Friday, April 01, 2011

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

"Princess, nobody can stop those rumors. People would rather believe in fairy godmothers...than think that you took charge of your own destiny."

Like every commoner in the land, Ella dreams of going to the ball and marrying Prince Charming. But after she is chosen to marry the prince, life with the royal family is not the "happily ever after" that Ella imagined. Pitiless and cold, the royals try to mold her into their vision of a princess. Ella's life becomes a meaningless schedule of protocol, which she fears she will never grasp. And Prince Charming's beautiful face hides a vacant soul.

Even as her life turns to misery, the stories persist that Ella's fairy godmother sent her to the ball: How else could the poor girl wear a beautiful gown, arrive in a coach, and dance in those glass slippers? But there is no fairy godmother to help Ella escape the deadening life of the castle. Can she do it on her own?

This is another one of those fairy tales that I look at differently now. Maybe Cinderella really didn't hit it off with Prince Charming and live happily ever after. Maybe Prince Charming was a jerk. Maybe no magic was involved in his and Cinderella's first meeting, but instead happened by Cinderella's own hard work. Maybe Cinderella just doesn't get enough credit.

I really liked this book. I thought it was such a great new take on a long treasured fairy tale. I thought it was empowering in that it encouraged women, young and old, to not sit around and wait for amazing things to happen, but instead to get out there and make them happen for themselves. Most times "happily ever after" won't just fall into your lap. If you want something, you have to work for it. I loved that about this book.

I thought this was such a fun, clever story. I really enjoyed Ella's interactions with the different characters in the book. I've never really thought much about castle life (I think I'm one out of a million girls that doesn't have a princess complex), but it sounds really boring. And frustrating. And....boring. I don't think I'd want to stick around and do nothing my whole life just to look at Prince Charming's pretty face all day. Not worth it.

This was a quick read--it's a pretty small book. It's definitely worth reading though! Put this on your "To Check Out From the Library" list.

Happy Reading! 


Jamie VanBeekum said...

Thank you! Going to add it to my list right now :D

Michelle Merrill said...

I've never heard of this book but I'm going to go put it on my to-read list. Thanks for the review.