★★★★★/ 5

Title: Stepsister
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retellings, Fairy
Buy Links: Amazon, Booktopia, Book Depository


Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.


I thought I had just about read every retelling of Cinderella there ever was. I’ve seen all the movies (I can practically quote Ever After in my sleep now!), read the original tale and still, I thought there was nowhere else to go… but I was wrong.

Stepsister takes the typical lesson of rags to riches and turns it on its head by being told from one of the ugly sister’s perspective right after Cinderella leaves with Prince Charming. With captivating appearance by Fate and Chance, Stepsister unfolds into this beautiful tale that teaches readers what it means to be judged by the world for your appearance and how to find your own happily ever after.

The world-building and assorted characters are crafted so expertly by Jennifer Donnelly that I will be sure to add any of her future work immediately to my check out cart. It’s safe to say that this version of Cinderella is right up there as my favourite retelling – to the point where Donnelly had me convinced that Cinderella was never the victim, her stepsister was!

If you love retellings and you want to see Cinderella from a new perspective then do yourself a favour and grab yourself a copy of Stepsister!

I received a copy of this ARC thanks to Allen & Unwin in trade for a fair and honest review.