Hello Fellow Readers,

I hope you are having a wonderful day and a good start to the week.

Monday is usually the day I dedicate to New Releases, but this week and next week we don’t have many new titles being released. I guess many book releases are pushed after Christmas time when hopefully the supply chain and paper shortage issues will be sorted. So, I thought it was time I had some bookish chat with you guys. I don’t remember the last time I talked to you directly via post. I’ve been quite busy between looking after a diabetic cat and getting used to my new job, which I am very much enjoying so far.

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of November and we have only one month left to this year. I already started thinking about my 2022 reading goals and wishlists, so I thought I would share with you a couple of titles I put on my radar.

As we saw this year, retellings are still a trend and here to stay. I think in general we are moving away from the conventional and traditional fairytale retellings, and getting closer to more alternative stories, with more diverse POVs or crazy shakes-up. Ideally, we will have less of the usual Beauty and the Beast, which I am starting to think there are too many now. Hopefully, we will have more challenging titles like Cinderella is Dead or These Violent Delights. I personally wish to see more stories taking inspiration from the unexpected or less travelled stories, getting away from the Western fairytales, along the lines of Six Crimson Cranes or the upcoming Daughter of the Moon Goddess.

While reading about next year’s new releases, I came across this super intriguing Robin Hoon-inspired retelling – Travelers Along the Way, which kind of represents the type of stories I would like to see in the YA retelling scene. This is part of a series of retellings, Remixed Classic, and this title by Aminah Mae Safi takes place in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade:

Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix (Remixed Classic #3) – Aminah Mae Safi

A ragtag band of misfits gets swept up in Holy Land politics in Travelers Along the Way by Aminah Mae Safi, a thrilling YA remix of the classic legend of Robin Hood.

Jerusalem, 1192. The Third Crusade rages on. Rahma al-Hud loyally followed her elder sister Zeena into the war over the Holy Land, but now that the Faranji invaders have gotten reinforcements from Richard the Lionheart, all she wants to do is get herself and her sister home alive.

But Zeena, a soldier of honor at heart, refuses to give up the fight while Jerusalem remains in danger of falling back into the hands of the false Queen Isabella. And so, Rahma has no choice but to take on one final mission with her sister.

On their journey to Jerusalem, Rahma and Zeena come across a motley collection of fellow travelers—including a softspoken Mongolian warrior, an eccentric Andalusian scientist, a frustratingly handsome spy with a connection to Rahma’s childhood, and an unfortunate English chaplain abandoned behind enemy lines. The teens all find solace, purpose and camaraderie—as well as a healthy bit of mischief—in each other’s company.

But their travels soon bring them into the orbit of Queen Isabella herself, whose plans to re-seize power in Jerusalem would only guarantee further war and strife in the Holy Land for years to come. And so it falls to the merry band of misfits to use every scrap of cunning and wit (and not a small amount of thievery) to foil the usurper queen and perhaps finally restore peace to the land.

Travelers Along the Way will come out in March 2022. After the massive success of These Violent Delights, I am not surprised to see other writers offering their own rendition of Romeo and Juliet’s story. Among the titles of highly awaited releases of next year, there is An Arrow to the Moon which takes inspiration from Romeo and Juliet but adds bits of Chinese mythology. This is basically another book inspired by the story of Houyi, the archer, and Chang’e , the moon goddess, similar to the highly awaited and praised Daughter of the Moon Goddess.

An Arrow to the Moon – Emily X.R. Pan

Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology in this magical novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After

Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.

Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.

As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love…but time is running out, and fate will have its way.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess (The Celestial Kingdom Duology #1) – Sue Lynn Tan

A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

Going back to Romeo and Juliet, there is another title that really picked my interest and got me super excited and intrigued to read: Waking Romeo. This story is a genre-bending retelling of Romeo and Juliet, with a time-travelling twist and it takes place in a post-apocalyptic London…

Waking Romeo – Kathryn Barker

What if Juliet Capulet met someone who made her doubt true love? What if Wuthering Heights was a message to a time traveller? A cosmic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet and homage to two literary classics in a compelling novel about fate, love and time travel from an award-winning author.

YEAR: 2083. LOCATION: LONDON. MISSION: WAKE ROMEO.

It’s the end of the world. Literally. Time travel is possible, but only forwards. And only a handful of families choose to remain in the ‘now’, living off the scraps that were left behind. Among these are eighteen-year-old Juliet and the love of her life, Romeo. But things are far from rosy for Jules. Romeo is in a coma and she’s estranged from her friends and family, dealing with the very real fallout of their wild romance. Then a handsome time traveller, Ellis, arrives with an important mission that makes Jules question everything she knows about life and love. Can Jules wake Romeo and rewrite her future?

A highly original mashup that delights as it disorients … and asks what would have happened if two great literary love stories were somehow intertwined.

Waking Romeo will be out next January, and I will definitely try to get a copy. I’m sure we will see more titles inspired by Shakespeare’s plays coming up next.

Another trend in retellings foreseen for next year will be the reinvention of classics. I saw a couple of interesting titles, such as Epically Earnest, which takes inspiration from Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with an LGBTQ romance in it.

Epically Earnest – Molly Horan

In this delightfully romantic LGBTQ+ comedy-of-errors inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a high school senior works up the courage to ask her long-time crush to prom all while deciding if she should look for her bio family.

Jane Grady’s claim to fame is that she was one first viral internet sensations, dubbed #bagbaby—discovered as a one-year-old in an oversized Gucci bag by her adopted father in a Poughkeepsie train station. Now in her senior year of high school, Jane is questioning whether she wants to look for her bio family due to a loving, but deeply misguided push from her best friend Algie, while also navigating an all-consuming crush on his cousin, the beautiful, way-out-of-her-league Gwen Fairfax.

And while Janey’s never thought of herself as the earnest type, she needs to be honest with her parents, Algie, Gwen, but mostly herself if she wants to make her life truly epic. With a wink toward Oscar Wilde’s beloved play, Epically Earnest explores the complexity of identity, the many forms family can take, and the importance of being . . . yourself.

There will also be another Pride and Prejudice retelling, which will be set in the world of high school debates and I think it will be interesting to read:

Debating Darcy – Sayantani DasGupta

This Pride & Prejudice retelling brings New York Times bestselling Sayantani DasGupta’s trademark wit and insight to her bright and funny YA debut!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Leela Bose plays to win.

A life-long speech competitor, Leela loves nothing more than crushing the competition, all while wearing a smile. But when she meets the incorrigible Firoze Darcy, a debater from an elitist private school, Leela can’t stand him. Unfortunately, he’ll be competing in the state league, so their paths are set to collide.

But why attempt to tolerate Firoze when Leela can one-up him? The situation is more complicated than Leela anticipated, though, and her participation in the tournament reveals that she might have tragically misjudged the debaters — including Firoze Darcy — and more than just her own winning streak is at stake…her heart is, too.

Debating Darcy is bestselling author Sayantani DasGupta’s reinterpretation of beloved classic Pride and Prejudice — imaginative, hilarious, thought-provoking, and truly reflective of the complex, diverse world of American high school culture.

Another title I’m super curious to read is The Bone Spindle, and I really hope it will be included in any book box. I read so many labels and pitch for this book, but it stuck with me that this is described as Sleeping Beauty mixed with Lara Croft. The crazier the combination the more curious I get. The Bone Spindle promises good LGBTQ representation:

The Bone Spindle (The Bone Spindle #1) – Leslie Vedder

Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones in this thrilling fairytale retelling for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and All the Stars and Teeth.

Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn’t believe in true love.

Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.

Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who’s been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.

Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi–until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she’s stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.

Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way–not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane’s heart, along with whatever else she’s after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.

Set in a lush world inspired by beloved fairytales, The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced young adult fantasy full of adventure, romance, found family, and snark.

The Bone Spindle is also coming out pretty soon – January 2022. Finally, there is another trend of retellings coming up next year. I think this new trend started with Spin Me Right Round, which is a retelling of the movie Back to the Future. I think we will see more stories taking inspiration from the big screen or by musicals like My Fine Fellow, a retelling based on My Fair Lady, but we also have When You Get the Chance, which is inspired by Mamma Mia!

My Fine Fellow – Jennieke Cohen

Culinary delights abound, romance lingers in the air, and plans go terribly, wonderfully astray in this cheeky and charming historical tale, perfect for fans of Bridgerton or Dickinson.

It’s 1830s England, and Culinarians—doyens who consult with society’s elite to create gorgeous food and confections—are the crème de la crème of high society.

Helena Higgins, top of her class at the Royal Academy, has a sharp demeanor and an even sharper palate—and knows stardom awaits her if she can produce greatness in her final year.

Penelope Pickering is going to prove the value of non-European cuisine to all of England. Her contemporaries may scorn her Filipina heritage and her dishes, but with her flawless social graces and culinary talents, Penelope is set to prove them wrong.

Elijah Little has nothing to his name but a truly excellent instinct for flavors. London merchants won’t allow a Jewish boy to own a shop, so he hawks his pasties for a shilling a piece to passersby—but he knows with training he can break into the highest echelon of society.

When Penelope and Helena meet Elijah, a golden opportunity arises: to pull off a project never seen before, and turn Elijah from a street vendor to a gentleman chef.

But Elijah’s transformation will have a greater impact on this trio than they originally realize—and mayhem, unseemly faux pas, and a little romance will all be a part of the delicious recipe.

When You Get the Chance – Emma Lord

Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom. 

There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

This last genre probably is not my cup of tea, as I’m not a big fan of musicals, but I am still excited to see so many refreshing and original ideas being developed as an alternative to the usual fairy tale.

Which of these books picked your interest and will you consider reading?

Are there any other retellings coming out next year that you can’t wait to read?

Let’s talk about it together in the comments section!