Review: Stepsister

Title: Stepsister
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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 no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.


Isabelle has a beautiful sister named Ella, whose foot fits into the glass slipper that the Prince sent around town. Isabelle tried to cut her food to pieces to make it fit, but Ella’s foot was a perfect fit. While Ella goes to live in the palace, Isabelle has been left behind to be jealous of her stepsister’s new life. Her life slowly crumbles around her, making her more bitter, until one day she’s given a chance to find her destiny.

This story gave a different perspective of Cinderella’s fairy tale. It began where Cinderella’s tale ends, after she is discovered to be the girl that the Prince loves. Usually, that’s where the stepsisters are left behind and forgotten, however in this story, that is just where Isabelle’s story begins.

Isabelle’s story was being plotted by Chance and Fate. They were side characters who were trying to map out her destiny. Fate, chance and destiny are important elements of fairy tales. These elements were brought to life in this story and played an active role in Isabelle’s life.

This is a great, original fairy tale retelling.

What to read next:

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Have you read Stepsister? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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