I don’t know about you, but I love to revisit favorite characters. I’m certainly not the only one because why else are there countless retellings of fairy tales, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen? Let’s be real, these retellings are just published fanfiction. Fanfiction by definition is a story involving fictional characters written by fans.
There are those who like to turn up their noses to fanfiction, but maybe they shouldn’t. Afterall, well known authors such as Neil Gaiman, Naomi Novik, and Claudia Gray have confessed that they dabble in fanfiction. Publishers are now scouting fanfiction sites for talent and the popular fanfiction app Wattpad has its own publishing house, Wattpad Books.
Whatever your opinion may be, the best part about retellings (fanfiction) is how different authors create new stories with familiar characters. Check out these Young Adult titles below that put a new spin on these classic romantic comedy movies.
You’ve Got Mail --> Tweet Cute by Emma Lorde
In the 1999 classic You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are business rivals and unknown to them anonymous e-mail cyberpals who are falling in love. If you ever saw that movie and thought, “let’s do this story again, but make them teenagers,” I give you Tweet Cute. In her debut novel Tweet Cute, author Emma Lorde has brought these two characters away from dial up internet to Twitter. Pepper is an overachiever and despises her classmate Jack, the class clown. Their rivalry leaks over to Twitter when Big League Burger, a large fast-food restaurant owned by Pepper’s family, is accused of stealing the grilled cheese recipe from Girl Cheesing, the deli owned by Jack’s family. Sine both teens run the Twitter accounts for their family restaurants, their Twitter war erupts and goes viral. Like Tom and Meg before them, unknown to them, Pepper and Jack are slowly falling for each other on an anonymous chat app. A must read for fans of high school as an alternate universe (AU) setting for this classic hate to love trope and for fans of snarky Twitter replies with Mean Girls references.
Grease --> Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
You know the story, good girl Sandy meets and falls in love with bad boy Danny Zuko over the summer, but school starts and they are pulled apart by friends and expectations. Author Sophie Gonzales takes this premise but makes both leads male in Only Mostly Devastated. Ollie and Will promised to keep in touch after their summer romance, but Ollie soon finds that Will has ghosted him and now he’s moving to North Carolina for his senior year. Ollie makes friends with a group of girls with rose gold necklaces and to his surprise sees Will attends his new school. Unlike the sweet loving Will at the lake, this Will is a closeted jock, who is rarely seen without his letterman jacket and jerk friends. Like Sandy before him, Ollie questions if their love can overcome their fears and everyone’s expectations. Spoiler: Love is love. If you love Grease, but not enough to watch Grease 2, this charming and funny LGBTQ teen romance is for you.
Pretty in Pink --> The Education of Margot Sánchez by Lilliam Rivera
Were you one of the few that shipped Andie and Duckie in Pretty in Pink? If so, check out The Education of Margot Sánchez by Lilliam Rivera. Like Andie before her, Margot attends school with rich kids, but unlike Andie, Margot will do anything to impress them, including “borrowing” her dad’s credit card. In order to pay off her debts, Margot has to work in her family’s South Bronx grocery store. She’s determined to get out of this punishment to attend the ultimate summer party with the rich kids and she won’t let her family’s drama or Moises, the good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood, stop her. This coming-of-age own voices story adds more complexity to its inspired source material.