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

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  • Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm, Myrtle Beach

    It took me a little while to get into it, but I LOVED THIS BOOK. The message is so important, so relevant, and it had me in tears more than once. The author did such a wonderful job making the point that not every girl is the same, and we shouldn't all JUST want to be liked and pretty... we're so much more than that. This sentiment is beaten into our heads from the day we can understand, and it shouldn't be that way. Not anymore.

    Not only is it a beloved story we all grew up knowing, it shows a d

    It took me a little while to get into it, but I LOVED THIS BOOK. The message is so important, so relevant, and it had me in tears more than once. The author did such a wonderful job making the point that not every girl is the same, and we shouldn't all JUST want to be liked and pretty... we're so much more than that. This sentiment is beaten into our heads from the day we can understand, and it shouldn't be that way. Not anymore.

    Not only is it a beloved story we all grew up knowing, it shows a different side from the "ugly" stepsisters and what happened after Cinderella rode off into the sunset with Prince Charming. I'm a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, and this one was awesome.

    Read this book. If you have a daughter, or granddaughter, have them read it too. You won't be disappointed.

    Girl power!

  • 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!!!!

  • 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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  • 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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  • Hollis

    Holy shit, guys, this book is flying under the radar right now but it shouldn't be!!

    I was completely unprepared for how quickly, and how hard, I would fall in love with STEPSISTER. This book immediately opens up with a warning about how this is a darker take on the well-known tale and it is definitely that. But it's not clo

    Holy shit, guys, this book is flying under the radar right now but it shouldn't be!!

    I was completely unprepared for how quickly, and how hard, I would fall in love with STEPSISTER. This book immediately opens up with a warning about how this is a darker take on the well-known tale and it is definitely that. But it's not close your eyes and hide under the cover scary; it's just hammering home the stark truths and unpleasant realities of societal expectations, a woman's fate in this world (and our own), and the bleakness of war. And I mean there's also the fact that the stepsisters lop off pieces of themselves in order to win a prince, which, hey, fun times!

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    This is the story of what comes after Cinderella, Ella in this story, gets her prince. What befalls the ugly stepsisters and the wicked stepmother. In this case, it's being shunned. It's being ridiculed. It's shame and regret. It's accepting their choices and living with themselves.. or trying to. It's about a wish to be pretty, thinking it'll solve all your problems, because discovering and facing the truth of oneself is so much harder.

    Donnelly's writing captivated me. It bowled me over. There were passages that made me want to cheer because of the beautiful feminist observations, parts that made me laugh because wow the second stepsister was freaking hilarious, and also parts that made me cry -- embarrassingly one of them had to do with mice. But I own that.

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    The elements of this story are familiar because we've heard, or watched, the tale. But never from this perspective, never in this way, and there was a freshness, a realness, to this retelling that just.. got me. Strength and shame and beauty and wonder and forgiveness. Intelligence and cleverness and agony -- physical and of spirit -- and heartbreak. It seemed to flow effortlessly and honestly the only thing keeping this from being five stars is the big fancy HEA. I don't think it was a wrong choice but maybe it was a little too right, if that makes sense? I would've liked half a step back, I think.

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    I didn't have much in the way of expectations when I picked this up; I had heard of it but not been endlessly beat about the head with hype. And it definitely deserves some. Totally recommend.

    4.5 stars

    ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

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    This review can also be found at

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  • 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!!!

  • Sophia Triad

    I never really liked Cinderella....

    Review pending

  • 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.

  • Mary S. R.

    I mean, when you say

    you should know that now you pretty much own my pocket—and also all the money in it. Seriously. Here. It's all yours! :/

    I mean, when you say

    you should know that now you pretty much own my pocket—and also all the money in it. Seriously. Here. It's all yours! :/

    Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied;

    We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?

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