SparkNotes Blog

If Literary Classics Were Published as Modern-Day YA Novels

There are literary classics, which are SPRAWLING, CREATIVE WORKS OF ARTISTIC GENIUS. 

And then there are their titles, which are not.

Listen, I’m not saying Hamlet would’ve been a better book if it had been called something more dramatic and angsty like The Mad Prince, but yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. That’s why today I’ve decided to reimagine the classics as the kind of modern-day young adult books I would have been ALL OVER when I was 14 years old.

The classic work: Moby-Dick
The YA title: Devil in the Deep 
Find the whale. Kill it. It once seemed so simple to Ahab, but as he begins the hunt for the devil hiding just beneath the surface, he learns that nothing is as it appears.

The classic work: The Great Gatsby
The YA title: Like Moths to Flame
Nick Carraway escapes his small town expecting to make a name for himself in New York. But what he doesn’t expect is to get swept away by love, betrayal, and the most sought-after party invite on Long Island.

The classic work: Hamlet
The YA title: The Mad Prince
Hamlet has always had a gift for madness. And when the ghost of his father appears asking for vengeance, he knows just what he must do.

The classic work: Jane Eyre
The YA title: The Girl in the Red Room
Though Jane might be plain, she’s anything but ordinary. And when she at last finds love, she learns that her future husband is hiding a dark secret.

The classic work: Romeo and Juliet
The YA title: Crossed by the Stars 
The year: 1590. The place: Verona. Will these two young lovers be able to defy fate?

The classic work: The Metamorphosis
The YA title: The Strange and Miserable Descent of Gregor Samsa 
One day Gregor Samsa—by all accounts a very normal guy—turns into a bug, and so begins his quest to understand himself in this thoughtful, heart-wrenching exploration of what happens when a family’s love turns out to be conditional.

The classic work: 1984
The YA title: The Place Where There Is No Darkness  
How can you live your life knowing every step is being watched? When Winston Smith begins doubting the Party that controls all of Oceania, he tries to join the Brotherhood, a secret organization that works to overthrow them. But does he know who he can trust?

The classic work: Dracula
The YA title: Children of the Night
Johnathan Harker should never have gone to Transylvania. Now, because of his mistake, all of England is in danger of succumbing to the ways of creatures who are as beautiful as they are deadly. 

The classic work: Pride and Prejudice
The YA title: When Lizzie Met Darcy
Elizabeth Bennet has it all figured out—until the day she meets the proud and arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy, that is. They aren’t meant to be together. They shouldn’t be together. Or should they? As it turns out, love has a way of blossoming in the most unexpected places.

The classic work: Little Women
The YA title: The March Girls
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy have always been close. But financial hardships, illness, and the appearance of Laurie, a wealthy young man, tests them in ways they’ve never been tested before. 

The classic work: Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus
The YA title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Creating Monsters 
Victor Frankenstein knows he was destined for greatness. But when one of his experiments gets out of hand, Victor finds out first-hand that playing god has its consequences. 

The classic work: Les Misérables
The YA title: A Night of Darkness and Stars
In Paris, where the grimy world of the poor collides with the opulence of the rich, a revolution brews. And a convict, an inspector, a grisette, an orphan, a street urchin, and an aristocrat find themselves caught in its clutches. 

The classic work: Macbeth
The YA title: Something Wicked  
A damned king. His ruthless queen. In a land torn apart by war, witches foretell of a prophecy that could change the world. 

The classic work: Emma
The YA title: A Lady’s Guide to Matchmaking 
Emma Woodhouse has one goal in mind: find love for everyone in Highbury, including her best friend. But what happens when her plans take an unexpected turn? 

The classic work: Oliver Twist
The YA title: All the Crooked Ways
Abandoned at a young age, Oliver Twist escapes a cruel work master and ends up on the gloomy streets of London. But when he finds himself tangled up in the dangerous world of crime, Oliver must find his own path.

The classic work: The Count of Monte Cristo
The YA title: The Gilded Vengeance 
The world is a cruel place and no one knows it better than Edmond Dantès. Framed by his best friends for a crime he didn’t commit, Edmond was forced to spend years in jail. But now he’s back as the rich and enigmatic Count of Monte Cristo, and no one is safe from his vengeance. Not even the girl he loves. 

The classic work: The Odyssey
The YA title: On the Path of Gods 
In a world of gods and monsters, Odysseus must brave the treacherous sea if he ever wants to see his family again. But what happens when he finds himself on the wrong side of the sea god Poseidon?