What ever happened to Cinderella? What happened to Cinderella after the ball? Did she get her happily-ever-after? In Just Ella, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, what we expect is far from what happened. Ella, or Cinder-ella, is the princess-to-be in a castle where everything is decided for her. Her minder, Madame Bisset, tells her what to do all day. She has no outlet for her ideas or opinions. She does not dictate her own schedule. She is always watched.
What about Ella and the Prince? Someone watches the two of them during their meetings. Ella does not speak to the Prince and she does not share intimate moments with him. What does that mean? They are not in love. Happily-ever-after turns into misery-ever-after. What does Ella do? She takes destiny into her own hands.
Ella is not a princess from the fairy-tales. She does not wait for someone to rescue her. She makes her own destiny. But something unexpected happens to Ella in the beginning of the book, and events unfold that are out of her grasp. The shocking event is never discussed or explored. The reader is left hanging. You are left wanting to know more. That is not something a reader should feel.
How did I like Just Ella? What is the honest truth? I did not like it. I thought it was a boring book. It reminded me of a bad version of The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (I love Meg Cabot’s book). The writer does not delve deeply into Ella’s psyche or Ella’s world. The same could be said about the other characters in the novel. You never understand the other characters’s motivations.
The book also lacks imagery and description. It was written in a simple way. It feels like a mere shadow of a good book.
This was a horrible review, but I want to be honest with you, Reader. Hopefully, next week’s book will be better.
Yours with love,
Ava Lily Porter