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Publisher's Summary

A startling, fiercely feminist re-imagining of Cinderella from the best-selling, award-winning author Jennifer Donnelly. 

Don't just fracture the fairy tale. Shatter it. 

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 cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella's shoe...which is now filling with blood. 

Isabelle 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 darker, original version of the Cinderella story, Stepsister shows us that ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and uses Jennifer Donnelly's trademark wit and wisdom to send an overlooked character on a journey toward empowerment, redemption...and a new definition of beauty.

©2019 Jennifer Donnelly (P)2019 Scholastic Inc.

What listeners say about Stepsister

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lovely read

great book for parents of girls around 6 to 12 on a long road trip but dont let that suggestion scare away adults ... I am 57 and i LOVED it. didn't want it to end!

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Wonderful

Great adventure and narration was fantastic!
The character development was inspiring and the twists on an old tale was a lot of fun.

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  • Bookworm
  • 2019-06-25

What a precious story.

The Skinny:
After losing a few of her toes, and a failed attempt at marrying Prince Charming, Isabelle encounters Cinderella's fairy Godmother, who tasks her with finding the lost pieces of her heart in order for her wish of being beautiful to be granted. Unbeknownst to Isabelle, there are far more important reasons to make her heart whole again. Chance is warring with Fate to change her future and save her from an untimely demise, but time is not on her side.

Thoughts:
Going in, I had no idea what an impact this book would have on me. I never thought I'd root for Cinderella's ugly stepsisters either; Donnelly did a fine job of reinventing those two girls into something of beauty, but not the superficial kind. Isabelle's journey to find the lost pieces of her heart is one that touched and warmed my own, leaving prints in it forever. It deftly paints the magic and beauty of the human heart and delivers an empowering message. I can't love it enough.

Bottom line: Stop reading this and buy your copy already!

13 people found this helpful

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  • English Teacher
  • 2019-05-17

Just Wonderful!

This is one of the most outstanding stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to! Halfway through the Audible book, I logged into Amazon and bought the hardcover for my library. Now, I want to buy a copy for every teenage girl I know!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Dawn Taylor
  • 2020-03-18

Outstanding!

I highly recommend this book, it’s got just right mix of all the great ingredients: fantasy, action, romance, feminism, character development, etc. The characters are relatable and authentic and accurately convey the worst and best of all of us.

The narrator, by the way, nailed it.

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  • Jessica Price
  • 2020-10-14

Allow yourself to live in the story

Remember the Cinderella story loosely as you listen to this. This will not be exact, and I love it for that.I am an avid fan of the reasoning behind behaviors, and being able to understand why Ella’s stepsister(s) became who they were was enthralling.

Give the first few chapters to expect a storyline development and then be ready. This book is one of the better I have heard/read this year. So glad to have found this. On to Poisoned now!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Judy Pack
  • 2020-08-11

Incredible story and story teller

Loved this take on Cinderella! I couldn’t stop listening. Story and narrator are wonderful! Jennifer Donnelly is one of the best writers ever!!!!!!!

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  • danna oquinn
  • 2020-07-24

I’ve never reviewed a book until now

This is not typically the type of book I would listen to but after reading reviews, I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did! I loved it! As a matter of fact, I enjoyed it so much, this is the first book I have ever reviewed!

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  • Selena Ramsey
  • 2019-08-24

Spoke directly to my heart and mind

This story is more than a twisted fairytale. There are deep truths that make you think , and poems that soothes your spirit. Thank you, Mrs. Donnelly, for writing this story. I needed to hear it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-07-28

WOW!!! Loved this!

This was such a great story and I can't wait to read it again! And again.

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  • Paula Griffon
  • 2021-07-23

I'm still thinking about this months later.

I finished listening to this several months ago and I can't stop thinking about it. The story is so amazing. It's good enough that it has me typing my review on my chromebook. The keyboard sucks on this thing! (I just got it so I'm still getting used to it) Anyway, for me to even finish a book at all is a miracle in itself. I have narcolepsy and it has become severe over the last few years. I can have sleep attacks at any time without notice. When eating, cooking (I've burnt so many things that now it's only microwave stuff for me), writing emails or social media posts, playing video games (and I was a huge gamer), reading, watching TV, and even while using the bathroom.

All of that background is to let you know where I'm coming from. I liked the premise of the book, but then I like the premise of a lot of things. I haven't been able to watch the last season of Supernatural, even though I watched that show from the beginning and I am a huge fan. I'm really bummed I couldn't watch with everyone else. I also only watched the 1st 2 episodes of season 5 of Outlander and I haven't even started Men in Kilts - the book or the show - in spite of my love for all things Sam Heughan. So, I thought this book would be like everything else. I'd listen for maybe 20 minutes before I would be asleep.

Boy was I wrong. I kept listening and listening and listening. I was enthralled with the story. It was like being a kid again and having someone tell you a good story, only in a way more adult way. This is the story I needed when I was a teenager/20-something/30-something/and beyond really. It sends such a good message without shoving it down your throat and being preachy. It's more like in the gentle way Mr. Rogers sent out his message if he were into telling dark Fairy Tales (Oh, now that is a weird visual).

I love all of the characters in this book and I want to hear more of their adventures. I hope they pop up in her other fairy tale books (in ways that make sense of course. I hate it when it's forced) What I would really like though, is to see her make this a trilogy by writing what happened with Cinderella after she married her Prince and lived "Happily Ever After" with a guy she just met and to see how Octavia's life turns out. It would be fun to see the same events through their eyes. Not a complete rehash because that would be boring and they weren't there for all of Isabella's adventure's, but just to see what they were up to and how they felt about things. Though it would also be nice to see how things progressed in the future. I just want more. I'm greedy. I want more!

I hope I'm not talking this up too much. I don't want to end up giving someone to high of an expectation that they end up hating it when they listen. I'm just so happy to have found something that I made it through without falling asleep. Something I'm still excited about months later. Also, trying not to give away any spoilers while still letting people know it's a good listen. I think it would be a great family listen if you have teens in the house. I don't know that I would let younger children listen until you've checked it out yourself. Only you know how your child will react to the story. This would be a great way to talk to your children about body image and what's really important in a very natural way. It raises many great topics and it would make a great family discussion.

For instance (and this isn't a spoiler since it's in the description of what the book is about), when you get to the part where Isabella wishes to be pretty you could ask you children if they would wish to be pretty or if they would wish for something else. You could also ask them what are the pieces of their heart? Of course you should answer these with them - very honestly - to show them that it's okay to be human and they are not alone. Sometimes when people doubt themselves they think they are the only person in the world that feels that way and it makes them feel defective and alone. Books like this are a great way to open up a dialoge with your child in a very casual way because you are just discussing the story.

Anyway, I think I've typed enough. I'm surprised I stayed awake this whole time (I hope I didn't jinx myself). This is my very first review so be gentle with me. I'm not going to proofread it. I've pushed the boundaries enough. I'm really tired and it's time to take my meds and eat lunch. I'm sure I have tons of errors with this stupid keyboard but I hope it makes sense. My brain isn't what it used to be - not because of narcolepsy but because of chemo. I'm in remission now but chemo brain sucks.
I'm going to try to listen to another of her books, Poisoned, about Snow White (If I'm remembering right). I hope the magic happens again. Wish me luck!

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  • Kate Lateral
  • 2021-05-19

A very good story

This does have a slow start, but its so good once you get past the first 30-hour.