Review: Stepsister

Title: Stepsister

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Length: 352 pages (12h 52 min)

Source: library

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Isabelle did what her mother asked: she cut off her toes to fit into a tiny glass slipper so she could marry the prince. It didn’t work, of course; the prince found out her deception with the aid of some birds and a bit of blood. Worse, it turns out her stepsister, Ella, is the girl he’s been looking for, the one he loves.

Now, Isabelle and her sister Octavia are known throughout France as “the ugly stepsisters.” Reviled, scorned, and abused by the village, the girls are forced to retreat to their manor and hide away. But little does Isabelle know that Fate and Chance are fighting over her future. To top it off, Isabelle meets with the fairy queen who helped Ella. She agrees to grant Isabelle her heart’s desire, but only if Isabelle finds the three missing pieces of her heart.

Now, Isabelle is on the hunt for those pieces while her life falls apart around her. Despite the troubles that beset her and her family, she finds herself growing and changing and discover that she is stronger than she ever imagined. But is it enough to earn or happy ending? Or has it all been mapped out for her?

This book was amazing. It did such a fantastic job of humanizing both stepsisters, although, of course, Isabelle was the one who changed the most. From the very beginning I was enthralled by the duel between the three Fates and Chance personified. I have to admit, though, I went in a strange direction with them. It’s the Crone who is the main Fate and Chance is a young, handsome man. But I still shipped them hard. Every scene in which they bickered and battled, I was mentally rooting for them to do.

But they’re not as important as Isabelle. She was truly an ugly stepsister, although after the book ended, I really understood why. And she did too. She saw where her actions came from, and realized her deep complicity in the downward spiral of her life. But, despite her initial ugliness, she’s so darn likable. She’s brave and ballsy. Strong and competent. And I liked how she faced each tragedy in her life and grew from it.

I borrowed this book from the library, but I’m going to need to own it. It’s a special book with a deeply complex main character that I rooted for even when I was disgusted by her early actions. This really is a great book.