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Just Ella (The Palace Chronicles #1)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  28,354 ratings  ·  1,283 reviews
It's a familiar story: In spite of the obstacles put in her way by her wicked stepmother, Ella goes to the ball, sweeps Prince Charming off his feet, and is chosen to be his bride. Now she's comfortably ensconced in the palace, awaiting marriage to the man of her dreams. It's happily ever after time, right? Wrong! Life for Ella has become an endless round of lessons and re ...more
Library Binding, 218 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Turtleback Books (first published August 28th 1999)
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Jasmin I don't think so. Wouldn't want to ruin your childhood through this. But if you can handle reality, this is a good one
Becky Bladine I've read this years ago and let a young girl read it 2 years ago. I think it's a good book to read. It can get a little icky at times. Like when Ella…moreI've read this years ago and let a young girl read it 2 years ago. I think it's a good book to read. It can get a little icky at times. Like when Ella talks about the privy and all. But other then that it's fairly clean. Might be some cussing. I hope this answers your question?(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Reads like a twelve year old wrote it. Inconsistent, whiny, and altogether unlikeable main character.
Taylor Knight

When I read the synopsis, I thought this book sounded kind of like The Princess Diaries, which I love, so I was pretty excited to read Just Ella. Sadly, it became pretty clear after the first few pages that this book wasn't what I was hoping it would be.

This book had one of the most annoying main characters that I've ever read. She was whiny and dumb. As the reader I picked up on things way quicker than Ella did and I had to wait pages for her to catch up.

The other characters were so poorly writ
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2014 Cara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cara by: Valerie
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tales
Don't let the cover mislead you. This book is not set in modern times. What I liked so much about the book was that Ella had a lot more "umph" to her than the other Cinderellas I've encountered in other books.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book started out in the middle of the traditional Cinderella story. Ella is engaged to the prince. However, she soon finds out that her "fairytale ending" may not be what she really wants.
At first I tried to like this book. But it was so obvious with the character cliche. I quote a review on amazon:

"Even the "I am woman, hear me roar" attitude might have been tolerable if the other characters weren't so obvious! Charming, being a handsome member of the upper-class, is an airhead. Jed, bein
Oct 12, 2007 Debbie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ella enchanted lovers; bella at mignight
Shelves: teen
Like it, but wasn't blown away. Would recommend to 7th grade and up... dies talk about periods, sex, death. In Just Ella, Margaret Peterson Haddix puts a spin on the traditional tale of the glass slippers. In her version, Ella (sans "Cinder") finds her own way to the ball (there was no fairy godmother, despite the rumors) and wins the heart of the prince. But now she is finding that life at the palace as Prince Charming's betrothed is not as great as she thought it was going to be. In fact, it's ...more
I can't help comparing this book to Ella Enchanted. Both are YA retellings of the Cinderella story. While I prefer Gail Levine Carson's version, I have to appreciate Margaret Peterson Haddix's injection of reality into the traditional fairy tale. No magic, no fairy godmothers, no magic pumpkins. Rather, this is the story of Ella who got to the ball under her own perseverance, and then gets herself out of the palace the same way. It was enjoyable and a good read for all ages. However, I would hav ...more
Sierra Abrams
5th read update:
GUYS THIS BOOOOK. It resonates so well. As a child and as an adult. Well done, Haddix!!! Now I'm off to find my Jed....

This book is an all-time favorite. I’ve read it four times, and each time it gets better and better. I love retellings of fairytales – especially when the author completely renovates the story, and the characters. Instead of being the usual Happily Ever After, this book comes down to a Happily NEVER After.

The story doesn’t begin at the “beginning”. The story open
Duffy Pratt
This book purports to take place after the close of the fairy tale, but it doesn't. At the end of the fairy tale, at least the Grimm version, Cinderella gets married, and at the wedding a pair of birds pluck out the eyes of her stepsisters, leaving them blind. And don't forget that one of the had already chopped off her toes, and the other had chopped off a heel.

Here, the book takes up two weeks after the Prince has retrieved Ella. She's ensconced in the castle and in training for her upcoming w
Jul 28, 2008 Jeness rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeness by: Me
Actually, I'd give it a four and three quarters, if it's possible.

Well, to start, this is the very first M. Haddix novel I've ever read, and already I know she is one of the best writers in the world. Not her writing, which isn't as impressive as some writers; not her characters, who are not diverse; not her plot, which is quite predictable; but the way she expressed her opinions about some world-issue through her stories.

Her novels are gripping from the first page. I finished the novel in les
Emma Anderson
Just Ella by Margret Haddix is a great book that takes place in the time of kings and queens. It is like the cinderella story but, after the part where the prince asks her to marry him and shes says yes it has a little twist. Ella was just an ordinary girl ,but her life changed when she went to the ball (of course without her step mother or step sisters knowing) danced with the prince all night raced out ay midnight left her shoe and whenthe prince found and asked her to marry him. Ella thinks t ...more
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Okay, I have to be honest. . .the only thing great in this book was the plot. . .it stops there. Don't get me wrong, I hate writing bad reviews. That's why my lowest rating is going to be a 'D'. No author deserves an 'F'.

Haddix's writing was the most boring I've read. It was dull and unexciting. I was snoring by the time I got to page 3. . . literally. I've looked at what others thought about this book and surprisingly, Just Ella elicited almost-perfect reviews. Maybe it's just me then.

Haddix ju
♥iDevourBooks♥ ☆Sonic~Obsessed☆
This is so not your typical Cinderella story. It begins after Ella has ended up in the Palace and is known as Princess Eleanora.
Ella has a hard time with her life as princess. For one thing, she can't do any work or else she'll get a scolding from Madame Bisset. She must be ladylike. She cannot get into matters that don't concern her, such as if someone is hurt she must not get into the matter because it is too "gruesome for a lady". It isn't too far from how her stepmother, Lucille Brown, treat
Such a fun book, but it felt more like a beginning to a novel than a novel. Just when I thought the excitement was starting, the book ended. I would've appreciated it if it was longer, but there are sequels, after all, so I am DEFINITELY reading the rest of the trilogy!

(Also, Margaret, thank you for creating Ella. She is awesome.)
2.5 stars

Having read and very much enjoyed Haddix's Shadow Children series when I was younger, when Just Ella was selected as our next book club pick, I was all for it! I mean, my history with the author aside, I very much enjoy fairy tale retellings anyway and the newly redesigned cover took my breath away. But, in the end, I am a bit disappointed in this book.

Just Ella has all the ingredients to be a refreshing, feminist take on Cinderella, but very little heart. There's no one specific compla
Luseane Haunga
After Ella's father dies, she's stuck with her evil stepmother and two stepsisters. Instead of just being another family member, she becomes their slave for two years and she wonders if she''' have to stay like that forever. Finally one day a message from the palace arrives with a message of a ball for the prince and that all young women must attend. She isn't allowed to go, but sneaks out anyways. While at the ball she meets the prince and they are to be engaged. While living in the palace wai ...more
Danylle DuPris
"Just Ella" by Margaret Peterson Haddix is an okay book. Ella just became the princess. Being new to the whole thing, she doesn't really know how to be a princess. She comes from a middle class family, and lives in a small house with her two step sister and step mother. Learning to do what a "proper princess" does is harder than Ella thought. She can't do anything she use to and everything has to be done by a servant. If Ella were to do anything on her own, she would get into trouble. While in c ...more
Emily Michelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ostensibly and really, unless you think about it, Just Ella is a re-telling of the Cinderella. However, as one of my fellow seminar participants pointed out, when a tale has done away with everything that has to do with fairies and all other things that make up a fairy tale (for reference purposes, consult Propp's Fairy Tale morphology) does it still remain a fairy tale? Or has it somehow transcended mediums to become just a tale. Just Ella.

We read this after we read Ella Enchanted so there were
From almost the very first page it's obvious that Ella doesn't fit in at the palace. She tries to save a man's life and what response does she get? Her instructor is horrified beyond belief and almost faints. Ella dips her bland, practically tasteless bread in soup, and everyone stares at her like she's a freak. "Only peasants soak their bread in soup" Madame Bisset hisses at her with a look of scorn. The castle is dark and confining, and Ella isn't allowed to even set foot outside. Prince charm ...more
Hadn't read anything by Haddix, but she's pretty popular among our students. This one surprised me, mostly because of the adult themes, and by that I don't mean sex, drugs, etc. Basically it's not really the "coming of age" type story, but coming to grips with being a mature, responsible adult. I originally thought it was one of those girl power, rah rah things (not a bad thing either, necessarily), but the heroine's realizations were surprising for a YA novel, like the fact that love doesn't me ...more
Anne Zemba
Traditional Literature

Just Ella is a twist on the traditional fairy tale Cinderella. Ella Brown lives with her “evil” step mother and step sisters. She is made to be their servant. There is a royal ball. Ella is announced as Cinderella by mistake. Ella moves into the palace. Then one day she realizes she doesn’t love Prince Charming. She finds out it is harder to get out of the palace then it was to get in. Where will she go? Will she be able to find her friend Jed?

The setting for Just
You must never, ever hesitate to disturb a servant. That's what they're there for. They exist solely to serve us.

Wise words eh? This is the twisted world of Ms. Haddix's Cinderella.

The idea of Cinderella NOT ending up with the Prince sort of depressed me. But the story was pretty good and realistic.
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
This book takes off where the fairy tale of Cinderella leaves off.

Ella is now betrothed to Prince Charming. She is learning that it's hard to fit in with palace society, obey ALL of the many rules, and wishes that she could spend more time with her handsome Prince. She is in fact, learning that her life is not a fairy tale.

She begins to understand that this may not be the life that she wants to live, that she does not love Prince Charming, and that the life of a Princess is very boring.

Oh, and t
Anne Osterlund
Ella is stuck. As in stuck in the latest fashions. In the palace. Surrounded by royal advisers trying to teach her all the rules she will be strangled by for rest of her life, once she marries Prince Charming.

At least there’s Mary, the young servant girl who tells Ella the truth.

And Jedd, the passionate young man who’s been instructed to teach her about religion but would much prefer running a refugee camp for the victims of the Sualan War.

So maybe the palace would be OK if Ella ever had a momen
What happens after the glass slipper fits and Cinderella is whisked away to Prince Charming's palace? In this story, "happily ever after" doesn't seem to be in the cards. Ella, having spent so much time as a servant, is having trouble adjusting to the tight-laced bureaucracy of palace life. Worse, her regular meetings with Prince Charming are stilted and awkward, with no one showing any interest in her beyond her beauty. I liked this one. I liked Ella's determination and practicality. I liked th ...more
OK, I supposed the independent princess-to-be is a good role model for girls, but I just didn't get into this book. It seemed a little too negative and stereotypical--if the prince isn't perfect, then he must be a blithering idiot and life is totally restrictive.

I realize getting girls to think about unrealistic fairy tale endings is a good idea, but this one went so far the the other side of unreal that I found it hard to swallow. Why couldn't the prince just have been boring instead of stupid?
Alyssa Morres
Traditional Literature

Just Ella is a Cinderella story with a twist that the fairy tale didn't tell us. In this book Cinders-Ella was raised by her evil stepmother, but she didn't get to the ball by a fairy god mother or magic, she found out how to make it there herself. The love story that happens with the prince also doesn't happen in this story, in the end she has to dig her way out of the dungeon to get out of the situation she's in. This is a great story that shows a girls power
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Amazing Heroines ...: Just Ella 1 15 Apr 01, 2012 05:38AM  
  • Goose Chase
  • The Two Princesses of Bamarre
  • Before Midnight: A Retelling of "Cinderella" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)
  • The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)
  • The Rumpelstiltskin Problem
  • Shadow Spinner
  • Princess of the Silver Woods (Princess, #3)
  • Spinners
  • The Frog Princess (Tales of the Frog Princess, #1)
  • Violet Eyes (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)
  • The Swan Maiden
  • Princess of the Wild Swans
  • Princess Ben
  • Bella at Midnight
Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio. She graduated from Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a community college instructor and freelance writer in Danvil ...more
More about Margaret Peterson Haddix...

Other Books in the Series

The Palace Chronicles (3 books)
  • Palace of Mirrors (The Palace Chronicles, #2)
  • Palace of Lies (The Palace Chronicles, #3)

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“...even the most independent people sometimes needed help. And if I'd learned nothing else from my life thus far, it was that you don't always end up where you think you're going.” 161 likes
“I snorted "oh, beauty. What's that good for?"
Mary stared, her eyes round.

"It won you the prince, did it not?"

I snorted again, I prefer to think that he was captivated by my charming personality." I giggled to let Mary know I was trying to make fun of myself.”
More quotes…