Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted

3.97 (356,841 ratings by Goodreads)
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That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift. When I cried inconsolably through my first hour of life, my tears were her inspiration. Shaking her head sympathetically at Mother, the fairy touched my nose. "My gift is obedience. Ella will always be obedient. Now stop crying child."
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 129.54 x 190.5 x 17.78mm | 181.44g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0064407055
  • 9780064407052
  • 11,260

Back cover copy

At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy's gift--the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it's to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.
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Review Text

"As finely designed as a tapestry, with a heroine so spirited that she wins readers' hearts." ALA Booklist (starred review)
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Review quote

"A thoroughly enchanting novel that deepens and enriches the original tale."--School Library Journal (starred review)
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About Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
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Rating details

356,841 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 37% (133,153)
4 32% (114,089)
3 23% (82,247)
2 6% (20,522)
1 2% (6,830)

Our customer reviews

Quite literally, a 'charming' book. Fantasy is not my usual genre, but this book did seem so sweet. I'm happy to have read it now, but there are some things that disappointed me. Since birth, Ella was cursed by a fairy to always be obedient. Although it is good for growing children to obey their elders, a curse of obedience can be one's downfall. It definitely made an interesting plot to see how Ella would deal with following every command (even from her friends), and especially the commands that people didn't really mean for her to do, yet she had to struggle through anyways. I rather think that some parents may not like the attitude that Ella takes on; because she knows that she is cursed to obey every command, she literally wills herself not to obey, even for trivial tasks. I didn't exactly like the way that Ella balked at the tiny things, but I suppose that her challenging spirit had to be revealed somehow. Another point that disappointed me in the story is the twist that the author adds at the end. Basically, it is an exact retelling of the Cinderella story. I was quite dumbfounded that she didn't omit one detail, and copied the Cinderella story so precisely. I realize that the author was tying the two plots together, but it could have been done more discreetly with tact. Ella has good wits, a noble heart, and much creativity. Several times throughout the story she reminded me of the character Emily Byrd Starr from the 'Emily' novels, by L.M. Montgomery. If you like 'Ella Enchanted', then you should try the 'Emily' series.show more
by Tarissa
Ella of Frell is fifteen years old and lives with her father, Sir Peter, and mother Lady Eleanor, their cook Mandy, and other servants in the kingdom of Kyrria, ruled over by King Jerrold and Queen Daria, who are the parents of Prince Charmont (Char). At her birth, the foolish fairy Lucinda gave Ella the gift of obedience, but it turns out to be a curse because she must automatically obey every order given to her regardless of what it is, whether hopping on one foot for a day or even chopping off her own head. After Lady Eleanor dies, Sir Peter marries the odious Dame Olga, who has two equally odious daughters, Hattie and Olive. Then her father promptly leaves on a business trip. In the meantime, Ella and Char have fallen in love, but Ella knows that she can't marry him while under the curse, so she goes on a quest, encountering ogres and giants, in order to break the spell. Will she succeed? Or will the Prince find another bride? Ella Enchanted, which was a Newbery honor book in 1998, is Levine's take on the traditional Cinderella story, giving her own explanation of how the heroine came to have a wicked stepmother and stepsisters, ended up becoming a servant, and is finally chosen by the Prince. One could see the book as making fun of the traditional vows of brides to "love, honor, and obey" their husbands. Or one could view it simply as showing that obedience doesn't, or shouldn't, necessarily reduce a person to mere chattel slavery. Each reader will have to decide that for himself. There are references to drinking wine, brandy, and ale. And, of course, whenever you have princely balls, you are going to have mention of dancing. In 2006, Levine went on to write Fairest, a retelling of the Snow White story, set in the same world as Ella Enchanted. The plot of Ella is presented in an interesting way, though it will probably appeal much more to little "princesses" rather than little "princes." It is easy to read, and I basically enjoyed it, but like several others, I thought the book really couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a hip "modern day fairy tale" or a traditional medieval-type story. It seems to bounce back and forth almost willy-nilly between the two moods. While it is not a bad book, I have to wonder why it was chosen for a Newbery Honor award. The reason is probably that, as one reviewer called it an "examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales," it presents "a spunky, intelligent female lead" that is quite in tune with the modern feminist ideal. A movie was made in 2004 that was very loosely based on the book, and some people expressed the opinion that the film was less disjointed and confusing than the novel, though it is quite different in many respects.show more
by Wayne S. Walker
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