Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
What it's about: This retelling of the Cinderella story has as its protagonist Ella, a young girl who has been cursed since birth with obedience. Thanks to a fairy's "gift", Ella must obey any direct command given to her. If that's not bad enough, her step-sister finds out about this and uses it to make Ella's life miserable. Between her step-sister and the other dangers of her curse, Ella's pretty hard put to find her way to true love.
What I thought: Ella's curse is a novel twist on the story, adding extra complications and opportunities for character development. Details about the fantasy world the story takes place in are sprinkled throughout the story to give it a deeper sense of being set in a realistic world. Ella is a likable character, and her spunk propels the story. Definitely not a passive heroine. I have to be honest. This has always been one of my favorite books because of its simple charm. You already know the story, but the journey of reading this version is what makes it great. The language is rich but simple, and it's got a good amount of humor and romance and adventure. I don't think I can honestly call this my absolute favorite book anymore, but it will always have a special place in my heart.
Overall: A simply lovely story. Highly, highly recommended.