Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix (review)

December 4, 2014 All Reviews, Fantasy, YA 0 ★★★½

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix (review)Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 1st, 2001
Number of Pages: 218
Genres: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Purchase: At Amazon

Happily Never After.
It's a familiar story: In spite of the obstacles put in her way by her wicked stepmother, Ella goes to the ball, sweeps Prince Charming off his feet, and is chosen to be his bride. Now she's comfortable ensconced in the palace, awaiting marriage to the man of her dreams. It's happily ever after time, right?

Wrong! Life for Ella has become an endless round of lessons and restrictions; even worse, Prince Charming turns out to be more like Prince Boring. Why can't she talk with him the way she can with Jed, her earnest young tutor?

Slowly, Ella comes to realize she doesn't want the life she fought so hard to win. But breaking her engagement proves more difficult -- and dangerous -- than escaping her stepmother's tyranny.


This take on the classic Cinderella fairytale was fun and interesting. Ella is 15 years old when she goes to the ball and meets the Prince. She has no fairy godmother, no special magic to help her. She gets the glass slippers from a glassmaker in her village because she helped him win a bet. The dress she wears is her mother’s wedding gown that she stitches a little smaller so it fits her.

The book starts after the Cinderella story we know, Ella is now a Princess but has not yet married her Prince. She must sit through hours of lessons, and is constantly told that “A Princess does not…” or “A Lady does not…” She begins to wonder if she did the right thing when she agreed to marry the Prince. And gets more and more frustrated with how constricting her new life was becoming, it was not at all what she had dreamed.

Ella is a very strong-willed character, she is smart and funny as well. And once she decides what it is she really wants, she doesn’t sit by passively waiting for it to happen. She goes after it with help from her friends along the way. I don’t like how the story ends, it doesn’t really wrap up anything and there are bits left hanging that I feel shouldn’t have been left open like that. It is the first in a series, but book 2 tells the tale of a completely different girl. So I’m guessing the bits that leave you hanging in this book don’t get wrapped up in it. I did really like the flow and the looks into Ella’s life as a Princess though, it was a very fun read and would have gotten 4 stars if the ending hadn’t left me hanging.


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