Who can resist a fun retelling of a classic fairytale? Having some knowledge of the backstory allows the reader to get invested in the story quickly. Today’s guest post is a fairytale specialist—Leah Cypess is the author of the SISTERS EVER AFTER series and shares some of her favorite retellings of Cinderella.
Leah Cypess: While writing GLASS SLIPPERS, I avoided reading other retellings of Cinderella. But now that GLASS SLIPPERS is out in the world, I was able to revisit some old favorites — and discover some new ones — to recommend to any middle grade readers who are looking for more takes on Cinderella! Here are my 5 favorites:
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I know, I know! It’s so obvious it almost doesn’t bear mentioning. But it’s so good that it has to be mentioned. (And don’t just take my word for it — the Newbery Committee thought so too!) The story of a girl named Ella who is “blessed” with the gift of obedience, this retelling is inventive, enthralling, and thoroughly magical. (And if you’ve watched the movie — go read the book anyhow. Seriously. They are barely telling the same story.) Buy Here
- Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George. This book is the second in a series, and I highly recommend starting with the first, Princess of the Midnight Ball (a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses). With that said, if for some reason you must, you can also read Princess of Glass as a stand-alone. This book is actually about a different princess at that famous ball, thus setting it up for a series of fascinating and fairy-tale-bending twists. It’s a sweet and fast-paced entry in George’s fabulous Princess trilogy. Buy Here
- Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. This, like Glass Slippers, is actually a sequel rather than a straight retelling. In the immediate aftermath of the ball, Cinderella is still thrilled that she’s going to marry the prince, whom she is madly in love with. It’s just that she finds his palace extremely boring. Also, why is everyone insisting on making up ridiculous stories about fairy godmothers? This insightful and at-times hilarious book has no magic in it; the focus is, as promised, on just Ella. It’s laugh out loud funny in parts, tense in others, and overall entirely delightful. I should note that this one is technically classified as young adult, but I personally think it’s in that gray area where upper middle grade and young adult overlap. (What I discovered while compiling this list is that most Cinderella retellings are very clearly young adult — which I suppose makes sense, given the focus on romance and marriage.) Buy Here
- Disenchanted by Megan Morrison. In this post-industrial version of Cinderella, Ella is a crusader for worker’s right, fairy godmothers are part of a corrupted magical organization, and Ella and the prince are partners in a school project. There’s also a glass slipper, a ball, and a stepfamily, but it’s all scrambled and remixed to create this completely original and highly entertaining version of Cinderella. Buy Here
- Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley. Like Just Ella, this retelling has no magic in it, and it reads almost like historical fiction. It weaves a vast medieval web that spins the Cinderella story into a familiar but totally new shape, with original takes on Bella, the prince, the stepmother, and the stepsisters. (I found it especially interesting that this book dwells on the fact that the stepsisters, too, had lost a parent.) The author juggles a vast number of point-of-view characters without confusion; each one has something to add to the story. A nuanced, deep, and very satisfying read. Buy Here
To learn more about Leah, visit her website at https://www.leahcypess.com.
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