Book List

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo: 5 Cinderella Retellings to Make Your Dreams Come True

April 27, 2017
Sarah Jane Abbott
Riveted Editorial Board

Happy Princess Week, Riveted readers! I love having this as an excuse to write about Cinderella (not that I really need much of an excuse to ramble on about how wonderful Cinderella is). I watched Disney’s Cinderella countless times as a child. It was so easy to get swept up in the enchantment—when life is at its toughest, a magical benefactor shows up and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, you’re in a gorgeous gown on the way to a ball!

I wish that was how life worked in the real world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished a fairy godmother would come and save me from having to continue adulting. But as some of my favorite Cinderella re-tellings show, life before and after the ball isn’t always so easy! Don’t believe me? Here are five imaginative takes on the Cinderella tale, including Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Just Ella, one of our featured reads this week (Available until March 8!). Check them out for yourself and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Cinderby Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Mechanicaby Betsy Cornwell

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Boundby Donna Jo Napoli

YOUNG XING XING IS BOUND.

Bound to her late father's second wife and daughter. Bound to a life of servitude as a young girl in ancient China, where a woman is valued less than livestock. Bound to be alone, with no parents to arrange for a suitable husband. Xing Xing spends her days taking care of her half sister, Wei Ping, who cannot walk because of her foot bindings, the painful tradition for girls who are fit to be married. Even so, Xing Xing is content to practice her gift for poetry and calligraphy, and to dream of a life unbound by the laws of family and society.

But all of this is about to change as Stepmother, who has spent nearly all of the family's money, grows desperate to find a husband for Wei Ping. Xing Xing soon realizes that this greed and desperation may threaten not only her memories of the past, but also her dreams for the future.

The Selectionby Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.


Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Just Ellaby Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Cinderella legend gets a realistic twist in this enchantingly believable adventure from New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix that Booklist calls “provocative and entertaining.”

Ella dreams of going to the royal ball and marrying Prince Charming, just like every commoner in the kingdom of Fridesia. But after she is chosen to marry the prince—no magic involved—life with the royal family is not the happily ever after that Ella imagined. Pitiless and cold, the royals try to mold her into their vision of a princess. Ella’s life becomes a meaningless schedule of protocol, which she fears she will never grasp. And Prince Charming’s beautiful face hides a vacant soul.

Even as her life turns to misery, stories persist that Ella’s fairy godmother sent her to the ball: How else could the poor girl wear a beautiful gown, arrive in a coach, and dance in those glass slippers? But Ella got herself into the castle on her own—and that’s the only way she’s going to get out.

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