Drama. Romance. Betrayal—lots of betrayal. Classic mythology and YA lit have more than a few things in common. And because I love them both equally, here’s a list of YA must-reads for anyone who has ever worked their way through a great big collection of classic Greek myths…and wished the stories were just a little bit longer.
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Hades and Persephone: A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
What have we got here? Young girl is spirited away from the lovely spring by the mysterious lord of darkness? Check. She somehow manages to turn him into a ball of mush, despite his being previously seen as a bit of a tough guy? Check. If you, like me, love the idea that just maybe Persephone wanted to be with Hades all along, then A Court of Mist and Fury is the book for you. You’ll want to read A Court of Thorns and Roses first, which means it’ll take a little longer to get to the Feyre-and-Rhysand goodness, but that’ll just make it even better. I promise.
Medea: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
What’s not to love about the story of a betrayed woman getting revenge on her lame ex-lover? Frankie Landau-Banks is also tired of being treated like an idiotic child by the men in her life, expected to forever sit on the sidelines. So when she discovers her boyfriend is part of a secret, all-male society at their boarding school, she decides to sneak her way in. And then sneak her way all the way to the top. Cue boarding school hijinks, some truly excellent pranks, and a handful of bruised male egos. Because Frankie might not be able to put her trust in men. But power? That’s where it’s at.
Helen of Troy: Starcrossed, by Josephine Angelini
Helen has always been different. And keeping her strange powers secret on the super-small island of Nantucket isn’t easy. So when a new family moves to town and Helen’s first instinct is to contemplate murdering their son Lucas, well, it comes as a bit of a surprise when it turns out Lucas may be the only one who knows what’s going on with her. It’s even more of a surprise when she realizes she might be falling in love with him. But things get complicated when an entire pantheon of Greek gods seems to be out to get them, and it looks like history just might repeat itself. Starcrossed is for anyone who ever read The Iliad and wondered what the hell was up with Helen and Paris.
Orpheus: A Song for Ella Grey, by David Almond
Ella and Claire are best friends. Then Ella falls in love with Orpheus, and it’s like Claire has lost her. Their love is overwhelming and immediate, and it’s all Claire can do to stand by and watch as her best friend leaves her behind. And then Claire actually loses Ella, and Orpheus is set to go to hell and back (literally) to save her. A Song for Ella Grey is a poetic retelling of the original myth, so be warned: do not expect a happy ending.
Pymalion: Tonight the Streets Are Ours, by Leila Sales
Pygmalion falls in love with a beautiful, perfect statue; Arden Huntley falls in love with a beautiful, perfect guy on the internet. When she stumbles across Peter’s blog one night, she can’t help but feel a connection. He just gets her. So she sets off on trip to New York City to meet him, and at first, everything seems great. But somewhere over the course of their wild, crazy night, Arden starts to discover that appearances can be deceiving—and falling in love with a portrayal of someone doesn’t mean you’ll fall in love with the real thing.
Eros/Cupid: Only Everything by Kieran Scott
If you love love (and matchmaking), it’s time to bump Only Everything to the top of your to-read pile. Meet True, aka Cupid, the goddess of love. She has been banished to the mortal world, tasked with making three couples fall in love before she can return home and see her boyfriend again. Enter Charlie and Katrina, two of True’s new friends she’s determined to set up. But life in a human body are harder than True anticipated, and her task may prove a little more difficult than expected. The best part? There are two more installments after you speed-read through Only Everything.