Codes for Reviews

First Initial (Overall Rating):
E = Exceptional
VG = Very Good
G = Good
F = Fair
NR = Not Recommended

Second Initital (Reading Level):
A = Average Reading Level
E = Easy
M = Mature

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

High School Fiction

VG/A. Donnelly, Jennifer. Stepsister. Scholastic Press, 2019. 342p. 978-1-338-26846-1. 17.99.
Stepsister is Donnelly’s darker and more nuanced reimagining of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella, told from the point of view of the “ugly stepsister”. Isabella may be considered ugly, but she’s fierce and strong of will. Isabella was also good and brave once upon a time, and she, Octavia or “Tavi”, and Ella were once friends. What happened to the three that made them so jealous and resentful of each other?  Now that Ella has married the prince, Isabella and Tavi, are left behind to deal with the derision and scorn of the villagers in the aftermath of their desperate and failed attempt to marry the prince. When the girls and their mother lose their home, they are forced to beg for a place to stay, finding work in the fields of a nearby farm.  Isabella can’t help but think that if only she were pretty, her life would be easier. Isabella meets the same fairy queen Tanaquill, who had helped Ella, but instead of giving Isabella gifts of a carriage and beautiful gown, only agrees to help Isabella, if she can find the missing pieces of her heart.  Isabella has to unravel the riddle, and in doing so, rediscover herself and forge her own path lest, she forever remain known as the ugly stepsister. Recommended for YA collections.

Camille Campos, LAPL, Benjamin Franklin Branch Library

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