Top 5 Cinderella Retellings

You guys, I really love fairy tales. I’m not necessarily one of those Disney fairy tale crazy fans, but I just love the genre in general. Give me a set of prince and princess characters, a talking pet sidekick, and a happily ever after any day.

I also really get into fairy tale adaptations and retellings. There’s something really fun about reading a reimagination of a classic story and finding ways that they parallel. I’ve seen and read all kinds of adaptations over the years – Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood – but I think most often, I’ve read Cinderella retellings, so that’s what I’ll focus on today. These are 5 of my favorite Cinderella retellings.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

This is the most recent Cinderella adaption that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. We have a science fiction fandom twist to the classic story, which parallels the film “Ever After” more so than the original tale. It’s witty and chalk full of references to bigger fandoms. The love story is a little different from a classic fairy tale and their meet cute is unique. We’ve got a fun cast of characters here for this modern take on a classic – plus it’s a quick read!

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I couldn’t leave out my favorite of them all! I remember seeing this book around for a couple of years before actually picking it up and I’m SO glad that I did. Cinder takes us on a galactic journey with this fairy tale twist and throughout this series, we see other adaptations as well, including Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White. The connections to Cinderella are pretty prominent in this first book and it’s a gripping, hilarious story.

It Started with Goodbye by Christina June

This is another modern adaptation of Cinderella, with some looser connections. Our main character lives with her stepmother and stepsister and has a fairy godmother in her abuela. This retelling focuses less on the dynamic between the main protagonist and her “Prince Charming” character and moves it more towards family and friendship. The characters are all VERY real, which is great for a fairy tale adaptation!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Time for a classic retelling of Cinderella! You may be thinking about the movie, but I’m just going to stop you right there. Don’t even. This is a classic case of the book being significantly better than the movie. It doesn’t even come close. This author is one of my favorites when it comes to fairy tales. All the elements are there – magic, friendship, self-discovery, hope, and a happy ending. Plus, a prince. Got to have a prince! If you haven’t ever read this book, give it a go. You won’t regret it!

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Another throwback example! I remember reading this in middle school. It was one of the first fairy tale adaptations I’d read and is probably the reason I love them so much today. This book gives us a look at the aftermath of Cinderella’s class tale – post-ball and post-wedding life. The twist with this retelling is that there’s no magical anything, it’s a more realistic take. This is a more empowering tale, as Ella didn’t go to the ball in search of a prince, but of a way out of her miserable life. Definitely a different take!

What’s your favorite Cinderella retelling? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

“If you believe in yourself and have a few good friends, then you can do anything. You can be anything. So, as the saying goes: Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsGeek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Feelings: This book was perfect for a reader like me. I love all the fandoms and enjoy subtle (and also not so subtle) references to things I love. PLUS, I love a good fairy tale retelling. This one in particular was done really well. Let’s talk Cinderella first.

This story paralleled the Ever After version of the Cinderella story, more than any of the others. The character’s name is Danielle, she has one nasty sister and one that has a sympathetic side, Danielle and “the prince” have a secret kind of relationships before the “ball” scene, and so on. And I’m glad the author chose that route. In terms of making the story realistic, this was the best way to go.

For the fandom aspect – so much fun! We saw everything from Battlestar Galactica to Game of Thrones to Batman to basically any fandom you can think of. I love the way the story is centered around the (fake, for us) TV series of Starfield, and we get to learn about this show as go go along this journey with the characters. I’m glad it wasn’t focused on an existing show; it made me bond with the characters more this way.

Issues: The story arc with Brian made the story get jumbled. For a while, we kept seeing that name and knew that there was something major that happened between him and Darien. I felt anxious to know what it was! Then when we find out, it comes out in a weird way and sort of falls apart. I didn’t really see Darien learn from that experience and it didn’t develop him as a character, so it just seemed out of place.

There were some small repetitions that annoyed me, like the “holy ______ Batman” line and the references to Darien’s abs. We get it, you’re a fan. We get it, your abs are insured.

What is with GAIL? Darien goes on and on about how he trusts her and how she’s the only one from before his fame began who really knows him, but she was useless. She missed all the drama happening with him, loses his phone at a very important plot point, and is a discombobulated mess. I think Darien needs new friends.

Characters: These characters all felt so REAL. Elle isn’t a perfect protagonist. She’s certainly got some issues, but she’s a teenager and it all made sense. It made her relatable, unlike Disney’s Cinderella character. (She took too much for too long, that’s all I’m saying. Start a mouse rebellion and take that house back, queen.) I like that she finds her voice by the end and discovers what makes her happy. We all go on that journey at some point.

Darien was a bit of a different love interest character. He’s got his own thing going, sure, but he isn’t that perfect, dreamy, Sarah-Dessen-esque boy character. Like Elle, he’s imperfect and makes mistakes along the journey. He learns about trust (sort of) and taking the reigns of his own life.

This book has a great set of side characters (except for Gail). I loved Sage. At first, I thought she was going to be that grumpy character who spoils everything, but she turned out to be the exact opposite. Chloe, the evil step sister, is exactly who the plot needed her to be, and Cal was that sweet surprise in the end. The step mother never got any redemption, like some “evil” parent characters do, which is fitting with the classic fairy tale. I’m okay with her remaining a negative source in Elle’s life, rather than this huge come-to-Jesus-scene where they promise to both “try” or whatever. That isn’t how things go sometimes.

Final thoughts: Not only was it a lot of fun, it was emotional, too. I actually teared up a few times because of the way I felt for the characters and was connected to them. If you love fandoms (or even just one fandom) and/or you love fairy tale retellings, then this is the perfect book for you. I read most of it in one sitting, because I just couldn’t find a good stopping point!

Pick this up if you liked:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

Goodreads rating: 4.24/5

My rating: 4.25/5

*This book is out TODAY! I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.

Happy reading! – Caitlyn