reimagining · Reviews

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

5 Hoots!!

It has been a long time since I have read a book that has had me cheering out loud! There were so many times that I literally screamed for joy or excitement. This book is 100% Owl’s Book Nest approved!

Isabella is one of Cinderella’s “ugly” step sister’s and this story focuses on her. What I loved about this is that you not only get a background on what caused the girls to fight amongst themselves (hint, their mother). You start off with Isabelle cutting off her toes right after her sister cut off her heel. You read about Isabelle’s inner struggle to do this, and the strength she had to walk in a glass slipper with her injury. It was not because she wanted to marry the prince, it was all because she had no choice.

You then follow Isabelle and Octavia in the after math of Cinderella becoming Queen and their family becoming treated like they treated her. The stepmother slowly is losing her mind and her girls are struggling to try and work their land because they have no more servants or money. What is different in this tale is that there is war looming over the kingdom and it is getting closer to their village. There is even a moment where Isabelle and Octavia pass a cart of dying soldiers, it was a very grounding moment. This is not a light hearted fairytale. It is dark and full of moments where you do not know if Isabelle is going to survive.

You see, Fate and Chance have made a wager to see if Isabelle can save herself from her destiny. She is meant to die because of this war but Chance feels that she is strong enough to change her own fate. What Fate and Chance did not count on was Isabelle meeting a Fairy Queen who would grant her one wish IF she was able to find all of the pieces of her heart…

Overall this book was amazing. It really should be read by every woman and girl. The book has a beautiful and powerful message that every female should hear: Be who you are. Do not apologize for being strong, smart, fierce, strong will, and resourceful. Isabelle was not actually ugly, she was just outspoken. Octavia was not ugly either, she was just smart and loved math and science. What made them “ugly” to people are the things that made them the heroes of this story. And Cinderella, who is beautiful and kind, actually feels that she is ugly because of her actions. There is a portion in the book where Isabelle and Cinderella meet again and Isabelle realizes that they were all forced into a role that they did not want because of that was what society wanted of them.

This book was awe inspiring. It had action, adventure, love, drama, and so much more. It is a book that I want all the women in my family to read. It is a book that left me in a book high and I was crushed knowing that it was over. Yet, I was so happy with how it ended. I can tell you that this book will be given to my sister to read. I loved this book and I hope others give it read.

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