Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: May 14th, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Feminism, Dark Fairy Tale, Magic


This is not a pretty fairytale. The story isn’t pretty. The world isn’t pretty. The characters aren’t pretty. Even the magic isn’t pretty.

It’s not a story that will make you dream a thousand beautiful dreams of happily-ever-afters. I’m not saying the contrary applies—that it will give you a thousand nightmares in which you die a thousand different deaths—but it is indeed DARK.

I liked it a lot. I believe the world and the stories in it do not need to be one thing only. They can be good and evil, beautiful and ugly, hopeful and fatal. That’s how people are, aren’t they? You want to believe that someone is all good or all evil because it’ll be easier to predict their reactions and judge whether they are right for us or not.

But that’s called being one-dimensional. You don’t want one-dimensional people in your life, do you? And you don’t want to read about one-dimensional characters either, right? No one in this story is just one thing. In the beginning it may seem that way—Cinderella is purely good, Isabelle is pathetically subdued, the stepmother is absolutely evil—but that’s exactly why the author has written this story… To change all of that.

It is a well-developed feminist retelling. It’s a powerful and surprising story that asks to be read carefully instead of rushed through to get to the ending. The ending is not at all the most important part. What matters most is the path that leads to the final chapter, and boy oh boy what a hard path Isabelle has to follow.


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5 thoughts on “Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly

  1. Pingback: ARC Review: Stepsister – Foxes and Fairy Tales: A Book Blog

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