Title: Just Ella
Author: Margaret Peteresen Haddix
Genre: YA Fantasy
Premise: It's a familiar story: In spite of the obstacles put in her way by her wicked stepmother, Ella goes to the ball, sweeps Prince Charming off his feet, and is chosen to be his bride. Now she's comfortably ensconced in the palace, awaiting marriage to the man of her dreams. It's happily ever after time, right?
Wrong! Life for Ella has become an endless round of lessons and restrictions; even worse, Prince Charming turns out to be more like Prince Boring. Why can't she talk with him the way she can with Jed, her earnest young tutor?
Slowly, Ella comes to realize she doesn't want the life she fought so hard to win. But breaking her engagement proves more difficult -- and dangerous -- than escaping her stepmother's tyranny. (goodreads.com)
Opinions: Years ago when I was working for a bookstore I would often find myself helping people find books for young adults and teens. (Shocking, isn't it?) I still remember the day that a 12 year old girl asked me for the sequel to Ella Enchanted. I was so confused because I knew there wasn't one. So after a good chunk of time I found this book. I'm still not sure this was the book she was looking for, but because of her, I read this book. So I am grateful to her.
I like fairy tales. I'll admit it to anyone who asks. My problem with fairy tales is the idea that at the end when the princess and prince marry that they will live "happily ever after". And honestly that is my issue with the Cinderella tale. She knew this guy for less than 3 days. Who is this guy? And what kind of creep is he that he wants to marry someone based on how she looks?
So the appeal of this book is that you see that everything might not have been what you thought it was. The Prince could be boring. Lessons all the time. No choices.
I really love a firey heroine who takes control of her own life and destiny. This is a great story about how you need to know what you want and be strong enough to go for it. And when it counts, admit that you are wrong and change your direction.