Cover image for Just Ella
Just Ella
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Maine : Thorndike Press , 2000.

Physical Description:
231 pages (large print) ; 23 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.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.5 6.0 34884.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Large Print Central Closed Stacks

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This retelling of a beloved fairy tale finds 15-year-old Ella discovering that accepting the Prince's proposal ensnares her in a suffocating tangle of palace rules and royal etiquette.

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

Haddix (Running Out of Time) puts a feminist spin on the Cinderella story, beginning her tongue-in-cheek novel where the traditional story ends. Ella Brown plans to live happily ever after when Prince Charming whisks her from her evil step-family. But when she arrives at the castle, she discovers that the prince is a dull dud, needlepoint is now her most strenuous activity and her ladies in waiting are abuzz with a concocted tale involving Ella, a fairy godmother and a pumpkin (in fact her own resourcefulness got Ella to the ball). When she refuses to marry "Charm," as she calls him, she is thrown in the dungeon to be held there until the wedding day. Making matters worse, Jed, her one kindred spirit, unaware of her imprisonment, leaves to start a refugee camp for victims of the castle's war with a neighboring kingdom. But luckily Ella is not a girl who needs magic or a man to save her. Haddix weaves in elements of fairy tale, with colorful characters such as Lord Reston, Ella's portly, pompous religious teacher; Quog, the ogre-ish jailer; and, of course, the cruel-to-the-core Step Evils. But Ella's modern sensibility seems jarring against a chivalric backdrop (e.g., "Don't that beat all?" Ella says, imitating a servant). Still, her straightforward, often gleefully glib narrative breathes fresh life into the tale. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-9-This imaginative retelling and continuation of "Cinderella" opens two weeks after the ball. Ella Brown, now known as Princess Cynthiana Eleanora, reveals that neither fairy godmother nor magic helped her escape from her stepmother and the Step-Evils; rather, she relied on her own determination, intelligence, and sharp wits to attend the ball. Now, however, ensconced in the palace to learn royal etiquette and protocol, Ella's dream has become a nightmare. She realizes that Charm, although very handsome, is shallow and boring. When Ella attempts to break their engagement, the so-called Charmings throw her into the dungeon. Her spirit triumphs again, as she digs her way out via the latrine, and escapes to help in refugee camps being set up by Jed, a young man she met at the castle. Just Ella touches on many contemporary themes, including the components of love and happiness, the need for shared values in a relationship, the unimportance of physical appearance, and how young girls are manipulated by society's images of beauty. Reminiscent of Gail Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997), and of other retold fairy tales including Donna Jo Napoli's Zel (Dutton, 1996) and Robin McKinley's Beauty (HarperCollins, 1978), Just Ella has a certain charm and appeal. Written for a somewhat older audience than Ella Enchanted in terms of vocabulary and subjects touched upon, this title can be recommended for fans of that book who are now a couple of years older and the perfect age to enjoy this new take on a strong heroine.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.