9 Innovative LGBTQ+ Classic Adaptations You Will Obsess Over

Do you ever wonder what would happen if Icarus was gay, or if Macbeth featured a lesbian power couple? Read on to find out!

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A woman stares at a bookshelf filled with colorful books. Next to her is another bookshelf, and in between the two bookshelves is a pink round chair with a heart cushion and a purple blanket.

What if well-known classics like Shakespeare, Greek Mythology, and Jane Austen were written in a time when queer relationships were more acceptable? Well, these nine books answer that question, by taking those myths and stories and twisting them into awesome LGBTQ+ tales that are just as riveting as the originals (if not more). Keep reading to discover the timelessness of classic stories like Sleeping Beauty and Macbeth and how these authors twist them into instant LGBTQ+ hits.

As I Descended by Robin Talley – Macbeth

A light blue book cover with the silhouette of a girl on it, made of trees and moss. It says "Unnatural deeds. Unnatural troubles" at the top and "as i descended" at the bottom.

Robin Talley takes this classic Shakespeare play and transplants it into a high school setting, which, as we all know, can be much more deadly than a Scottish castle. In this chilling novel, power couple Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten must stop the dark series of events they’ve begun while trying to usurp Delilah Dufrey’s place as campus legend and academic superstar.

Peter Darling by Austin Chant – Peter Pan

A book cover that fades from tan to blue, with a drawing of a window in the middle. At the bottom are waves and a ship, with a sea monster. At the top is "Peter Darling", the title, and under the window drawing it says "Austin Chant", the author's name.

In this viral booktok novel, Peter Pan returns to Neverland after a decades-long hiatus, much to the delight of his constant rival Captain James Hook. The war between Hook’s crew and the Lost Boys soon turns deadlier than it has ever been, while the rivalry between Peter and Hook becomes much more than platonic.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – The Ballad of Mulan

An orange book cover with a dark orange drawn sun. There is an army of soldiers at the bottom and it says "She Who Became the Sun".

Shelley Parker-Chan’s exquisite novel draws from the classic Chinese poem, The Ballad of Mulan, centering on a warrior who takes her father’s place in war. Parker-Chan’s sapphic protagonist begins her story with a similar goal but quickly becomes more vicious and more cruel than Mulan ever was to ensure she leaves a legacy of greatness.

Coils by Barbara Ann Wright – The Myth of Medusa

A black book cover with a woman with red hair on it. She is facing the left, and has a snake in her hair. It says "Barbara Ann Wright" at the top and "Coils" at the bottom.

This revision of Medusa’s myth takes place partly in the modern world and partly in the world of myths and legends; mortal woman Cressida doesn’t believe in all that “Greek mythology” nonsense until she stumbles into the underworld and sees it for herself. It’s there that she meets Medusa and learns the truth about Medusa’s tale.

Malice by Heather Walter – Sleeping Beauty

A dark blue book cover that says "Malice" from the top down on the left, and hands clutching a rose on the right.

This take on Sleeping Beauty, similar to Maleficent, focuses on the evil fairy Alyce and her burgeoning love for princess Aurora. When Aurora’s deadly curse comes to fruition, all Alyce wants to do is turn against fate and run away with her. But a hero and a villain can’t live happily ever after, right?

Escaping Mr. Rochester by L. L. McKinney – Jane Eyre

A book cover of a night sky that fades to a sunset orange, with two women in Victorian-era clothing looking forward. The top says "Escaping Mr. Rochester"

What if Mr. Rochester was actually the villain? In McKinney’s re-imagining, Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason must escape the violent and dangerous tendencies of Edward Rochester before they are trapped forever. So what if they fall in love on the way?

Icarus by K. Ancrum – The Myth of Icarus and the Sun

A blue book cover with a bust of a boy from the nose to the neck, with several assorted orange, yellow, and pink shapes. It says "Icarus" at the bottom.

K. Ancrum’s revision of this myth is incredibly clever; instead of Icarus being drawn in by the impossible force of the sun, it’s by a boy. Icarus is an art thief, like his dad, motivated by revenge for the man who killed his mother. When Icarus meets the man’s son, Helios, he is drawn into a whirlwind friendship-to-romance that threatens everything he holds dear.

Northranger by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo – Northanger Abbey

A cartoon-ish book cover that says "Northranger" at the top, with drawings of two boys back two back on either side of a fence. Behind them is a farm.

What if the chilling manor of Northanger Abbey’s gothic romance was actually a ranch? When Cade is sent away to make extra money for his family, he is horrified to learn he will be working the whole summer as a ranch hand. The blow is lessened when the closeted teen meets Henry, the charismatic but mysterious boy living on the ranch.

Gwen & Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher – King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

A pink book cover that reads "Gwen & Art Are Not in Love". There are depictions of a man and a woman on a horse, respectively reaching for other people.

This sweet romantic comedy novel is actually set hundreds of years after the events of King Arthur’s rule. The descendants of the original tale, aptly named Arthur and Gwendoline, are forced to marry but quickly discover that they are far from each other’s type (wink, wink.) They quickly form a classic black cat (Gwen) and golden retriever (Art) friendship, agreeing to keep up appearances but still following their hearts.

Hits like these just prove that authors like Shakespeare and J.M. Barrie have already written incredible stories, but you know what’s even better? Making them gay! Be sure to check out these books; how else will you know what would happen if Peter Pan was trans and Captain Hook maybe, just maybe, wasn’t so bad after all?

Check out our article for some hot new LGBTQ+ summer releases!

For more classic book recs, check out our Classics bookshelf on Bookshop.