Modern Fairy Tales for Teen Girls

Fairy Tale Retellings With a Twist

Photo of castle in Europe that looks like it's from a fairy tale
Fairy Tale Castle. Malorny/Moment/Getty Images

If you are looking for modern fairy tales with a twist, check out some of these fairy tale retellings. Here's a list of modern fairy tales written to appeal to today's teen girls: a Cinderella who stands up for herself, a Red Riding Hood who battles wolves, and a Snow White who runs away and hangs out with a band of outcasts. These retellings add a bit of flair to timeless stories and are sure to please contemporary teens.

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Based on the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, readers will be swept away into this fantasy world of dance, love, mystery, and curses created by author Heather Dixon. Azalea and her eleven sisters are trapped inside the castle with the Keeper. Each night he lets them out through a secret passage way to dance.  As the heir to the throne, Azalea must take care of her sisters and find a way free them from Keeper’s curse. Readers will enjoy the detailed dance scenes and be pleasantly surprised to learn the double meaning of the word entwine. Recommended for ages 12-16. (Greenwillow, HarperCollins, 2011. ISBN: 9780062001030)

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Tiger's Curse

For 300 hundred years he’s been cursed to live as a Tiger, but when she wishes for his freedom the curse begins to unravel. Thus begins the story of a girl whose summer job at the circus turns into an adventure in India as she helps her Indian prince undo the prophecy placed upon him by a cunning king. Full of romance and adventure, this sweet retelling of Beauty and the Beast is the first book in the Tiger’s Curse series by debut author Colleen Houck. Recommended for ages 12-18. (Splinter, 2011. ISBN: 9781454902492)

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Sisters Red

Scarlet and Rosie March are sisters who become orphans when their Oma March is killed by a wolf. Now they are on a mission to rid their woods of all wolves and enlist the help of their best friend, Silas, the son of the local woodcutter. When they discover that wolves are entering their hometown looking for the newest member of their pack, the sisters and Silas must battle to keep them at bay. This story, told from the viewpoints of both sisters, is a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with graphic battle scenes. Although this is a stand-alone novel, it is a companion novel to Sweetly by Jackson Pearce. Recommended for ages 14-18. (Little, Brown and Company, 2011. ISBN: 9780316068673)

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Toads and Diamonds

Set in pre-colonial India, this is a cultural retelling of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale of two sisters from a poor family who encounter a goddess at the water well. The goddess grants each sister a wish and while one sister spills diamonds and other jewels from her lips when she speaks, the other sister spills snakes and toads- a blessing and a curse. Each sister must determine the value of her gift as one sister marries a prince and the other is chased from the kingdom. Author Heather Tomlinson’s retelling of this classic fairy tale will be a delight for readers who’ve already read her fairy tale retelling of The Swan Maiden. Recommended for ages 12-18. (Henry Holt, 2010. ISBN: 9780805089684)

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Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

This classic retelling by award winning author Robin McKinley is a more detailed version of the original story about a girl who is known more for her intelligence than her beauty. Following the traditional tale, Beauty and her sisters must move to the country when their father encounters financial ruin. Her relationship with the Beast is a slow unfolding of friendship that turns to love. Recommended for ages 12-18. (HarperTeen, 2005. ISBN: 9780060753108)

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A Curse Dark as Gold

Jack Spinner is ready to make woolen mill owner Charlotte Miller an offer she can’t refuse. Set in the age of the Industrial Revolution, this is the story of a young woman fighting against the curse that has haunted her family’s mill for decades. When Jack Spinner offers her a way to save her mill, Charlotte is ready and willing to do anything. Based on the beloved fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, award-winning debut author Elizabeth Bunce combines history with fantasy to create a satisfying and sophisticated story about love, honor, and sacrifice. Recommended for ages 14-18. (Arthur A. Levine, 2008. ISBN: 9780439895767)

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Princess of Glass

In this delightful retelling of Cinderella and companion story to Princess of the Midnight Ball, author Jessica Day George sends Princess Poppy to another kingdom as an exchange student to meet other princes and princesses. She discovers that her unlucky maid, Ellen, has a spell placed upon her by a wicked fairy godmother, and now both girls are in competition for the love of Prince Christian. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted will enjoy reading this book. Recommended for ages 12-14. (Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN: 9781599906591)

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The Goose Girl

Newberry author Shannon Hale retells the little known Grimm’s fairy tale of a princess who became a goose girl. When Ani is sent to marry the Prince of Bayern to create a political alliance, she is betrayed by her royal followers and replaced by her lady in waiting. Ani, who has the ability to communicate with nature and animals, disguises herself as a goose girl, changes her name to Isi, and searches for a way to reveal her identity before a war between the kingdoms is sparked. Adventure, fantasy, and romance await this likable and very strong heroine. This is the first in the Books of Bayern series. Recommended for ages 12-18. (Bloomsbury, 2003. ISBN: 9781582348438).

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Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Although her mother died when she was a baby, Lady Jessica enjoyed a peaceful and fun childhood. Her happy world is altered when her father decides to remarry a woman who is jealous of Jessica’s beauty. To escape her evil stepmother, Jessica runs away to London where she meets a band of outcasts and changes her name to Snow. How long will she be able to stay hidden from the stepmother who wants her dead? Tracy Lynn’s retelling of Snow White is one of several books in the popular Once Upon a Time fairy tale series. Recommended for ages 12-14. (Simon Pulse, 2006. ISBN: 9781416940159)

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Just Ella

Feisty, fifteen-year-old Ella is an independent and resourceful girl: she sews her own dresses, glass blows her own slippers, and is always looking for a good deed to perform. Meanwhile, she is starting to find that Prince Charming is about as interesting as a slug and that her tutor, Jed, is a much more appealing companion. In this fractured and extended version of Cinderella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, readers are introduced to a strong-willed female who discovers that the true meaning of happily ever after is about more than clothes, castles, and charming princes. Recommended for ages 12-14. (Simon Pulse, 2007. ISBN: 9781416936497)​

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Kendall, Jennifer. "Modern Fairy Tales for Teen Girls." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2021, Kendall, Jennifer. (2021, September 7). Modern Fairy Tales for Teen Girls. Retrieved from Kendall, Jennifer. "Modern Fairy Tales for Teen Girls." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).