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BOUND by Donna Jo Napoli Kirkus Star

BOUND

By Donna Jo Napoli

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-86175-3
Publisher: Atheneum

A strong, finely crafted version of Cinderella based mostly on old Chinese tales but with a sprinkling of details from Grimm. Xing Xing lives in a cave with Stepmother and Stepsister during the Ming Dynasty. Stepmother leaves Xing Xing’s feet alone, but binds Wei Ping’s feet to attract suitors. Fetching water at the pond, Xing Xing meets a uniquely beautiful carp who (she comes to realize) embodies her late mother. A venture out into the world to sell unripe figs and seek a doctor for Wei Ping’s infected feet emboldens Xing Xing. When Stepmother sneakily kills the carp, Xing Xing reaches her final point of mental independence. Recognizable Cinderella motifs like honoring parental spirits, Wei Ping’s brutally chopped-off toes, and a cave-festival where a golden shoe gets left behind weave easily together with the fleshed-out solidity of Napoli’s realism. There seem to be no good options for Xing Xing’s future, since she’s not only dowry-less but overeducated for a girl; however, the ending has spark, resonance, and a relievingly appealing prince. Deliberate and satisfying. (Fiction. YA)