Inspired by the story of Cinderella, this original retelling of a classic fairy tale features a feisty and unforgettable heroine in place of her damsel-in-distress namesake. Gail Carson Levine’s Newbery Medal winner follows 15-year-old Ella of Frell as she struggles against a spell, placed on her at birth, that forces her to obey any command she’s given, no matter how cruel or dangerous. But it’s the daring ways in which Ella fights back against this “gift” of obedience—from playing tricks on her evil stepsisters to taming a pack of ogres eager to turn her into a meal—that make her a leading lady whose happily-ever-after you can’t help but root for. Carson Levine repackaged a foundational fantasy into a celebrated novel for young readers that features a girl who takes control of her own destiny in the face of great adversity. —Megan McCluskey

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