JUST ELLA by Margaret Peterson Haddix


From the "Palace Chronicles" series, volume 1
Age Range: 10 - 16
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In the wake of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted (1997) and such recent movies as Ever After, Haddix (Among the Hidden, 1998, etc.) has her own ideas about whether Cinderella really lived happily ever after. After Ella’s triumph with the prince and the glass slipper, she moves into the castle to undergo tedious training in etiquette under the unctuous Madame Bisset. She’s astonished to learn that the castle servants believe she was sent to the fateful ball by a fairy godmother. Actually she wore her mother’s wedding gown and tricked the village glassblower into making her uncomfortable slippers. Ella also learns that the only thing charming about her prince is his name; when she decides not to marry him she’s thrown in the dungeon. With the help of Mary, a poor servant girl she has befriended, Ella tunnels her way out. She makes her way to a camp for war refugees run by Jed Reston, her only other friend from the castle. If she lives happily ever after in Haddix’s version, it’s because she takes charge of her own life. This cleverly done book would make a good read-aloud for younger children, an addition to units on myth and fairy tales at the middle-school level, and will also entertain high school students—and lead them to Haddix’s other, more contemporary works. (Fiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-689-82186-7
Page count: 185pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999


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