Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly – ARC Review


My Rating ~ Four and a half stars

RELEASED: 6 May 2019

Publisher: Bonnier

Format: Paperback

Pages: 469

RRP:  AU$19.99

Source:  Allen & Unwin


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.




Thankyou to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of Stepsister, in exchange for an honest review.

I truly love reading fairytale retellings from the villains point of view.  I love seeing their stories fleshed out and tales formed about how they became the people they did (because let’s face it, bullies are usually scared people who don’t like themselves or their lives very much).  Stepsister follows the story of Cinderella’s stepsisters, rather than Cinderella (Ella) herself and it was brilliant.

One of the stepsisters in particular, Isabelle, is honest in her failings and regretful of her treatment of Ella.  She is convinced her life would have been perfect, and maybe still could be, if she was just pretty.  When she comes across a way she might be able to fulfil that goal, she sets about trying to complete the tasks she thinks will get her there.  Unbeknown to her, there are two characters she didn’t count on – Fate and Chance, and they have very different ideas of how Isabelle’s life should play out.  As she struggles to win her one true wish, she’ll need to look in to her heart to decide if that wish is still the one she desires most.

This was such a fantastic dark fairytale retelling with amazing, flawed characters, an engaging story and a clever twist on the original.  I’d highly recommend it for fairytale retelling lovers!





Stepsister pic by bookbookowl

Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl


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