Book List: YA Shakespeare’s Way

On Wednesday I reviewed the tremendously fun Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. A novel that riffs off our knowledge and understanding of many of William Shakespeare’s works. It seems only logical that the next undertaking would be to tackle a YA Shakespeare book list.

Eyes Like Stars (and the Theatre Illuminata series) by Lisa Mantchev
Worth it for Mantchev’s perceptive and giggle inducing portrayal of Ophelia and Hamlet. She’s a drip and he’s a pain. Ariel, one of the love interests, is the air spirit from The Tempest with Gertrude, Lady MacBeth, Marc Antony and others making very funny appearances. Mantchev even cribs from Hamlet for her title – “Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres”.

Macmillan USA

Exposure by  Mal Peet
Peet successfully transplanted Shakespeare’s Othello into the South American soccer scene with players, pop stars and agents all propelling the plot forward. The author used the play’s five acts as a device and other stage formatting to structure Otello’s tale. For sophisticated readers.

Walker Books Aust.

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet by Nicki Greenberg
For those wishing for a visual representation of the Bard’s tale then looking no further than this ambitious project. Greenberg details over her 430 page graphic novel, Hamlet’s decent into obsession. It’s no wonder the title page declares ‘staged on the page’ as the use of the scenes and the space around the pages in the retelling of this classic tale demonstrate.

Allen and Unwin

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet but have you ever stopped to think about Romeo’s first (discarded) love, Rosaline? In this contemporary high school retelling, Rose and Rob are childhood friends and somewhat sweethearts until Rose’s cousin Juliet arrives on the scene. Searle places the focus squarely upon Rose and her friends as she navigates love, life and betrayal with the bittersweet Shakespearean twist.

Simon & Schuster Aust.

Lady Macbeth’s Daughter by Lisa Klein
Raised in the woods by the three sisters (aka Witches), Albia has been removed from the political forces that influence her father’s rule as thane. This all changes when Macbeth seeks his fate and Albia’s story becomes entwined with one of Shakespeare’s most well known characters. Klein has attempted to provide more insight into characters we all know and love (or hate) with the addition of a abandoned crippled child into the Macbeth tale.

Penguin Aust.

Kill Shakespeare by Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery
I’ll draw upon the author’s own words to tell you about this graphic novel – “ In this dark tale, the Bard’s most famous herpes embark upon a journey to discover a long-lost soul. Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff, Romeo and Puck search for a reclusive wizard who may have the ability to assist them in their battle against the evil forces led by the villains Richard III, Lady Macbeth and Iago. That reclusive wizard? William Shakespeare.” Intrigued? You should be.


Do you have some fantastic suggestions for the list?  Add them in the comments section.



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