Stepsister

Stepsister

by Jennifer Donnelly

Hardcover

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Overview

* "Printz Honor winner Donnelly offers up a stunningly focused story that rips into the heart of familiar fairy tale. Isabelle [is] a shattered but not unreedemable girl with a warrior's heart." — Booklist, starred review

An instant New York Times bestseller!
Don't just fracture the fairy tale. Shatter it.

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 cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella's shoe . . . which is now filling with blood.

Isabelle tried to fit in. She cut away pieces of herself in order to become pretty. Sweet. More like Cinderella. But that only made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Now she has a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Evoking the darker, original version of the Cinderella story, Stepsister shows us that ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and uses Jennifer Donnelly's trademark wit and wisdom to send an overlooked character on a journey toward empowerment, redemption . . . and a new definition of beauty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338268461
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 11,503
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL640L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of A Northern Light, which was awarded a Printz Honor and a Carnegie Medal, Revolution (named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal), the Deep Blue series, and many other books for young readers, including Lost in a Book, which spent more than 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley.

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Stepsister 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 11 days ago
An enjoyable twist on Cinderella
NovelKnight 16 days ago
Is it terrible that my first thought after finishing Stepsister was that I wanted a darker story? The book tackles the version of Cinderella where the stepsisters cut parts of their feet off to fit them in the glass slipper, so I was expecting that the overall retelling would be on the darker side too but instead I found Stepsister was a flowery fairy tale that didn't always keep my attention. The book follows Isabelle, one of the ugly sisters to Ella, and starts where Ella and the Prince find each other once more and she goes off (in this case to become the Queen of France). Isabelle and her sister Tavi are then forced to live their lives with the villagers trash-talking them and making life miserable for how they treated Ella. From there the story progresses with Isabelle trying to figure out where she fits in the world and who she really is, and what's important in life. Added to that was this additional plot between Fate and Chance over Isabelle's life story that seemed more a reason to have the story to begin with. And I mention all of that because that's what I took away from this story. It was a tale, and I think if it had been half the length (and it's already a shorter book) I would have been able to take away the same thing. I've seen this book labeled as a feminist re-telling and I sort of see it but it takes a really long time to make its point. If this had been a novella I think it would have held my attention better. Isabella wasn't a memorable protagonist. Nearly every interaction she had with someone else included putting herself down and/or making a predictable decision. She was lost in the story. I actually found her sister Tavi far more interesting and memorable. Tavi is obsessed with mathematics and science, creating experiments during their daily tasks and daring to learn things that women, at the time, shouldn't know or bother with. She's the stepsister I wished we could have had more of. And regardless of which stepsister was the protagonist, the message likely would have been the same, that of young women taking a stand for themselves and defying societal expectations. Which is a great message, but the execution was lacking, hidden behind overly detailed descriptions and falling into that "telling" category. Much like a fairy tale. Which worked when it came to the audiobook, to be honest. I felt like someone was telling me this story and the writing lent itself to it even if it was a bit over the top. I likely would have taken forever to finish reading Stepsister in print, it took long enough on audio as is, but I can at least recommend the narrator as the audio was well suited for this book. Stepsister felt like it could have been really amazing but ended up average at best for me. I don't think I'd recommend the print version based on the writing style but the audiobook is an easy listen and good for when you have other things going on. If you like Cinderella, this might be a good book for you!
Bookyogi 20 days ago
This is a story of what happens after the fairytale, in this case, what happens to the two ugly stepsisters and their mother. For the most part I liked it, and it is a creative idea with some interesting plot developments. The stepmother, Maman, is quite funny, driven crazy by the the events that led to the end of the fairytale, she now can be seen talking to heads of cabbage like they are royalty. There are points where it feels like Cinderella’s (Ella) character is rewritten a bit, made out to be a weaker character than I think the original had intended. There are also bouts where Isabelle (ugly stepsister) is made to be braver than I think probable, but, it is a fairytale and that’s what fairlytales are made of.
HowUsefulItIs 4 months ago
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 www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
Jdp15 5 months ago
It was really good!
stemandsequins 5 months ago
I NEED A BOOK ABOUT TAVI NOW! Okay I really enjoyed this book. Honestly, I liked all the characters but Tavi was my favorite! I really hope Jennifer will create a novel for her. I'm hoping her map is in Chance's hands. :) The story was a quick read with some humor (pretty much all the scenes with Tavi) and I could not put it down which is rare for me. Usually I can just pick a book up and set it down and read whenever but I had to MAKE time to finish this one in one sitting. There was a sense of urgency in it with Fate and the marquis basically deciding if Isabelle has a future or not. I do wish we could have learned more about the background characters that lived with Chance they seemed interesting so I am going to just hope another book in this world might come out.
MrsBurnett-Gauss 5 months ago
Brava! Beautifully, masterfully written with an expertly paced and completely captivating plot. From a veteran bookworm, this novel isn't just for young adults. I would recommend this neo classical expansion of Cinderella to all ages from the youngest pre teen reader onward and upward. I was moved and inspired.
Valerian70 6 months ago
Okay, Jennifer Donnelly is a completely new write to this reader but I am fast becoming a fan of the reworking of classic Fairy Tales so was eager to give this one a try. I've read quite a few now and the best ones always keep the darkness of the original story and Step Sister is no exception to this; in fact the first time we meet Isabelle and Octavia is when they mutilate themselves to try and get the Glass Slipper to fit - something that oftentimes gets missed from the Cinderella story and was always one of my favourite bits as a child. Throw in a dollop of Greek Mythology with The Fates and the handsome Chance and you know from the opening chapters that you are in for a great story. Let me tell you it does NOT disappoint. This book is all about Isabelle, one of the ugly sisters. We do get to meet her sister Octavia but only see her through Isabelle's eyes and I think she may have been my favourite character - bookish and irascible though she is. we also meet Ella, however briefly, and she does not come across well - self satisfied and smug is probably the best way to describe her but nobody else seems to see that. Things aren't going well for the sisters after Ella is swept away by Prince Charming. Their mother has descended in to madness, they are running low on funds and the townsfolk have ostracised them. Even worse Chance has a bet going with The Crone from The Fates that Isabelle can choose her own path in life and not be dictated to by them and they are both interfering with her life. Throw in the Fairy Godmother (more like a Fairy Nightmare) and her bizarre gifts - a jawbone, a seedpod and a walnut shell - and you just know this is going to be good. The world built is rich in detail and the war ravaging the French Countryside ads just the right touch of dire peril. From wagonloads of moaning wounded to the horrors of Madame Le Benets hayloft there is genuine danger for the sisters. The characterisation is empathetic and multi-faceted and even tiny bit part players feel real in this literary world (yes, I went there - literary!). There is even a nice touch of anthropomorphism thrown in with Mother Mouse and the horses Martin and Nero. Although, I have to admit that calling a horse Martin gave me so much pleasure I grinned every time he got a mention. As with all good fairy tales there is a moral to the story. In this case a rather uplifting one - be yourself and you can achieve anything. It may take guts, it may take determination but follow your heart and who knows where it will lead. This was a fantastically good read and although I only finished it 4 days ago I am already looking forward to picking it back up again as I rushed through at such a gallop that I'm sure I missed things. I think I just found myself another YA author to follow - although I am definitely way outside the target audience (and, I'm not entirely sure that I am an adult even though my age would give lie to that). THIS IS AN HONEST REVIEW OF A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK RECEIVED FROM READERS FIRST.
Barker Jones 6 months ago
The Ugly Stepsisters never get much limelight in most versions of Cinderella, other than to laugh at their misfortunes. Luckily for everyone, this is not a version of Cinderella, not really. This is about what happens afterwards, when Ella goes with the Prince and the Stepsisters are left at home with a mother they were never good enough for. This is mostly Isabelle's story; as a child she was fearless, strong and fast, but not pretty. Never pretty. And in the world they grew up in, not pretty was almost a death sentence. When beautiful Ella came into their lives Isabelle allowed jealousy to poison her heart, but now, left alone and crippled, she realises what she's lost and longs to regain it. This is a wonderful story of redemption and believing in oneself. Isabelle is a wonderful character, surrounded by a cast of other wonderful characters. The interaction between the Marquis and Tantine is one of the highlights of an amazing book. I really enjoyed this book.