The best retellings for middle grade readers

Lorelei Savaryn Author Of The Edge of in Between
By Lorelei Savaryn

The Books I Picked & Why

Midsummer's Mayhem

By Rajani LaRocca

Book cover of Midsummer's Mayhem

Why this book?

This delightful contemporary + magical retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream will captivate young readers. It features a realistic large family dynamic, whimsical town, baking magic, and a whole bunch of delightful chaos that gets sorted out in heartwarming fashion at the end. Fans of The Great British Baking Show might especially be drawn to this fun, engaging tale.


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The Gilded Girl

By Alyssa Colman

Book cover of The Gilded Girl

Why this book?

Fans of A Little Princess will find a story both fresh and comfortingly familiar inside these pages. Izzy and Emma's personalities spark off the page, and the ticking clock to the time their magic is either activated or snuffed out forever makes their journey to friendship even more endearing. Featuring themes of justice and social change, this is a retelling not to be missed.


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A Wish in the Dark

By Christina Soontornvat

Book cover of A Wish in the Dark

Why this book?

This fast-paced retelling of Les Miserables, set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world is not only beautifully written, but is also captivating to read. The themes of law and justice familiar to readers of the original story are equally as important for young readers today. This story inspires and encourages us all to be a light in dark places.


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Sisters of the Neversea

By Cynthia L. Smith

Book cover of Sisters of the Neversea

Why this book?

In this unbelievably gorgeous take on Peter Pan, Lily and Wendy are step-sisters who must now spend a summer apart. But a mysterious boy has been watching from the window and intends to take them away forever to a mysterious land. This book tackles head-on the problematic aspects of the original story and contains a story both thrilling and fun. Family, sisterhood, and magic reign supreme in this hard-to-put-down retelling. 


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The Humming Room: A Novel Inspired by the Secret Garden

By Ellen Potter

Book cover of The Humming Room: A Novel Inspired by the Secret Garden

Why this book?

This contemporary retelling of The Secret Garden sets the story in a closed-down tuberculosis sanitarium. Roo's journey to uncover the mysteries of the house and bring life to the garden tucked away inside it unfolds beautifully on the page. With well-developed characters, a deeply haunting revelation, and a setting that springs to life with vivid detail, this was a great take on a classic.


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