This post was inspired by a post I read on Cait’s blog Paper Fury, so before you read this I would definitely recommend you check her post out here.
Have you read it? Good. Now we can get on to what I have to say.
After reading Cait’s post on Gender swaps, and spending an unnecessarily long time in the shower (because let’s be honest 99% of inspiration occurs there) I thought I’d write my own post on gender swaps. Obviously it cannot hope to ever be as intelligent or witty as Cait’s post, but let’s give it a go, shall we?
I think gender swaps are great. It puts an original spin on a a story that has already been told in a thousand different ways. I would love to read gender bent stories, but unfortunately the key word in that sentence is would. Admittedly I don’t read the most diverse range of books, but I have yet to read a gender bent novel. I know, disappointing!
In the hope of solving this problem, I had a look online to see what stories exist and here are a few I found which looked good and are now going on my never ending TBR pile. I must confess, instinctively I would be more drawn novels where a traditional male character is female, but that’s because, let’s be honest, most classics feature male protagonists doing the cool stuff, however I would be interested in reading gender bent novels the other way round too.
Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.
The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.
Everyone loves a good scandal.
Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta’s carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.
Based on a beloved classic and steeped in Sara Benincasa’s darkly comic voice, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.
Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…
So those were a few I found, but there still isn’t a great range of gender bent novels out there. So here are the top three general bends I think should happen:
- Peter Pan – Everyone knows and loves the story of Peter Pan and it’s even been made into a Disney classic. But how would the story change if it was a girl who never wanted to grow up taking a normal boy back to his magical home? This is certainly an intriguing idea and this gender bend would massively impact the entire story.
- Alice in Wonderland – There have been hundreds of Alice in Wonderland retellings including ones with zombies and whatnot, but I have yet to see our Alice be an Alex. I mean, can’t you imagine a little blonde boy in sky blue shorts and a white shirt, instead of our girl with bunches and a blue pinafore.
- Robin Hood – I know this is sort of similar to the novel ‘Scarlet’ that I just mentioned, but I thought of this idea before I did my research so I thought I’d include it anyway. Now, this story is just begging to be retold with a female Robin Hood, because Robin is a unisex name. If that isn’t asking for it, then I don’t know what is.
On the note of gender swaps, whilst I was googling this topic I found a really interesting article about Maureen Johnson’s campaign to end gendered book covers. The article outlines her key ideas and also has some ideas of what book covers would look like if they were written by an author of the opposite sex. If I were you I would totally check it out here.
So, what do you think? Are you a fan of gender swaps? Will you be adding any of these books to your TBR? What retelling would like to see gender bent?