by Donnelly, Jennifer

When the Marquis de la Chance offers Isabelle, one of Cinderella's stepsisters, a choice and an opportunity to change her fate, she has the possibility of redemption and a chance to find her true self.

<div> Jennifer Donnelly is the author of <i>A Northern Light</i>, which was awarded a Printz Honor and a Carnegie Medal;<i>Revolution</i> (named a Best Book by Amazon, <i>Kirkus Reviews</i>, <i>School Library Journal</i>, and the Chicago Public Library, and nominated for a Carnegie Medal); the Deep Blue series; and many other books for young readers, including <i>Lost in a Book</i>, which spent more than 20 weeks on the <i>New York Times</i> bestseller list. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley. </div>

*Starred Review* I have known battle-hardened soldiers who could not do what you did, the grand vizier tells Isabelle de la Paumé after, on her mother's behest, she cuts off her toes so she can fit her foot into a glass slipper and win a prince's hand in marriage. He doesn't mean it as a compliment: She is unnatural. Unhinged. Dangerous. In the end, it is Isabelle's beautiful stepsister, Ella, who marries the prince, and Isabelle's remaining family is shunned. Ugly and disfigured Isabelle's destiny seems mapped and set. But elsewhere, Fate and Chance are at odds. Fate, a wily crone, and Chance, a mischievous young man, have wagered on Isabelle de la Paumé. Chance believes she can alter her sad future; Fate thinks it's better that she doesn't. When Isabelle is tasked with finding the pieces of her heart, she holds in her hands not only her own destiny but also the fates of many. Printz Honor Book author Donnelly offers up a stunningly focused story that rips into the heart of a familiar fairy tale. The gorgeous prose and the fairy tale themes have obvious appeal, but the real strengths here are the depth of character across the board; the examination of the cost of beauty in a world that reveres it; and Isabelle herself, a shattered but not unredeemable girl with a warrior's heart. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Donnelly's books are at the sweet spot-best-selling award winners-and as she tackles the always-popular Cinderella story, she'll have no trouble finding an audience. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

An ugly stepsister gets her own story in this twist on "Cinderella." The beautiful and kindhearted Ella's foot fits perfectly into the prince's glass slipper, leaving her stepsisters, Isabelle and Octavia de la Paumé, with their cruel mother, ostracized in a village that has branded them as cruel after trying to deny Ella her chance at happily-ever-after. But cruelty often masks a broken heart. Eighteenth-century France is no place for bold girls like Isabelle, who is inspired by great warriors, or for unabashedly brilliant girls like Octavia, who admires great mathematicians and scientists. Isabelle is an unwitting pawn in a wager between Chance and Fate to stop a vicious warlord who is cutting a murderous swath through France, but a fairy queen makes her a tantalizing offer. Donnelly's (Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, 2017, etc.) gorgeous prose doesn't shy away from the visceral: In the horrifying opening scene, which mirrors the Brothers Grimm original, Isabelle cuts off her own toes and Octavia slices off her heel to fit into the glass slipper, and the final battle scene is a corker. Isabelle's emotional and triumphant journey of self-realization proves that beauty can be found in so much more than just a pretty face. Chance has dark skin and black hair; other main characters default to white. A breathlessly exciting and utterly satisfying fairy tale. (Fantasy. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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