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 her blood. When the prince discovers Isabelle's deception, she's turned away in shame. It's no more than she deserves: she's a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a bold girl in a world that wants her to be pliant. Isabelle has tried to fit in. She cut away pieces of herself in order to become pretty. Sweet. More like Cinderella. But that only made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Now she has a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl. Evoking the original version of the Cinderella story, bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly uses her trademark wit and wisdom to send an overlooked character on a journey toward empowerment, redemption . . . and a new definition of beauty.
The Opposite of Pretty
"The wolves in the woods have sharp teeth and long claws, bit it's the wolf inside who will tear you apart." Quote from ARC.
Isabelle is an ugly stepsister and there isn't anything pretty about her. Because of that, she doesn't marry the prince. Instead, she lives in a town where the people hate her for how she and her family treated Ella. She is on the receiving end of many insults and has had everything she loved taken from her.
When Isabelle meets the fairy queen Tanaquill, she wishes to be pretty. Before Tanaquill can grant her wish, Isabelle must recover the pieces of her heart that has been broken off. There's a wolf that lives inside of Isabelle and she isn't one to back down, but what happens when Fate and Chance have two different paths for her? Not to mention there's a warlord trying to take over the kingdom, which means defeating the king and queen Ella, her stepsister.
STEPSISTER is a unique story that is the complete opposite of pretty. "Ugly" and "Girls who don't fit into the social norm" are the main theme and I love the dark tint to Jennifer's writing. I also love how Fate and Chance are actual beings in this story. This is a fairytale retelling that can stand on it's own and is completely original. It brought a new light to the stepsisters that is shaded in gray.
Final Verdict: I would recommend this to fans of fairytale retellings, dark stories, fantasy, Cinderella, and stories that fight against the social norm.