Review: Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: October 1st 2014
Publisher: Bluefields
Point of View: 1st person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: YA, Contemporary, Fairy Tale Retellings, Family Romance, Friendship, Celebrity, Fame.


It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.


2.5 stars. This turned out to be the kind of book that was agreeable enough to read (the first 50% more than the other half though) but that, when you think of the content, right after finishing it, it may possibly be that you end up having very mixed thoughts. That’s how I feel. I enjoyed reading it and getting to know the characters – some of them – but I nonetheless cannot stop thinking about how improbable it was for this story to actually take place in our world. Well, I know it is fiction + contemporary + fairy tale retelling, but there are some books and, hell, movies and retellings of Cinderella that you can come to actually BELIEVE in and imagine happening for REAL. This is not one of them. And that’s a shame, in my opinion, because it could have been the type of story to make you dream!

It was a light read and not that long. Quite easy to get into too. The author created a main character that we can relate to – well well, she was actually a blogger herself and reviewer of books! – plus a secondary cast very wide and containing a variety of different personalities. That was fun! She really did succeed at making this an entertaining read. But the thing is…It is strange how entertaining it actually ended up being since there were some pretty heavy and important themes in there. Ella’s life wasn’t perfect at all! Her mom died…she thought her father didn’t love her…and her new sister-in-laws acted like terrific creatures (okay, perhaps that was an intended hyperbole).

Cinderella’s life itself wasn’t easy either, but Ella wasn’t feeling good about it all and was weak…yet strong, we could feel it. The author, I assume, tried to make us realize this but the execution was so-so because, like I said, this was a fairy tale! And so melodramatic that it had transformed some emotional scenes into banal ones. Something I thought was not great. Ella suffered, but I didn’t quite feel it. I guess, to sum it up, this could have simply been less focused on Ella’s problems and *depression* (I didn’t feel like she was depressed at all! How her father kept wanting to hospitalize her in fact bothered me!) and more on the actual romance.

Oh yeah…the romance. That was crazy but Cinder and Ella didn’t actually meet in *real life* before something like 60% of the story (this is an average). It dragged! It may have been fast-paced and full of (unrelated to the romance) events that weren’t necessarily boring, but it did drag since this, as main purpose, was supposed to be a Cinderella retelling! …Right? At least, that’s all I wanted from it. While we could see some similarities to the classic, there were SO many new elements that were created by the other. For instance, Ella’s new stepmother was in reality really really sweet and caring and so nice with her new daughter-in-law. Which was lovely, but the atmosphere was not the same. Yet, I understand since in the real tale Ella’s father was death while in this book he was alive. No, instead of having a despicable stepmother, we had a wicked little *bitchy* girlfriend. Cinder’s, incidentally. That added some spicy flavour to the plot though.

Cinder…oh I’m sorry but, sincerely, I never saw you and Ella making that of a perfect and charming couple. I mean, you were cute as a whole, for the most part, but definitely better off as best friends. Like you primarily were. For more than half of the book! And there was a love-triangle. A VERY unnecessary and unpleasant love-triangle. I swear, there were so many characters in this book. Which wasn’t a bad thing itself, it’s the consequences that they may have had on the story that bothered me. Rob, for example, confused Ella’s heart for nothing!

Not bad, but not great either. This felt like a mix between the movie A Cinderella Story and Another Cinderella Story so, I guess, if you enjoyed both of those films, you might very likely find yourself spending some lovely hours with Cinder & Ella!


21 thoughts on “Review: Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

  1. I am realllly not liking that cover 😐 I don’t think I’d like this one to be honest–I haven’t watched either films but I’m not a huge fan of contemporary fairy-tale retellings, if you get what I mean.

    Lovely review, Lola <33


  2. Agh that movie! It was sweet and all but you’re right when you say that people can make Cinderella believable. I mean let’s face it, that’s probably the most retold story ever. So yeah. I’m sad that this one didn’t reach that level. Too bad but still I’m glad you enjoyed reading it 🙂


  3. Did you do a redesign? CUTE! I wondered why I hadn’t seen you around (well, besides the fact that I kind of disappeared from the blogosphere for a bit, too). Agreeable is…okay. I’ve already had too many agreeable reads already this year. *sigh*


  4. I know what you mean. Those books that you want to rate 1 star but enjoyed them so much you want to give them more. THE DILEMMA. But okay… I’ve got to admit this sounds pretty cute. I think this is the kind of book I’d read when I’m in need of serious fluff. And I kind of enjoyed those movies (I saw them really long ago) so I guess I might enjoy this?


  5. Sorry this was only MEH for you, and I’ll probably pass on it myself. Too many other promising retellings to waste time on the mediocre ones 😉 BUT thanks for the heads-up, and lovely review, Lola.


  6. I know I commented on your review on Goodreads, but I did want to stop by the blog as well. It’s a shame you didn’t like this one as much as I did 😦 I know it is pretty unrealistic, but I did like to suspend my belief because well, I love a good retelling and thought it was a unique idea. I think the ending was a bit too cheesy for me, but otherwise I enjoyed this ^^ And all those gifs bring back those days 🙂


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