Book Review: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly


Isabelle, one of the beautiful Ella’s ugly step sisters, must learn to accept herself to change her fate with help of the Fairy Queen and the Marquis de la Chance.


  • As a child and teen, I was an avid fairytale reader, so I had huge expectations. I found this story brilliantly dark, inspiring, and emotional.
  • Even though I guessed several plot points, I loved the characters and themes enough that I read with rapt attention.
  • The overall message was powerful and heartwarming, and the nods to the Brother’s Grimm telling of Cinderella (Aschenputtel) were meaningful to me as a fan. Not many modern fairytale adaptations include the warning doves or the stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet.
  • The storytelling was gripping, the redemption and transformations were raw and romantic, and the magic didn’t discount the power and choices of the characters.
  • I would absolutely read this again and suggest it for others to read!

Least Favorites:

  • It was an effective way to reinforce the dark mood, but the animal violence was upsetting. It’s always hard for me to watch or read.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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