Cover Image: Relit

Relit

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Member Reviews

Relit is a very cool collection of retellings with LatinX voices and stories. Lots of these stand out but I really enjoyed the Pride and Prejudice retelling and the Beauty and the Beast retelling. I'll definitely be looking into more of these authors work in the future.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review.

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A modern and diverse set of short stories that pay homage to classic, canon literature. I will definitely be using this in my classroom! I loved revamped The Great Gatsby story!

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Izzy and Darcy navigate Pride and Prejudice-style conflict, misunderstandings, and courtship on a colony spaceship called the ISS Hertford. In a send-up of Beauty and the Beast, Juna discovers the real monster in her new small town is not the clawed fox-tailed boy who lives in the woods, but the local mayor. And in Torrey Maldonado’s retelling of the myth of the minotaur, the dangerous labyrinth in a populous city neighborhood has its roots in a long-closed factory that exploited its workers. These 3 stories, and 13 more, by award-winning and bestselling YA authors such as Zoraida Córdova, David Bowles, and Amparo Ortiz center a Latinx point of view in an empowering anthology that reimagines classics through fantasy, science fiction, and with a dash of magic.

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This is a beautiful book filled with beautiful stories. All of these stories are deeply emotional in one way or another, and they are sure to make a lasting impact on the reader. There are multiple stories that in my personal opinion are even better stories than the originals. My personal favorite is "Juna and the Fox Boy: A Remix of Beauty and the Beast" by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, though also Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite stories. I cried in this remix. I loved everything about that story, but especially the two main characters and their personalities. Every story, however, is exceptional. Some of them really ought to be made into full length books of their own, and I hope they are some day. This is an essential purchase for public libraries, and it will find many devoted fans among readers of all ages.

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3.5

Anthologies are always a mixed bag, but there were some good stories. I really enjoyed Anna Meriano's Pride and Prejudice remix that was told in the form of video transcripts and was basically The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in space. Zoraida's version of Frankenstein about a mermaid was great. Eric Smith has a touching Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea story set in a climate ravaged future.

Some stories will work for you, some won't. Either way, it's interesting to see how the authors put a new twist on classic stories.

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Relit is one of the most incredible and inspired collection of stories that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. “Evermore” and “Isla Bella” in particular put such inventive spins on the original tales. As a bookseller, I can’t wait to get this book in the hands of readers everywhere.

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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
I really liked this collection, especially how some authors tackled stories that don’t often get retold, like “Tesoro,” Sandra Proudman’s take on Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, or “Prefiero No,” Alexandra Villasante’z remix of Herman Melville’s Bartelby, The Scrivener. I loved the creative way each author added speculative elements to these stories, even while enjoying new takes on the “usual suspects, like The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast.

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Diving into Sandra Proudman's anthology, "Relit," featuring 16 Latinx remixes of classic stories, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the cohesive brilliance of it. Anthologies often come with the risk of having both hits and misses, but "Relit" managed to deliver a consistently engaging and thoroughly enjoyable collection.

One of the standout aspects of this anthology is the skillful reimagination of classic tales, including The Great Gatsby, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, and The Raven. The Latinx remixes maintain the essence of the original tales while seamlessly integrating cultural nuances, adding depth and complexity to the characters' experiences.

If you're a fan of anthologies that manage to hit all the right notes, "Relit" is a must-read, offering a delightful journey through familiar yet wonderfully reimagined literary landscapes.

My favorites include:

Shame and Social Media: A Remix of Pride and Prejudice
Thornfield: A Remix of Jane Eyre
Goldi and Three Bodies: A Remix of Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Isla Bella: A Remix of the Great Gatsby
Juna and the Fox Boy: A Remix of Beauty and the Beast
Celia's Song: A Remix of The Little Mermaid

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

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One look at the beautiful cover of this book, and I was smitten. This is an absolute stunner of a book, featuring writing by remarkable Latine writers, including the amazing David Bowles, who was the most familiar name to me when I picked up this anthology.

The anthology form is one that I think works particularly well for YA readers. The reader can pick and choose which stories they want to engage with. These stories are quick treats, like Forrest Gump’s fabled “box of chocolates”. You never know quite what you’re going to get. And that is the magic and the joy of this collection.

The opening story, Shame and Social Media (a twist on Pride and Prejudice) is one of the stronger entries in the collection. It takes that fabulous Lizzie Bennett spirit, and pulls it thoroughly unexpectedly into the future, with Isabel Bernal building a social media campaign around housing inequity on a spaceship. The tone that Anna Meriano builds in Isabel’s posts is just snarky enough, and the Darcy character actually gets to have some personality, which has always been one of the flaws of the original story for me.

Another standout from the collection is Sariciea J Fennell’s Goldi and the Three Bodies, if only for its audacity. Pull Alessia Cara’s “Here” up on your playlist while you read this one. Let’s just say that you don’t want to be the one that Goldi thinks is “just right”. For your readers who want a little creep with their joy, this story might be a great fit.

What will your students enjoy? Students will appreciate being able to pick and choose from this collection. Because there are stories like The Great Gatsby being riffed on here, this would also be a terrific companion for high school English classes. You could also have a lot of fun with a library display - pairing Uzma Jalaluddin’s Ayesha at Last with Pride and Prejudice and the first story in this collection. If your students (or colleagues) are looking for Bishop’s “mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors”, there are lots of openings into the Latine community here.
Thanks to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for the e-arc.

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In a Nutshell: A well-written YA anthology that takes sixteen classic stories/fairy tales and gives them a Latinx spin. Excellent as a retelling collection. Quite good as a YA work. Recommended!

My friends know that I don’t have any fondness for YA fiction. Its characters are usually so self-centred and whiny that I can’t stop rolling my eyes at them. However, the YA anthology subcategory has brought out story collections with some unusual and inclusive themes over the last couple of years. This anthology too appealed to me by virtue of its central intent and hence I grabbed it, despite the YA tag.

Luckily, the *risk* was much worth it. 😉

This collection of sixteen stories takes classic short stories, poems and fairy tales, and reimagines them in a new setting with Latinx characters at the helm. The original stories span a variety of styles: Frankenstein, Goldilocks, Pride & Prejudice, Theseus and the Minotaur, The Great Gatsby…! What a marvellous range! The spun-off tales also cover a variety of genres: dystopia, magical realism, science fiction, horror, mythology,…

It isn’t necessary for you to know the original classics. Each of these tales stands on its own merit as an independent story. However, I always love knowing the source of the retelling so that I can judge the modified version better. After all, if a story is promoted as a remix, the approach of reading it as a fresh tale instead of as a fresh take on an existing story won’t yield best results. I had already read fourteen of the original stories in this set, so I quickly read the remaining two (‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ by Herman Melville and ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe) and went into this anthology fully prepared.

Here’s why the anthology really clicked for me:
🌹 The source material is mostly popular, and I enjoyed seeing some old favourites in the mix. (On second thought, I knew most of the original stories. I don’t know how many YAs would be familiar with these, especially the classics! Oh well!)

🌹 Right under the title of each story, there is a mention of the classic it retells. I wish every retelling anthology would follow this. It is so much more entertaining when we know the base plot and can hence experience a retelling as a ‘retelling’ instead of as wasting time trying to figure out the original story. (Which doesn’t even yield results when we aren't familiar with the original!)

🌹 The stories justify the word ‘retelling’ in every sense. This is not the kind of anthology where the original story structure is cloned in the retelling with just a minor change of setting, or where the retelling has been so twisted that you can’t see any sign of the foundational plot. Instead, in this anthology, a clear mark of the original tale is visible in the retelling, but there is also enough of novelty to make it seem like a fresh story. This is how retellings should be written. Kudos to most of the authors for handling their work well!

🌹 A majority of the stories are not typical YA in style. I, for one, was very relieved about this: no idiotic adults, no whining, no insta feelings, no shallow characters. Though the stories have YA characters, the style is not pure YA except for a couple of stories.

🌹 The Latinx representation is apt in many of the stories. A few just stop at giving their characters a Latinx background, but the rest incorporate specific traditions into the story. The representation spans diverse Latinx cultures.

🌹 The authors are also from varied Latinx backgrounds, making this a 100% OwnVoices anthology. Love it!


One negative is that a few of the stories stray into content that I personally don’t like seeing in YA works: cuss words, drug use, underage drinking, and hints of sex.


As always, I rated the stories individually. Needless to say, my favourites were those stories that weren't overly YA in style and did complete justice to either the retelling task or the Latinx representation, sometimes both. These are my favourites:
🔥 Shame and Social Media - Anna Meriano: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with pace and wit and a social cause and outer space. What's not to like? - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫
🔥 Break in Case of Persephone - Olivia Abtahi: ‘Persephone and Hades’ with the pomegranate but without the kidnapping. Loved the combination of detective fiction and Greek mythology! - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫
🔥 Thornfield - Monica Sanz: ‘Jane Eyre’ with a witchy twist. Though I could guess the ending, it was still amazing to read. - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫
🔥 La Cotorra Y El Flamboyán - Amparo Ortiz: One of my all-time favourite short stories, Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ gets a fresh breath of life in this retelling. Knowing the original helped me realise where the story was going much in advance. But it still didn't prepare me for the ending. I actually went 'Oh, sh*t!' when I read the finale. Reader, I never go 'Oh, sh*t!' while reading fiction. - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
🔥 Isla Bella - Ari Tison: Quite ironic that a novel that I found mostly boring – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ inspired a spinoff that was mindblowing. I adored the indigenous rep in this story, which I probably why I went generous with my rating, though the story itself had more YA masala than I prefer. - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫
🔥 Evermore - NoNieqa Ramos: I read ‘The Raven’ specifically for this story, and it sure was worth it! Good as a retelling and fabulous with the gender identity theme. - 🌟🌟🌟🌟
🔥 Celia's Song - Jasminne Mendez: I enjoyed the strong Latinx flavour in this retelling of ‘The Little Mermaid.’ - 🌟🌟🌟🌟

All in all, definitely an anthology worth trying. I must confess that I enjoyed it better because it was NOT a typical YA work. Actual YA readers might feel differently. Moreover, I always enjoy retellings that pay the perfect homage to their source material instead of being retellings merely in name. In that sense, this one was a winner.

A shoutout to the cover designer – What an excellent artwork that is perfect for every feature of this work!

3.7 stars, based on the average of my ratings for each story.

My thanks to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the DRC of “Relit: 16 Latinx Remixes of Classic Stories”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

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Relit by Sandra Proudman, 352 pages. SHORT STORIES. Inkyard Press, 2024. $21. Centering me, lgbtqia
Language: R (63 swears, 2 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13
BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL
AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH
These sixteen authors retell stories we know from Disney movies and high school English class. From Greek mythology to folktales, Jane Austen to Edgar Allan Poe, stories familiar to us are made new and exciting again.
The intent of this collection was to rewrite familiar stories with Latinx characters, which breathes new life into the retellings. The cultures of the new main characters and their settings lend elements to the stories that did not exist in the originals. It’s as if the authors are inviting readers to ask how the story would change if they—if we—were the main character. Let your imagination go wild.
Most of the characters are implied, if not explicitly, Latinx. The mature content rating is for underage drinking, drug use, kissing, innuendo, partial nudity, and mentions of sex and sexual harassment. The violence rating is for fantasy violence; mentions of guns, torture, homicide, and genocide; and suicide.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

Relit is an anthology of 16 classic stories reimagined with a Latinx lens, all written by Latinx authors. All stories feature a quote from the classic story that gives the reader an insight into the theme of this particular reimagining.

I wanted to enjoy this anthology more than I did. While I was not familiar with all 16 of the classic stories that were reimagined, it was easy to do a quick search to get a general idea of the story before reading its new corresponding story.

My standouts were: Shame and Social Media by Anna Meriano, Juna and the Fox Boy by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Twenty Thousand Leagues Away From Me by Eric Smith, and Heart of the Sea by Zoraida Córdova. All of these used fantasy and science fiction elements that were easy to understand, for someone who is not the biggest reader of those genres.

Anthologies are always a fun way for me to explore new authors and revisit ones I know I enjoy and this anthology has introduced me to several new authors I can’t wait to explore.

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This anthology is full of voices from some of my favorite authors! These short stories are remixed from well known tales centering Latinx characters and a book I wish I had had growing up with a diversity of representation of what it means to be Latin American.

I will be purchasing for our library and I am excited to share this book for readers of all genres!

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THOUGHTS

The high points of this anthology are really high. Excellent characters, familiar and startingly new in presentation, stand on backdrops that are strangely speculative and utterly familiar at the same time. These stories stay as true to their originals as speculative counterparts can, and I adore that! At the same time, as is usually the case with anthologies, not all of these stories are winners. Overall, an anthology that is kind of so-so.


PROS
True to Form: I am always quick to pick up anything that claims to be a "remix" of a classic tale, but recent publications have made me a bit wary. I like a remixed classic because it's just that--a remix of, well, a classic. If I'm a fan of the original, I like to see how authors play with that concept. A lot of recent books have let me down, because the "classic" elements are really missing. Not so here! While each and every one of these stories is wildly out-of-left-field, they still hold onto the key elements of the classic they're retelling. That's real skill on the part of all of these authors, because Pride & Prejudice in space shouldn't feel like an Austen classic. But here, it really and truly does. Here, all of these stories pay incredible homage to their roots while spinning something entirely new.

Mixed Linguistics: I love a book that lets bilingual characters speak how they naturally would--in a mixture of their familiar languages. This book isn't afraid to mix Spanish into the generally English narratives in a way that fits these characters, their backstories, and their cultures. It's natural, and it's excellent. We need more of this, because there are kids all over who will feel themselves reflected in these pages!

Space!: A lot of speculative anthologies might have a story or two that's sci-fi and the rest are fantasy. At least, that's the way it is in the YA publishing sphere. Publishers seem to be afraid of science fiction (though they shouldn't be, I would argue). This book, however, isn't afraid to dive into the great unknown of outer space! Deep space colonies, space travel, and more: science fiction is well represented in this very balanced collection of tales.


CONS
Not All Winners: As much as I loved some of these stories, I hated others. They all represented their classics well, but that doesn't mean I liked them! Some of these stories fell pretty flat for me, which is unfortunate. I wanted to love, love, love all of these tales, and I just didn't.

Truncated Ideas: Some of these stories felt cut short by the nature of their format. They felt like they could have been longer, and being confined to short story format made the characters seem underdeveloped and the plot arcs just beginning instead of well-concluded. It's a good thing that I wanted more, I think, out of these characters and ideas, but when all I got was the short story, I was left a little bit disappointed!

Odd Ducks: Pride & Prejudice, Hamlet, and more: this book really spins some well-worn ground anew. But not all of these stories are so well-worn. Retelling Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, for instance, is an interesting choice when a lot of readers (especially at this level) won't have read it before! I have no real problem with the choice to retell lesser classics, of course, but readers who are in it for the Easter eggs might be disappointed that they don't know all of the tales being retold--might, in fact, not even be aware of their existence and the general scope of the classic tale.


Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/10

Fans of A Phoenix First Must Burn, edited by Patricia Caldwell, will appreciate this empowering speculative mix. Fans of All These Sunken Souls, edited by Circe Moskowitz, will adore the dark twists and turns of this anthology.

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Loved this anthology and enjoyed the originality of the retellings. This book will engage a wide variety of YA readers and individual stories would make an excellent addition to any class curriculum.

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*Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Relit: 16 Latinx Remixes of Classic Stories is a beautiful rendition of Latinx culture, with tons of diversity and variety. All inspired by a ton of classics that now have a fresh and diverse twist. Each story is fully indicative of Latinx culture, which is vast and unique on its own, and every story brings a new perspective into it. Of the stories I already know I felt they did a great job of portraying them while being fresh, and of those I did not know, each story made me curious to go read the original.

Although each story holds their own to stand out in some way, the ones that are most memorable for me is, 'Thornfield: A Remix of Jane Eyre' by Monica Sanz, 'Isla Bella: A Remix of The Great Gatsby' by Ari Tison, and 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Away From Me: A Remix of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea' by Eric Smith. Thornfield is a standout for me in that it felt like a fully developed novel in such few pages. Each story has that element but this one is still so vivid in my mind and felt like a much longer journey. Isla Bella had such stunning, vivid prose. I felt as if I could see every image and the story has stayed with me. It was also incredible to get an Indigenous perspective into Latinx culture. Twenty Thousand Leagues Away From Me was by far the most emotional, really tugging at my heartstrings. It was both the most difficult to read and the most driven in feeling. The symbolism between the main character and the calf was phenomenal.

Despite having my personal favorites, each story did have elements that I think other readers will love. For example, 'Shame and Social Media' was very unique in storytelling, and did a wonderful job in opening up this collection. 'La Cotorra y el Flamboyán' offered an unexpected ending that was both conclusive and open ended. 'Juna and the Fox Boy' took a beloved children's classic and managed to stray far from its roots while remaining close enough to the story that the comparisons are unmistakable. 'Evermore' includes poetry that feels on par with 'The Raven' and offered a beautiful flow to the story. And every story in between had wonderful lessons and representation, from queer characters to Afro-Latinx characters.

The only reason I did not give a full five stars was because a few of the stories felt a little tonally different from the core tone. By this I mean that each story fit in terms of representation, but some of these stories can get really dark with difficult topics and I felt there were a few that in comparison would be better suited for middle grade. Despite this, I do think some readers will appreciate this because it really breaks up the intensity and allows you to ebb and flow with the collection.

Overall, this is a stand out collection with really incredible authors who I am now eager to read more from!

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3/5 Stars

TL;DR - An interesting anthology with a little bit of everything, from sci-fi to magical realism to some stories that border on horror. Ended up being more lukewarm for me than anything, but a few stories stood out.

Big thanks to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for providing the ARC for this book in exchange for an honest review!

***Trigger Warnings for: persecution by Christians, mentions of attempted rape, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and attempted suicide.***

‘Relit’ is an anthology of “remixed” short stories with Latinx characters taking center stage. From fairy tales to classics re-imagined with sci-fi and fantasy twists, this anthology will certainly surprise you.

So, anthologies are always a mixed bag, but this one ended up being pretty ‘meh’ for me. I really wish I’d liked it more - I LOVE retellings, especially when changing up the genre - but overall, this was just middle of the road for me at best.

As I read, I gave each individual story its own score out of five stars, and the aggregate ended up around 2.5, but I rounded up to 3 because I did really enjoy a few of the stories. The total count comes in at four 1-stars, four 2-stars, five 3-stars, and three 4-stars, with no stories that I felt earned 5 stars, for a total of 16. The 1-stars were hardcore 1s, poorly written to the point that I skimmed most of them, the 2-stars were average in craft but poor in execution, the 3-stars were solidly mid across the board, and the 4-stars were pretty good overall. Nothing really captured me and earned a 5-star, though, which is disappointing.

Genres are mainly sci-fi and fantasy, though I would say “magical realism” is a better term than fantasy in most cases. There are a few that skirt the line into horror, which I liked.

‘Thornfield’ by Monica Sanz is easily my favorite, and this is me officially begging the author to turn this into a full novel - I would devour that in a heartbeat, take all my money. I also really enjoyed ‘Prefiero No’ by Alexandra Villasante and ‘Isla Bella’ by Ari Tison.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, not my favorite anthology, though there were a few diamonds in the rough. Might be a nice way to spend a few minutes a day if you have some free time on your lunch break or riding the bus or something. Fine for one read-through, but I won’t be purchasing a physical copy.

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This is the kind of collection that will make you want to read short stories more often. Every single one of these takes on a classic story was great. I may have found some authors to follow. Highly enjoyable all the way through, even if you are only passingly familiar with the original works. I honestly wish it were longer so I would have had more worlds to jump into.

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This collection of short stories reimagines many classic tales that are told from a Latinx perspective and does so in a way that makes you wish these were the original stories. Every single story had well developed characters that went beyond their classic inspirations and the stories themselves were unique and so beautiful to read. I really enjoyed that there were focuses on many of the indigenous communities and their cultures, especially their relationship to their native lands. This is by far the best collection of classic stories reimagined I have ever read.

Thank you NetGalley and Inkyard Press for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

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All my favorite Latine authors in one place! What’s not to love? Confession: I had to Spark Note some of the classics before I read the remix. It’s just been too long! The remixes are so much better!

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