Every now and then you read a book that sticks with you for life. One of those times, for me, was in 1999. I was in fourth grade, and I always loved reading. But that summer, my grandmother had passed away, and it was in that autumn that I learned to read as a form of escapism. One of the books that helped me escape was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The other, a book I have gone back and reread many times, is Ella Enchanted. I recently reread it and loved it even more on what had to be at least my twentieth dive in. If you love middle grade/YA (it borders between the two), fractured fairy tales, fantasy, and/or romance, this book is for you.

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The summary, from Amazon:

This beloved Newbery Honor-winning story about a feisty heroine is sure to enchant readers new and old.

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.

Buy Ella Enchanted here!

When people ask me my favorite book, I need to stop naming adult books. Because this is 100% it. On each reread, I discover something new about it, and since this was my first read in years, there was a ton I uncovered this time. The characters are all so memorable, and the author’s command of language is spectacular. While it’s meant for third to seventh grade, there are some sentences in this one I’ll never forget, that I remember whenever I hear certain words. At 240 pages, this is a quick read, one I’ve achieved in a day or two in the past. If you couldn’t tell from my incessant gushing, I rate it 5 stars.

Oh, and before you even think about it – don’t bother with the movie. Not even the amazing cast can save it from the absolutely bonkers added details. I think if you saw it without ever reading the book, you might think it was a fun kids’ movie/rom-com, but it’s complete crap compared to the book. It cuts out all of the best parts and adds in random stuff, taking the story from whimsical to weird.

Ella Enchanted (Ella Enchanted #1)Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So here’s the deal: I’m going to be honest from now on. When people ask me my favorite book, I won’t name this adult novel or that classic. Yes, I love those too. But since I was nine, Ella Enchanted has been my favorite.

This is a middle grade read, and even as an adult it has it all: beautiful prose, a badass heroine, a feminist plot, whimsical magic, memorable secondary characters, amazing world-building, and a sumptuous romance. Char is my ideal man to this day, about twenty years since my first of many reads. And Ella is still one of the most relatable heroines.

While this is a book for kids in late elementary/middle school, the language is stunning. I learned so many words on my first read in 1999: desolate, corrosive, chicanery… The author introduces these SAT words so seamlessly.

If you like middle grade, fantasy, fractured fairytales, and/or romance, you need to read this book.

Favorite quotes:

Why did he think it was fine to talk about me as though I were portrait instead of a maiden?

If I thought of a joke, I wanted to try it on him. If I had a serious idea, I wanted his opinion.

I trust you to find the good in me, but the bad I must be sure you don’t overlook.

I hadn’t loved him as long, perhaps, but now I loved him equally well, or better. I loved his laugh, his handwriting, his steady gaze, his honorableness, his freckles, his appreciation of my jokes, his hands, his determination that I should know the worst of him. And, most of all, shameful though it might be, I loved his love for me.

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P. S. Ella Enchanted is free to read with Kindle Unlimited. Check out Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans to score this and other great reads for free. You can thank me later.


Interested? Buy Ella Enchanted.
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