Stepsister

Stepsister

Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood.When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s...

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Title:Stepsister
Author:Jennifer Donnelly
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Stepsister Reviews

  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    I started reading Stepsister on 4/19/2019 and finished it on 4/23/2019. This fairy tale retelling is an excellent read! I like that it started out with the Cinderella story and expanded further after Cinderella went off to her happily ever after. I love that this story focus on the stepsister’s perspectives of how it all went. I love that the stepsisters are portrayed as intelligent and brave, more tomboy than girly. There are many types of girls and this book hit straight on the nail’s head by

    I started reading Stepsister on 4/19/2019 and finished it on 4/23/2019. This fairy tale retelling is an excellent read! I like that it started out with the Cinderella story and expanded further after Cinderella went off to her happily ever after. I love that this story focus on the stepsister’s perspectives of how it all went. I love that the stepsisters are portrayed as intelligent and brave, more tomboy than girly. There are many types of girls and this book hit straight on the nail’s head by including girls who likes to study and girls who likes to do boys stuffs such as playing with swords and strong willed to speak her mind as compared to girls who wear silk dresses and readily agreeable even when she doesn’t want to. Many readers can easily relate to Isabelle because she often feel unsure of herself when she has more and still feel unhappy than those who has less.

    This book is told in the third person point of view following Isabelle, 16 as she does what her mom wants, to cut off a few of her toes so that her foot can fit into the glass slipper that the Prince of France brought. Isabelle’s mom told her she’s ugly and she thinks if the Prince marries her she’ll be a Princess and someday will be Queen and no one will dare to call her ugly again. Unfortunately that plan didn’t turn out in their favor and instead backfired. The two stepsisters are Octavia, 17 and Isabelle, 16. Ella is 17. The second view is of Chance. He believes he can change the path for Isabelle after her failed attempt at stealing the Prince from Ella. But Fate is in the way because she already has Isabelle’s life mapped out. She thinks Isabelle is selfish and mean and should keep the path chosen for her. Then there’s the fairy queen who comes to Isabelle’s rescue when Isabelle’s heart asked for help.

    Stepsister is very well written and filled with Fate and Chance that make you think about yourself. Fate tests you with negative feelings of self doubt and Chance gives you the opportunity to think again and try again. I love the humor in this book, especially toward the end with the “sweaty dead dog”. I like when Isabelle is mean to Ella to turn around and experience how it feels when someone else is mean to her. I like that this story is not a smooth ride. There are many ups and downs and opportunities to change the course of life. I like Felix and the bits of romance. It’s cute. This book is definitely a plus and I highly recommend everyone to read it!

    Pro: fast paced, page turner, humor, stepsisters, fairy tale retelling, adrenaline rush

    Con: none

    I rate it 5 stars!

    ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Scholastic for the amazing and beautiful book mail. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

    xoxo,

    Jasmine at

    for more details

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    5 ugliest, wittiest, fantastic, anti-fairy tale, bravest ,strongest, applause to the strength of women, Hell yeah stars!

    Retellings crash into art of war doctrines, feminism thesis and here’s an amazing, smartly written fantasy book!

    You never thought that you could love this new version of Cinderella story! You already knew the old version of fairy tale before Grimm Brothers rule the stories with their honest reality, the beautiful ones are always kind, good hearted, vulnerable and their faces a

    5 ugliest, wittiest, fantastic, anti-fairy tale, bravest ,strongest, applause to the strength of women, Hell yeah stars!

    Retellings crash into art of war doctrines, feminism thesis and here’s an amazing, smartly written fantasy book!

    You never thought that you could love this new version of Cinderella story! You already knew the old version of fairy tale before Grimm Brothers rule the stories with their honest reality, the beautiful ones are always kind, good hearted, vulnerable and their faces and appearances are reflections of their genuine hearts! They always get the prince and their HEA! Blah blah blah! So being ugly is equal to being cruel, mean, evil and loser of the stories!

    What if all the equations could change and beauty would not be the only requirement to get your happy ending. What about being brave, smart, hard-worker, intelligent, sophisticated, determined, skillful, creative, charismatic, game-changer and help you turn into a real leader!

    Isabelle and Tavi are ugly sisters who tried to ruin Ella’s life and now they were punished, abandoned and abused, harassed by their own town people. Are the biased people who judge them because of their appearance uglier or our misled daughters who only obeyed what their Maman told her and felt guilty because of their actions?

    Every people has FATE and CHANCE! But do they have to do strictly what their fate lead them or do they have their own free will?

    This book is about women’s right to reject to be judged by their appearances and choose to transform themselves whoever they want to be! So this is not a random retelling of popular fairy tale. This is witty, encouraging, enlightening version of storytelling about what women deserve in their lives!

    And I loved the final twist which changes all the facts we learned from fairytales. The beautiful, kind hearted queen of the story can turn into a cruel villanelle if she gets jealous!!!!!

    Our untraditional heroine Isabelle won my heart with her determination, toughness, honesty, fighting soul! She knows she made mistakes and learns her lesson, accepts who she is and finally she understands she can rule her own fate and chances!!!

    “ Most people will fight when there’s some hope of winning, no matter how slim. They are called BRAVE! Only a few will keep fighting when all hope is gone. They are called WARRIORS!

    Isabelle was warrior once but she has forgotten it”

    This book is wake up call to find yourself and embrace your skills, your inner wolf sleeping inside and tearing you apart if you don’t set your inner wolf free and take any risk, you just accept your fate, let the wolf kill you slowly and painfully!

    This part of book below is a great summary of the story and characters’ great fears and challenges :

    “This is world the people in it- my mother, Tantine- they sort us. Put us in crates. You are an egg. You are a potato. You are a cabbage. They tell us who we are. What we will do.What we will be.”

    “Because they are afraid!Afraid of what we could be” Tavi said.

    “But we let them do it!” Hugo said angrily. “ Why?”

    Tavi gave him a rueful smile. “ Because we’re afraid of what we could be, too”

    So; don’t be afraid who you are! What you’re capable! Embrace yourself! Love yourself! Try to become better version of yourself by finding your life purpose, holding your fate into your hands!!!!

  • Sara (sarawithoutanH)

    Guys, you can tell I liked this book because I wrote a legit review!! Just call me

    💁🏼♀(jk don’t do that, my reviews would be a disgrace to her name)

    Y’ALL ARE SLEEPING ON THIS BOOK. This seriously might be a new favorite of mine! It reminded me a lot of Ella Enchanted - it could be because they’re both Cinderella retellings, but it’s also because they both have deeper messages and generate a feeling of warm

    Guys, you can tell I liked this book because I wrote a legit review!! Just call me

    💁🏼‍♀️(jk don’t do that, my reviews would be a disgrace to her name)

    Y’ALL ARE SLEEPING ON THIS BOOK. This seriously might be a new favorite of mine! It reminded me a lot of Ella Enchanted - it could be because they’re both Cinderella retellings, but it’s also because they both have deeper messages and generate a feeling of warmth in me. I’m not huge into fairytale retellings, but this one was so special and unique. This takes place after Ella leaves for her happily ever after and follows one of the ugly stepsisters, specifically the one who cut off her toes in an attempt to fit into the glass slipper.

    The story begins immediately after the ugly stepsisters’ fraudulent attempts to win the prince. After Ella becomes queen, everyone in their town turns against them. The sisters, Isabelle and Tavi, are harassed relentlessly for their actions. A constant theme in this book is internal and external ugliness. Who is worse: the sisters who acted out of shameful jealousy or the people who judge them on looks alone?

    Isabelle is our lead and her character development is just *chef’s kiss* so good. She is That Bitch and she Did That!!! Despite constantly being told that she’s ugly, she discovers that she’s brave and beautiful in her own way. The story examines the meaning of beauty and the idea that girls cannot be fit into a singular box. This whole book truly feels like an ode to the strength of women.

     

    One of my favorite things about Isabelle is that she’s not naturally kind or selfless. As she tries to find her way after she’s punished for her treatment of Ella, she discovers that goodness is not her default nature. I love a good complex flawed character and I found Isabelle to be incredibly relatable. She transforms in the story but she doesn’t suddenly become a different person. She’s still flawed but she becomes more self-reflective. She finds a way to be better without changing who she is.

    This book is just so good! It was funny and character driven. I filled this review with quotes because I loved so much of the writing. I wanted to include about five more quotes, but I thought that’d be overkill. Please read this!! I highly recommend the audiobook!

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  • Emily May

    First off, I want to say I really enjoyed this book. There are so many good things I want to say about it (and will), but I also think I have to admit that for the first 25% I thought I was going to love it more than I did. The opening is very strong, the wr

    First off, I want to say I really enjoyed this book. There are so many good things I want to say about it (and will), but I also think I have to admit that for the first 25% I thought I was going to love it more than I did. The opening is very strong, the writing is gorgeous and highly-quotable, and it's got that

    going on. I was thinking an easy five stars.

    True to the Grimm brothers' version of

    , the book opens at the end of the tale we know with the stepsisters mutilating their own feet to attempt to fit the glass slipper. Of course, this doesn't work out, and Ella and her prince get their happy ending anyway. Here, that's only the beginning. Isabelle and Tavi are left behind with their overbearing mother. Isabelle, especially, is overcome with bitterness. She's angry at a world that renders a woman worthless if she is not deemed beautiful.

    Donnelly doesn't stop with something that simplistic, though. Almost all the women in this story are sympathetic, and though their actions are not excused, it is clear that the real "villain" behind it all is society and the way in which a girl's worth is determined. Ella is never dismissed as an airheaded beauty, nor is the "evil stepmother" entirely evil. It is interesting and sad how we see the way Maman's fear for her daughters drives her to horrific acts. She is deeply afraid of them being left without husbands and starving when she is gone. It's not an unrealistic fear.

    Alongside this, there is another part of the story. A fantasy story and a game. One in which Fate, who has determined the course of Isabelle's life, plays against Chance, who wagers that he can change it. These two characters go head-to-head to see that Isabelle takes the path of their choosing. For the most part, it's thrilling, though I think the overlong and convoluted road this aspect of the plot took made it a four instead of a five star book for me. There was a definite part somewhere in the third quarter where it got a little too much.

    But, ultimately, it's a gorgeously-written feminist fairy tale that unites women instead of demonizing them. I absolutely loved the shout-out to female military leaders of history, and the moments of perfectly-timed humour:

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  • Mischenko

    I read Jennifer Donnelly's

     which is a

    retelling and I truly loved it, so 

    was highly anticipated. There's a special place in my heart for fairy tales, especially

    . To be honest, I haven't read that many

    retellings.

    Will my review spoil this book? Not totally...although I do mention the plot and certain themes which lead into the ending.

    begins right at the end of Cinderella as the prince seeks the girl to fit the slipper

    I read Jennifer Donnelly's

     which is a

    retelling and I truly loved it, so 

    was highly anticipated. There's a special place in my heart for fairy tales, especially

    . To be honest, I haven't read that many

    retellings.

    Will my review spoil this book? Not totally...although I do mention the plot and certain themes which lead into the ending.

    begins right at the end of Cinderella as the prince seeks the girl to fit the slipper. Isabelle and Octavia--the evil stepsisters--will do whatever it takes to get the slipper to fit, even if it requires cutting off parts of their feet. Once everyone notices what the sisters have done, they are shamed and hated throughout the kingdom, and their sister Ella now sits with the prince.

    Life is difficult for the sisters, but more so for Isabelle, as she struggles to accept herself and has much to learn about true beauty. I found Isabelle's character relatable, and her actions are nearly justified due to how's she's been treated; her mother tells her she's ugly, etc. She's had rough times, done evil things, and this has left her feeling angry and jealous, but eventually, she wants to find ways to redeem herself and to fight back once she begins to see what's right and important. As for Octavia, she seems like the stronger sister, but is she? She's certainly smart. Her character was more in the background, but I liked this sister relationship compared to the original. Overall, I loved the character development here. Adding in Fate and Chance who are both battling to change Isabelle's outcome was an aspect that made this retelling so unique.

    The first parts of this book had me cringing and yet I couldn't put it down. These parts were very dark and unexpected. As the story went on, sadly, I just wasn't as captivated. I liked the short chapters, but it still went a bit slow for me in the middle. Because the majority of the fairy tale itself isn't pretty, it was a little hard for me to love the ending with the way it was written because it wasn't totally fitting. Don't get me wrong: I love redemption and it did end somewhat the way I expected it would because after all, it is a fairy tale retold, but it just didn't feel totally right to me.

    With all that said, is it correct to say that I think this is an important book? I think so! Characters struggle with change and one of the biggest is learning how to accept yourself. Beauty isn't everything. This is something I myself have struggled with in life with the American culture and what 'it' considers admirable traits. It's easy to become filled with lies as Isabelle has. Because of this, the book did remind me of

    by Robin Mckinley at times. So, I do think this can be an excellent read for all ages, especially younger readers which is obviously intended being that it's YA.

    Themes include beauty, forgiveness, loss, redemption, family, and acceptance.

    I do love Jennifer Donnelly's writing and can't wait to read more of her books. I also adore the cover of

    . Anyone who enjoys retellings and fantasy should check out this book.

    4****

  • Lola

    This is not a pretty fairytale. The story isn’t pretty. The world isn’t pretty. The characters aren’t pretty. Even the magic isn’t pretty.

    It’s not a story that will make you dream a thousand beautiful dreams of happily-ever-afters. I’m not saying the contrary applies—that it will give you a thousand nightmares in which you die a thousand different deaths—but it is indeed DARK.

    I liked it a lot. I believe the world and the stories in it do not need to be one thing only. They can be good and evil,

    This is not a pretty fairytale. The story isn’t pretty. The world isn’t pretty. The characters aren’t pretty. Even the magic isn’t pretty.

    It’s not a story that will make you dream a thousand beautiful dreams of happily-ever-afters. I’m not saying the contrary applies—that it will give you a thousand nightmares in which you die a thousand different deaths—but it is indeed DARK.

    I liked it a lot. I believe the world and the stories in it do not need to be one thing only. They can be good and evil, beautiful and ugly, hopeful and fatal. That’s how people are, aren’t they? You want to believe that someone is all good or all evil because it’ll be easier to predict their reactions and judge whether they are right for us or not.

    But that’s called being one-dimensional. You don’t want one-dimensional people in your life, do you? And you don’t want to read about one-dimensional characters either, right? No one in this story is just one thing. In the beginning it may seem that way—Cinderella is purely good, Isabelle is pathetically subdued, the stepmother is absolutely evil—but that’s exactly why the author has written this story… To change all of that.

    It is a well-developed feminist retelling. It’s a powerful and surprising story that asks to be read carefully instead of rushed through to get to the ending. The ending is not at all the most important part. What matters most is the path that leads to the final chapter, and boy oh boy what a hard path Isabelle has to follow.

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  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    *is a bold, subversive and startingly original reclamation of one of literature's most reviled women which, by recasting Cinderella's evil stepsister as a hero in her own right, illuminates a known story from a new evolving and multifaceted perspective while eking out depth and redemption and seamlessly grafting concepts of self-discovery and identity to an unrepentant celebration of kindness, courage and forgiveness*

    BE THE UGLY, BITTER AND

    *is a bold, subversive and startingly original reclamation of one of literature's most reviled women which, by recasting Cinderella's evil stepsister as a hero in her own right, illuminates a known story from a new evolving and multifaceted perspective while eking out depth and redemption and seamlessly grafting concepts of self-discovery and identity to an unrepentant celebration of kindness, courage and forgiveness*

    BE THE UGLY, BITTER AND PETTY SWORD-WIELDING REJECT JENNIFER DONNELLY WANTS YOU TO BE!!!

  • Nenia ⭐ Literary Garbage Can ⭐ Campbell

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    Fairytale retellings are hard-- ideally, you're taking a story that most people are intimately familiar with and trying to put a spin on it that keeps it fun and fresh, while also reminding people about why they loved the original so much, too. STEPSISTER is interesting, in that it tries to keep to the dark, original retelling. When we first meet Isabelle, our heroine, one of the evil and ugly stepsisters, she is cutting off her toes to fit

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    Fairytale retellings are hard-- ideally, you're taking a story that most people are intimately familiar with and trying to put a spin on it that keeps it fun and fresh, while also reminding people about why they loved the original so much, too. STEPSISTER is interesting, in that it tries to keep to the dark, original retelling. When we first meet Isabelle, our heroine, one of the evil and ugly stepsisters, she is cutting off her toes to fit into the shoe--

    Unfortunately, her evil plan is outed by birds that are friends with her sister, Ella. Ella goes off to marry the prince and Isabelle and her sister, Tavi, are left alone, ostracized by the rest of the town for their deeds. Only their mother, who is slowly going mad, will speak to them without anger, and even she is embittered about her daughters' new and lowly state. It seems like Isabelle is doomed to a life of ignominy but Fate and Chance have other plans.

    I wasn't sure what to expect with STEPSISTER, but it was much more than I had anticipated. Isabelle is a strong, brave heroine with agency. Her sister, Tavi, is bookish and fiercely intelligent. Neither of them are attractive and both of them have done terrible, selfish things-- but so have the other characters in the book. But neither of them get a free pass because they are ugly. The book is all about beauty, forgiveness, and second chances, and what it means to truly redeem yourself.

    I'm giving this book a three-star rating because I did like it, but it didn't

    me. The plot was great and I liked Isabelle's redemption arc, and how the human manifestations of both Fate and Chance were both fighting over her future as she (maybe) decides to go off and save a kingdom. The story just felt a bit "young" for me, especially with all of the unnecessary sidekicks. I don't think it was badly done, but I have a bias against sidekicks-- that's just my preference. I think for those who are tired of impossibly pretty and perfect heroines, STEPSISTER will be a breath of fresh air.

    It's a shame my magnificent four-star rating streak has ended, but at least now you now I'm not secretly a bot. Or, if I am, I'm a far more devious bot than you ever imagined. YMMV.

    3 to 3.5 stars

  • Phoebe Jeziel

    Kind of want to read this, but am simutaniously annoyed at how this story is being marketed as if Cinderella wasn’t feminist to begin with.

    My homegirl survived an abusive household, became queen, snagged herself someone who truly loves her and showed that beauty was always about what’s on the inside.

    Plot still sounds interesting enough tho lol.

  • Charlotte May

    Did not realise this was written by the same author who wrote

    , which I loved.

    Just treated myself to this one 😊

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