk about the top 5 books that you relate to the prompt. This week the topic is: Book List for Class on [pick genre/trope/etc]–Just in time for back to school, create a reading list for a class on a bookish topic of your choice.
I chose to structure my ‘class’ around Young Adult (YA) fiction and the use of fairy tale retellings to help with the transition between children’s books and adult literature.
So, without further adieu, I present my contribution to this week’s top five conversation.
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The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden
Publisher: Del Rey Books (January 10, 2017)
Print Length: 323 pages
Fairy Tale: Russian folklore
I chose to add The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) to my book list for a class on YA fairy tale retellings because I found, at least with the first novel in ‘The Winternight Trilogy’, it took traditional fairy tale tropes and presented them to fit the themes of friendship, first love, relationships, and identity that are common place in YA novels. I also rather enjoyed how atmospheric it was, adding yet another layer to a novel that could have been disconnecting, given that the fairy tales that are focused on find roots in Russian folklore.
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Publisher: Tor Books
Print Length: 241 pages
Fairy Tale: Sleeping Beauty
I chose to add Briar Rose to my book list for a class on YA fairy tale retellings because it takes the common tropes found in YA fiction and fairy tales and uses them to engage young readers to learn about the Holocaust. The novel also focuses on a Holocaust related topic that isn’t prevalent in World War II fiction, the persecution of homosexuals. Tough topics can be hard to broach, especially with an age range from 12 to 18 years of age, but these are the topics that shouldn’t be forgotten and thus it is on my list.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Publisher: Scholastic Books (September 1, 1998)
Print Length: 232 pages
Fairy Tale: Cinderella
From one extreme to another, the reason I chose to add Ella Enchanted to my book list for a class on YA fairy tale retellings is because it focuses on ones self worth and how we can each, individually, be our own rescuer. While Ella does get the prince in the end, as she should given the fact that it is a fairy tale retelling, she has to make an unselfish decision in order to break the curse of obedience thus showing how strong and independent one should be.
The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert
Publisher: Flatiron Books (January 30, 2018)
Print Length: 368 pages
Fairy Tale: Original fairy tale with inspiration from the genre
I chose to add The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) to my book list for a class on YA fairy tale retellings because of its use of incorporating fairy tale elements while also being its own work of fiction. Many of the other works I have included on this T5W draw inspiration from one specific fairy tale, where as Albert chose to take tropes from classic fairy tales and create her own work from it. It just goes to show how one can both be respectful of what came before and creative in their own right.
Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry
Publisher: Berkley Books (July 4, 2017)
Print Length: 292 pages
Fairy Tale: Peter Pan
I chose to add Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook to my book list for a class on YA fairy tale retellings because it takes a well known villain, in this case the infamous Captain Hook, and gives them one of my favourite character arcs, the redemption. I specifically enjoy how Henry makes the character of Hook seem right in his treatment of Pan, while also making him morally grey in terms of the rest of the Peter Pan retellings.
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And those are the top five books that I think are the best roadtrip novels. Do you have any books that could fill this T5W? Leave it as a comment below and let’s chat about it.