Books we call classics endure because their plots, characters, and themes captivate readers across decades and centuries. So it's no surprise that modern authors turn to them for inspiration. This is an especially popular trend in books for teens over the past few years with novels that put a YA spin on these classic novels. Read on for three intriguing examples and check out this booklist for even more teen novels based on classic literature.
Rook by Sharon Cameron is loosely based on Emma Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel. In this version, the setting is a far-future British Isles and France where technology has been banned, so in many ways it feels more like the original 18th-century setting than a typical futuristic tale. Teenager Sophie Bellamy serves as the protagonist who has secretly been rescuing prisoners from the Sunken City that was once Paris. She gets caught up in various sorts of intrigue, romance, and complex plots to save innocents from an evil regime. This is an action-packed, dense story very much in the spirit of its inspiration.
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd gives a new perspective on The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has been trying to escape the scandal involving her father and his rumored experiments after his death. But when she finds out that he may actually be alive on a remote island, she travels there to uncover the truth about his gruesome human/animal experiments. This is the first in a trilogy and each subsequent book uses inspiration from other classic stories.
For Darkness Shows the Stars puts a fresh spin on Jane Austen's Persuasion. After the Reduction wipes out most of humanity, technology is outlawed in this future society. Elliot North has rejected a traditional path in life, turning down a marriage proposal from her childhood friend, Kai, in favor of running her family's estate. But when she is forced to take on tenants, Kai returns with a crew of shipbuilders and brings with him ideas that may upend Elliot's worldview. This book captures the romance and societal drama of its source material.