Cover image for Just Ella
Just Ella
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
185 pages 22 cm
In this continuation of the Cinderella story, fifteen-year-old Ella finds that accepting Prince Charming's proposal ensnares her in a suffocating tangle of palace rules and royal etiquette, so she plots to escape.
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.5 6.0 34884.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.6 9 Quiz: 18934 Guided reading level: Y.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



"Princess, nobody can stop those rumors. People would rather believe in fairy godmothers...than think that you took charge of your own destiny."Like every commoner in the land, Ella dreams of going to the ball and marrying Prince Charming. But after she is chosen to marry the prince, 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, the 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 there is no fairy godmother to help Ella escape the deadening life of the castle. Can she do it on her own?Margaret Peterson Haddix's reconstruction of the Cinderella legend without the magic -- how a commoner could have married the prince -- is a story as richly fascinating as the classic tale.

Author Notes

Margaret Peterson Haddix was born in Washington Court House, Ohio on April 9, 1964. She received bachelor's degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing, and history from Miami University in 1986. Before becoming an author, she was a copy editor for The Journal-Gazette, a newspaper reporter for The Indianapolis News, an instructor at Danville Area Community College, and a freelance writer. Her first book, Running Out of Time, was published in 1995. She has written more than 30 books including Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey, Just Ella, Turnabout, The Girl with 500 Middle Names, Because of Anya, and Into the Gauntlet. She also writes the Shadow Children series and the Missing series. She has won the International Reading Association Children's Book Award and several state Readers' Choice Awards.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. The story of Cinderella continues, with 15-year-old Ella discovering that life after the ball isn't necessarily lived happily ever after. Her prince is decidedly not charming, and castle life is cushy, but superficial and repressive. Then Ella meets tutor Jed Reston, a lively companion and social activist. Their relationship inspires her to rethink her wishes and priorities and to embark on a challenging quest to find true happiness in life and love. In lively prose, with well-developed characters, creative plot twists, wit, and drama, Haddix transforms the Cinderella tale into an insightful coming-of-age story. Ingenuity and determination, not magic wands, explain Ella's gown, coach, and famous glass slippers, and lend credence to her adventures and evolving character. Easy to relate to, Ella is a strong female protagonist who learns the rewards of bettering life for others, and that happiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. A provocative and entertaining novel, this is a cut above many of the recent versions of fairy tales for older readers. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Publisher's Weekly Review

PW wrote, "Haddix puts a feminist spin on the Cinderella story, beginning her tongue-in-cheek novel where the traditional story ends. Her straightforward, often gleefully glib narrative breathes fresh life into the tale." Ages 10-14. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-Listeners will forget that they are hearing an updated rendition of Cinderella once Ella tells her tale. An independent and resourceful young woman, Ella sews her own gown, finds a glass blower to form a pair of slippers, and makes her way to the ball. Enchanted by her beauty, Prince Charming claims her as his betrothed and suddenly Ella is surrounded by tutors and chaperones and critical counsel. Margaret Peterson Haddix's story (S&S, 1999) lends itself well to audio. Alyssa Bresnahan's narration captures the essence of the intelligent and strong willed heroine. Slight voice variations differentiate the characters, and Bresnahan handles the changes in dialogue flawlessly. At times, Ella is the stereotypical feminist who rants about the inequities between men and women or royalty and peasantry. Sometimes she is a sensitive and caring peasant girl who has found herself a victim of her own desires. Jed, a tutor who becomes her confident, and Mary, a sympathetic servant girl, are two of the best developed characters. The stepmother relationship is curious and over analyzed. The success of this tale lies in the plot twists and the adventure involving Ella's imprisonment and escape. Listeners will be surprised to find out who finally marries Prince Charming. Teachers might use this as an example of a "fractured fairy tale," but most students will enjoy the story on its own merit.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.