I’m a bit of a Disney freak, I’ll be the first to admit it and lot of time I compare some of these brilliant (and not so brilliant) YA protagonists to the various princesses. So, today I’d thought I’d look at some of the Disney princesses and recommend some books based on said princesses.
1) Snow White: I’d thought I go with the first princesses first. Honestly, while I appreciate the fact that it was essentially a pioneering movie, I don’t like the Disney version of this fairytale. The original story is so dark and twisted, I really wish that Disney would’ve waited before it produced the film version. Because I really think the character Snow White could’ve been more than what she ended up being. The character in the 1930’s film, is pretty bland. Your typical damsel in distress. But fairly bland characters, are pretty popular in YA. Really in all forms of media. Having such a bland character makes creating a plot, so much easier in a lot of ways.
- The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer: This is pretty obvious. Even Bella Swan herself later played Snow White (with Thor no less), but the character Bella is pretty similar to Snow White in a lot of ways. Though, Snow White, at least can take care of herself when she gets in the woods (though she almost gets killed too).
- Fairest by Gail Carson Levine: You’ll probably notice that in each of these recommendations I’m going to list a retelling. Honestly, I haven’t read a lot of Snow White retellings. Let alone Snow White retellings that I actually liked. I like Levine’s writing. Ella Enchanted will always be one of my favorite books, but Fairest really does have that same magical quality. I think mainly because the MC is soooo superficial. Still if you like the Snow White tale, you might want to give this one a try.
- The Everneath series by Brodi Ashton: While Nikki’s personality is more developed than movie Snow’s, I feel like there is darkness to this story that is similar to the Disney movie. Plus, Nikki is a bit of a damsel in distress too and probably would be stupid enough to take a bite out of a poison apple.
2)Mulan: You have to love Mulan. She’s probably the most action oriented Disney princess. Cutting your hair going to war to save your father’s life and not be so self absorbed to stare at Shang’s chest to cause China to be destroyed makes for a pretty epic princess. Honestly, if parts of the movie would’ve been stronger, she might’ve been my favorite princess. She’s tough and not afraid to do what she thinks is right.
- The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rukoski: God, I love this book. I feel like the main character in it, even though not a solider, is comparable to Mulan because of smart decision making. Plus, the novel is very action oriented. While there are moments of swoon, it’s not the top priority much like the romance in the Disney flick played secondary to the plot.
- Defy by Sara B. Lawson: It might not be my favorite book, but it’s obvious that this book is going for a Mulan vibe. However, unlike Mulan, this girl cannot fight to save her life and, well, she’s more concerned about getting into her version of Shang’s pants than fighting.
- Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen: I almost didn’t recommend this one, especially since I put Defy on the list and wanted to have at least two semi decent Mulan-ish recommendations. But the sad state of the genre is that there’s not many Mulan-ish books I could pick (that I’ve actually read). This one has the gender bending storyline that Mulan so brilliantly employs.
3) Cinderella: This is more or less a revenge fantasy fairytale. Or a fairytale that parents told to get their kids to do chores willingly because doing chores=fairy godmother one day. But there really is something magical about this fairytale. While it is wish fulfillment, it is just one of those stories that you can easily flesh out. And Disney sort of did in its various sequels. Though I still think the original is best. If anything for the dress scene. It’s really a pretty piece of animation. Plus, out of the original three I think Cinderella probably has the most personality.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer: This is a sort of duh for me. I love this series and it is a really good Cinderella retelling without being obstrusive about it (i.e. it’s not a revenge fantasy). The best part about it, is that it’s part of a series of fairytale retellings that are each unique and original.
- The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot: While not a Cinderella story, there are definite Cinderella themes in this series. Though Mia doesn’t have an evil stepmother or for that matter has to do her bidding. Instead, there’s top ten lists of Lifetime movies.
- Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz: Because Schuyler Van Alen is essentially Cinder-freaking-rella if she was a vampire that is. Seriously though, she has the ragamuffin muffin look and is abused by all the rich people (even though she technically should be rich) and a Prince Charming falls in love with her and they do the whole masquerade thing at the ball and…well, if you like vampires and Cinderella you might want to give this one a go.
4)Ariel: Characters who make stupid choices all the name of love that’s all of YA and Ariel for you. A lot of people like Ariel’s spirit. Much like many people read about TSTL YA heroines to mock them and of course because of the power of love.
- The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: I often wonder if Clary was based on Ariel (well, when I don’t think she based on Batgirl). Both charaters are impulsive redheads who make horrible decisions because of love. And are attracted to guys that…well, they really shouldn’t be attracted to for icky icky reason-different species in Ariel’s case and siblings in Clary’s.
- Ink by Amanda Sun: This is one of those Twilight Saga trope filled books that I actually enjoy in an embarrassing type of way much like I enjoyed The Little Mermaid. This novel, like the animated feature, just had so much going for it an scenic sense that I was able to look away from the flaws. And I’m oddly excited for the sequel.
- The Here and Now by Anne Brashares: While not a huge fan of this book (and it does not involve mermaids), it did remind me of an Ariel-ish type of book since the love story has that whole forbidden love angle to it. I know a lot of YA books have that angle, but I chose this particular one because the novel relied on it for their entire plot.
5)Belle:Probably my favorite Disney princess. And I think she’s a lot of book bloggers favorite princess. I mean, she basically has a song about reading. Besides that though, she has a head on her shoulders and actually doesn’t have to be saved most of the time. That’s refreshing. I think with Belle, you see a complete evolution from Snow White. Belle wants to be independent. She sings about it. Snow wants to find to be dependent via a prince. She sings about it too.
- Nyx from Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty: I really liked this book. And I think there are shades of Belle in this Beauty and the Beast retelling. Shades being the operative word since this Nyx is like Belle who has a serious case of PMS and sword.
- Katy from Jennifer L Armentrout’s Lux series: She’s a book blogger. That sort of automatically gets her on the list. And you could sort of juxtapose her relationship with Daemon to Belle’s and Adam’s. Both are over romanticize and let’s face it, a bit unhealthy.
- Izra of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay: This is probably my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling in recent future. I like how you constantly question which character is playing the role of beast and beauty. Also, I really liked the twist at the end. If you haven’t picked up this book you really should.