From the beginning of humanity, we have had stories. Stories about how humans came to be, how the earth was formed, stories to teach lessons to children. These stories become beliefs, and these beliefs can shape civilizations. Civilizations around the world were shaped by the stories of their mythology and many people continue to be shaped by those beliefs.
This makes mythology difficult to retell. Myths might seem fictional to some, but they are an essential part of the belief systems for others, so they have to be handled delicately. Many civilizations also have similar, but still distinct myths. One of the most well-known examples are Greek and Roman myths; they have different names for their gods and goddesses and slightly different myths, but have a lot of overlap. Writers taking on these myths still have to take care to portray the specific myth of one civilization, especially if the myth isn’t from their culture.
Despite needing that careful touch, a lot of myths also provide room to develop. They’re often fairly vague, featuring characters who aren’t fully fleshed out. It’s easy to see how myths could inspire more story ideas, and there are thousands of myths to work with from all over the world from hundreds of civilizations and cultures.
YA authors have been taking on lots of different myths in their work for a long time, but those were mostly the Greek and Roman myths. The call for greater diversity in YA books, plus the popularity of the Percy Jackson series, has lead to an increase in the types of myths being written about. Some myths – like the Greek story of Hades and Persephone – are retold frequently, while many others continue to wait for the right author to find them.
To kick off this “Look at Mythology in YA” series, we’ll start with the Greek myths. Like I mentioned above, many focus on Hades and Persephone, but there’s also Helen of Troy, the Fates, the Furies, Medusa, Psyche, Cupid, and other famous Greek figures.
Only Everything by Kieran Scott
Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Oh.My.Gods by Tera Lynn Childs
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Solstice by PJ Hoover
Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
The Romantics by Leah Kohen
Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Muse Unexpected by V.C. Birldis
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block
Fates by Lanie Bross