Hello, today I will be reviewing Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly, the newest book by the author of Sea Spell, A Northern Light, and more. I hope you enjoy!
Though the book does have a few slower points, I still believe that this has the potential to be enjoyed by most YA fantasy fans looking for a twist on the genre. Release date: May 14, 2019
Hardcover Page Count: 352
My rating: 4/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received this ARC as part of Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program. That said, everything featured in this review is based upon my honest opinion and not influenced at all in anyway. Enjoy!
Not every story is as it seems. For Isabelle, it’s the fact that she should finally be winning the heart of the handsome prince…but she’s not. Instead of being 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. After the price discovers her deception, she's sentenced to a life of shame for the fact that is just too plain and twisted for anyone to love. When given the chance to alter her destiny and finally prove her worth as more than just an ugly stepsister, Isabelle takes it knowing full well that this is finally her time to shine. Because just because she was told to follow a certain path, doesn’t have to follow it.
When most people say that a book was unlike any others that they have read before, they typically mean because of its character or particular twist. But for Stepsister, it is unique because of what it fundamentally is. In the beginning of the book, we are greeted by a small group of women creating maps, maps that instead of charting an area, create a person’s storyline. Through the scene that unfolds we are shown that these women are the Fates, and that they have decided that Isabelle’s life will not be that of pleasure, but of pain. And yet, someone wants to change that. Well at least, someone wants to attempt to change that.
I thought that this introduction of the idea of our lives being so plainly “mapped” out for us was an interesting one, especially since the very act of writing a book makes authors do the same as what the Fates do in Stepsister. Writers create roles and fill them however they feel the need to, something which might seem fairly typically. But in Stepsister, Donnelly will show us the absurdity of it all. Though roles are a necessary evil, she explains through Isabelle, it doesn’t mean that they must rule us. With this, Donnelly made Stepsister on of the first books I have read in a while that don’t just exist to entertain, but to make readers think.
Readers will find Isabelle’s journey through this realization to be one both empowering and thought provoking as Isabelle is quite far from the typically YA heroine these days. Not exactly pretty and far from well-mannered, she is a girl that most would stay away from. Still, she feels more life-like then any other character that I have read recently. This will provide readers a chance to bond with her through her escapades as she discovers not a long-lost kingdom or uncovers a murder plot, but the meaning of her freedom as a whole.
Perfect for fans of Damsel and other not-so-typical fairytale retellings, Stepsister is a book that will take readers both on a fun and exciting adventure but will also make them question their own paths. I would recommend this book for readers ages 12 and up because of mild violence.
I hope that you enjoyed this review! I really enjoyed the unique storytelling of this book and I was glad that I got the chance to read it. I would like to say a special thank you to Emma who runs the Miss Print blog! Emma is such an amazing blogger and bookstagramer and you definitely have to check her out if you haven't already. Both librarian and reviewer, Emma always seems to know what books are best so if you are looking for some quality reviews (besides mine of course :) ) you should check her blog out! If you are a blogger with little to no access to arcs, check out her arc adoption program too! Not only does she help the blogging community with this, but she helps authors by generating more reviews for them (which is the best thing you can do for an author).
Until next time,
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”