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Memorial Hall Library

Shaking Up Shakespeare

William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 (and might have been born on April 23, 1564), but his stories still resonate today, as authors continued to revisit and reinventĀ his plays. Here are some novels for teens and adults that draw inspiration from the works of Shakespeare. (And, of course, if you prefer the originals, we have plenty of those on hand too!)

That Way Madness Lies : 15 of Shakespeare's Most Notable Works Reimagined
That Way Madness Lies : 15 of Shakespeare's Most Notable Works Reimagined
by Dahlia Adler

An anthology of modern retellings of 15 favorite Shakespeare classics includes Dahlia Adler’s reimagining of The Merchant of Venice, Kayla Ancrum’s adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew and Joy McCullough’s alternate interpretation of King Lear. 
Hag-seed : The Tempest retold
Hag-seed : The Tempest retold
by Margaret Atwood

A psychologically charged story inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest, reimagined by the award-winning author of The Handmaid's Tale, follows the retribution plot of a deposed artistic director who teaches prison inmates while consulting with a fantasy child who has taken the place of the daughter he lost years earlier.
Foul is fair
Foul is fair
by Hannah Capin

Targeted by predatory students from a local prep school after crashing a party, 16-year-old alpha girl Jade and her circle of popular friends seek revenge against the boys who wronged them. By the author of The Dead Queens Club. 
Miranda and Caliban
Miranda and Caliban
by Jacqueline Carey

A fantastical retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest is told from the perspective of the daughter of a powerful magus, who grows up in protective isolation before finding solace and companionship with the bewitched feral youth who serves her father.
Roman + Jewel
Roman + Jewel
by Dana Davis

Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway's hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead...and Jerzie is her understudy. Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea--especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself.
William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Mean Girls
William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Mean Girls
by Ian Doescher

A laugh-out-loud parody of the classic comedy, rerendered in iambic pentameter, finds heroine-in-disguise Cady forging allegiances with newfound allies Damian and Janis while falling for the off-limits Aaron and stirring up age-old vendettas among rival school factions.
Speak easy, speak love
Speak easy, speak love
by McKelle George

The lives of six teens intertwine during a thrilling summer filled with romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in a 1920s Prohibition-era adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
These violent delights
These violent delights
by Chloe Gong

Set in 1920s Shanghai, a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet follows the star-crossed romance of a flapper-turned-gang leader who must set aside her prejudices to work beside a rival to protect their city from territorial gangsters. 
Lady hotspur
Lady hotspur
by Tessa Gratton

A gender-swapped fantasy homage to Shakespeare's Henry IV is set in the world of Gratton's The Queens of Innis Lear and finds the three daughters of Aremoria waging battle over the fate of the kingdom.
The porpoise : a novel
The porpoise : a novel
by Mark Haddon

When a young man attempts to rescue the daughter of a wealthy man who is imprisoned on her father's estate, the attempt goes awry, sending him off on a fantastical sea voyage.
Shylock is my name : The merchant of Venice retold
Shylock is my name : The merchant of Venice retold
by Howard Jacobson

In a magnificent modern re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most provocative characters—Shylock—Simon Strulovitch, riddled with grief after the death of his wife, struggles with his daughter Beatrice’s betrayal of family and his daughter Jessica’s rejection of her Jewish roots.
Exit, pursued by a bear
Exit, pursued by a bear
by E. K Johnston

A head cheerleader in a tiny community where cheerleading is the school's primary sport dedicates herself to her team only to wake up after being drugged to discover that she has been raped and become pregnant as a result, a situation that is further complicated by local attitudes.
Macbeth
Macbeth
by Jo Nesbø

A modern retelling of Macbeth by the award-winning author of the Harry Hole series is set in a run-down industrial town in the 1970s and follows the efforts of a popular but increasingly corrupt police officer and his calculating casino owner girlfriend to work with a powerful local drug dealer to murder a professional rival and set up his best friend.
Romeo and/or Juliet : a chooseable-path adventure
Romeo and/or Juliet : a chooseable-path adventure
by Ryan North

A choose-your-own-path adaptation of Shakespeare's classic imagines riotous "what if" scenarios, inviting readers to explore the alternate stories of the star-crossed lovers as they fall for other partners, pursue unconventional interests and team up to take over Verona in robot suits. By the creator of the To Be or Not to Be chooseable-path adventure.
A thousand acres : a novel
A thousand acres : a novel
by Jane Smiley

On a prosperous Iowa farm in the 1970s, wealthy farmer Lawrence Cook announces his intentions to divide the farm among his daughters, setting off a family crisis reminiscent of Shakespeare's "King Lear."
The daughter of time
The daughter of time
by Josephine Tey

A hospitalized English policeman reconstructs historical evidence concerning Richard III's role in the murder of Edward IV's two sons.
Prince of cats
Prince of cats
by Ronald Wimberly

In a contemporary retelling of "Romeo and Juliet" set in Brooklyn, Tybalt and the Capulets take part in nightly clashes with the Montagues as the two warring gangs fight their way through high school and for control of the streets.
The gap of time : The winter's tale retold
The gap of time : The winter's tale retold
by Jeanette Winterson

A debut entry in an international series designed to retell the Bard's most renowned plays in 21st-century settings as written by leading modern authors reimagines The Winter's Tale in modern London and a storm-ravaged America in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.