Classics are classics for a reason – they are timeless, evergreen pieces of literature that stand the test of time and manage to stay relevant throughout. So when you see a tragic love story, or hear familiar tropes, dialogues and characters, you’re immediately drawn into the story. Here is a collection of the best classic retellings of 2021 you should read.

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 - Pride and Premeditation
Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 – Pride and Premeditation

This novel offers a unique take on Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice by compounding a murder mystery into it. With the same setting, characters and basic plot that is sure to make readers reminisce about their favourite classic, this book adds an element on feminism to the book. The book strikes such a good balance between preserving Austen’s spirit and adding novel, exciting touches that it’s a must read.

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

Our Violent Ends
Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 – Our Violent Ends

Gong’s duology, named after a Shakespeare dialogue in Romeo and Juliet, is a retelling of the eternal love story. It retells the story of the tragic lovers, pitted against each other due to familial rivalry in a Chinese setting. Our protagonists are heirs of rival street gangs, and touches of fantasy elevate the story. The second book was released in 2021.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 - A Thousand Ships
Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 – A Thousand Ships

This isn’t the retelling of one single story, but that of a whole legend of Greece – the Trojan War. Lots and lots of literature has been written about the famous war, but this is the first time a story has been told from the perspective of women. This book weaves together narratives of several unsung women during the Trojan war and paints pretty pictures of their lives.

A Clash of Steel by C B Lee

A Clash of Steel
Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 – A Clash of Steel

A spin on the classic adventure novel ‘Treasure Island’, this book follows a pirate fleet. Our protagonist, Xiang, seeks approval from her busy single mother, and ends up with a scroll that reveals that her father ran away with the pirate fleet. And she’s convinced that the map can lead to him, and a fabled treasure.

The Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

The Poison Heart
The Poison Heart

If you loved the beautiful, poignant ‘The Secret Garden’, chances are you’ll like its retelling. Briseis, our protagonist, has the gift of making flowers bloom from seed at touch. After receiving an arborous estate as inheritance, she and her family leave Brooklyn for the rustic. But there’s more to it than meets the eye, and secrets lie deep.

She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 - She’s Too Pretty to Burn
Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 – She’s Too Pretty to Burn

Oscar Wilde’s ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’ took the world by storm, and this book attempts to recreate the magic, with a switch of gender. Set in the summer of San Diego, it follows the lives of three teen artists finding inspiration – but at what cost? Crime, morality, murder and obsession threaten the lives of the trio.

Tell Me My Name by Amy Reed

Tell Me My Name
Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 – Tell Me My Name

The brilliant essence of the Jazz Age that appears in ‘The Great Gatsby’ finds its way in this retelling as well. With switched genders, it tells the story of Fern, who’s in love with her best friend. And then a glamorous, nearly perfect Ivy walks into her life and neighbourhood. But when observed carefully, the cracks and crevices in Ivy’s life begin to look all to familiar.

The Tragedy of Dane Riley by Kat Spears

Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 - The Tragedy of Dane Riley
Best Classic Retellings Of 2021 – The Tragedy of Dane Riley

This character driven emulation of Hamlet takes its themes of grief, mental illness, revenge and adds modern elements of bullying and acceptance. Dane’s father passes away, and his mother moves on all too quickly. And now his stepdad and stepbrother bully him. To add to the conflict, he’s in love – but too indecisive to act on it.

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