Part of what I love about Young Adult literature is that it takes me back to a time in my life where I wasn’t weighed down by grown up life, where my biggest concern was passing Algebra II or seeing that special someone in the hallway on my way to class. Although I wouldn’t want to repeat my teenage years for all the gold in the world, they really were a special time when even the simplest problem was a catastrophe and there was no solution.
Obviously as the years have gone by I’ve discovered hundreds of new books that have become special to me, but then I remember books from the yester-years, books that shaped my pre-teen and teen years, and I become crazy nostalgic for them. Which gave me an idea: why not share my book memories and the books that I could have read hundreds of times as a younger me?
So, without further ado (because we’re at that point in this post) I would like to present Retro-Reads Thursday! These books may not be Young Adult but they were very much loved when I WAS a Young Adult!
I swear, I remember checking this book out from the library dozens of times. I wish our librarian had been as cool as that one from Beauty and the Beast and just given it to me since I’d read it so much. Sadly, she wasn’t.
Zel is the retelling of Rapunzel, a story we’re all familiar with, but with a slight twist, told primarily from the points of views of Rapunzel, or Zel as she is named in this book; the handsome prince Konrad; and Zel’s mother. Unlike the traditional story of Rapunzel, Zel’s mother is actually her real mother, having sacrificed everything, including her soul, to have a daughter. But when Zel’s mother becomes suspicious of losing her daughter to Konrad, she locks Zel in a tower.
I thought this book was the shizz when I was younger. Rapunzel is my favorite fairy tale and always has been. But Zel presents a darker look at the story, of the girl’s madness from being locked in a tower and the desperation and obsession of her mother. We get a chance to see characters in a new light, to better understand what was going on in their heads rather than the good vs. evil plot the traditional story gives.
There are dozens of books that I’m sure turned me on to this genre of fiction, the retelling of fairy tales, but Zel remains to this day the catalyst that opened my eyes to them.