“That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift. When I cried inconsolably through my first hour of life, my tears were her inspiration. Shaking her head sympathetically at Mother, the fairy touched my nose. “My gift is obedience. Ella will always be obedient. Now stop crying, child.”
When Ella was born a fairy gave her a gift. It wasn’t like any baby shower gift mind you, this was the gift to always be obedient. She always had to do what other people told her to, when directly commanded of course. Knowing this gift may get her into real trouble one day, her mother orders her not to tell anyone else. After her mother’s death, she finds a friend in the Prince, who like everyone else has no idea she is cursed. Before they can get to know each other better however, she’s whisked away to finishing school with two young ladies, who would soon become her stepsisters. Unfortunately, the older of the two works out that Ella must do whatever she is told. Ella’s life is miserable after that, and when they return home, her step family make the most of humiliating her. The only comfort she finds is a renewed friendship with the prince through letters smuggled in by her Fairy Godmother. But will her relationship with the Prince put him in danger as well?
Ella Enchanted is quite possibly my favorite YA novel of all time. I read it when I was about 12 years old and have re-read it almost every year since. The copy on my shelf is the second one I’ve owned, as the first was in tatters and was losing pages. That’s how much I love this book!
It’s a twist on Cinderella that gives us a reason why the girl continued living with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. Her curse makes it impossible for her to find a life that is safe elsewhere on her own. It’s proved to be true when she tries running away from finishing school. But it also shows an independent girl in the fact that she fights for what is right. It also deals with tragedy, loss and the desire to be loved, all things that young girls are going through. And in the end, it explains that her wish for her own freedom from the curse is not enough to break it, but her selfless desire to keep the people she loves safe is enough.
This story also gives us a look at why the Prince would want to marry her after the ball. She actually knows him as a friend! What a novel idea to acutally have them know each other before he declares he wants to marry her and runs the shoe around the whole country looking for the owner. I loved the fairy feet thing too. Makes a lot of sense as to why the shoes fit her and no one else.
Overall, It’s a great book that inspires any reader, female and male, to find inner strength and perseverance in the face of opposition. Just go read it already!
Age Group: 12+
Content Concerns: The biggest content concerns are dealing with unkind stepfamily, some verbal abuse and some bullying.
Language: 0/10 No foul language in the english language. Maybe in ogerese…
p. 44-46 Ella and a child are in danger from a mythical creature when Ella is told to bring the child to it.
p. 96 Some Ogres capture Ella and her pony. We do not see them eat the pony, but it is alluded to and makes Ella sick.
p. 101 Ogres start deciding which parts of Ella they want to eat.
Sexual Content: 1/10 One kissing scene and Ella is in love throughout part of the book. Very mild.
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