Stepsister

Jennifer Donnelly. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-338-26846-1
“Cinderella” has seen many variations, but few detail what happens beyond the royal marriage, and even fewer cast a light on Cinderella’s family. Printz Award-winning Donnelly (A Northern Light) does both in this feminist rendition that follows “ugly” stepsister Isabelle. Rather than becoming a proper lady as her abusive mother demands, Isabelle would prefer to ride horses with her soulmate Felix, collect “rocks and animal skulls,” and practice her swordplay. Abandoned by Felix and without other prospects, down two toes by her own hand, and with her family fortune dwindling, she faces a bleak future. Then, meddlesome Chance steals the map of her life from the Fates and grants Isabelle the opportunity to revamp her destiny, and a fairy queen tasks her with finding the missing pieces of her broken heart in exchange for a wish. The story offers plenty of adventure as one of the Fates, Chance, and the queen of the fairies battle wills, and Isabelle confronts precarious situations as she becomes involved in a war between France and an evil warlord. Focusing on beauty’s many guises, what contributes to hatred and cruelty, and people’s power to take charge of their destinies, the retold fairy tale advocates autonomy and empowerment. Ages 12–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/07/2019
Release date: 05/28/2019
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-338-35762-2
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