Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  3,690 ratings  ·  415 reviews
YOUNG XING XING IS BOUND.Bound to her father's second wife and daughter after Xing Xing's father has passed away. Bound to a life of servitude as a young girl in ancient China, where the life of a woman is valued less than that of livestock. Bound to be alone and unmarried, with no parents to arrange for a suitable husband. Dubbed "Lazy One" by her stepmother, Xing Xing sp...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Simon Pulse (first published August 1st 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bound, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bound

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
96th out of 1,481 books — 6,480 voters
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineBeastly by Alex FlinnPrincess Academy by Shannon HaleThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleFairest by Gail Carson Levine
YA Modern Retellings
31st out of 235 books — 481 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Bound is the story of fourteen-year-old Xing Xing, who lives with her evil stepmother and needy half-sister in a cave. Both of her parents are deceased and these two women are all the family she has left. Her half-sister, Wei-Ping, has bound feet and has high hopes for getting married. Her deceitful step-mom also wants Wei-Ping to get married to a decent man, and completely ignores the hopes and dreams of Xing Xing. In this retelling of a classic tale Xing Xing may be able to prove that she has...more
My high school girls love this book because it retells Cinderella in a different culture and time period, but it's cheesy and stereotyped at best. Most of the novel chronicles the girl's miserable life with her stepmother, and the Cinderella part doesn't really come into play until the very end.
The title itself serves as a metaphor for the bound life that the main character leads, which parallels the symbol of a girl's bound feet in ancient China.
This book does give more complex personalitie...more

This was the first thing I read by Napoli, and though it started strong and had a great sense of place, in some respects it was a letdown. Not completely, and I would still recommend it, but...
I'll just get right into it. I thought it had a very strong start. The Cinderella aspects were clear and the sense of place was beautiful. It was reinforced with the language, too, so that it didn't seem like a Western character and sensibilities dropped in an Eastern setting. Everything matched and fel...more
Erin Howard
Jan 23, 2013 Erin Howard rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Adult
Rating: 3.5

Bound is a coming of age story with a Cinderella twist. Most reviews I have seen have put the shoe before the story, but this was truly not about Cinderella at its core. It was about Xing Xing, a not-quite-girl but not-quite-woman being raised by her stepmother in Ming Dynasty China with her older half-sister. Her father and mother had passed away, leaving her at the mercy of the dominant female of the household who had little respect or care for the young Xing Xing.

During this time i...more
[originally reviewed on my blog the happily ever after... in February 2009.]

Bound is a stark, realistic retelling of the commonly known Cinderella type fairy tale. The setting of the story in ancient China, along with the historically accurate traditions of ancient Chinese culture help make this story incredibly realistic and offer the reader a stark look into the unfair expectations and treatment of women within the society. While the hardships faced by women during that time seem unjust and de...more
I freely admit my ignorance in Chinese history. What I do know is mostly gleened from Disney's Mulan, Katherine Patterson's novel (Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom) and that which my coworkers at my job taught me for the Chinese New Year. My knowledge of the Cinderella tale, and its incarnations, is vastly larger however, but I had never come upon the Chinese tales (which according to the Postscript are some of the oldest known).

I have mixed feelings for this book; on the one hand the story moves...more
This retelling of Cinderella is distinguished by Napoli's lyrical prose--her style is both descriptive and spare and the book almost feels like an extended poem. It's a joy to read, and easy to accomplish without stopping. At the same time, she doesn't sacrifice characterization--what's great about Bound is not only how developed the characters are, but also how complex their personalities and motivations are. For example, the stepmother is not completely evil; she is trapped in a difficult situ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another for YA Lit. class. Post from class is below.
I choose to read Bound by Donna Jo Napoli. This book is a retelling of the Cinderella story. This version of the story takes place in China, but the author notes that she made a few changes to the traditional Chinese story. Though the plot remains much the same, she differed in three areas: time period- it is in the Ming dynasty rather than the Qin or Han; location- takes place in a northern rather than a southern province; and community- it is...more
Pretty cover! I'd like to see something incorporating the whole thing with being bound, but it's very nice regardless.

I had mixed feelings on this one. I'm generally not the biggest fan of books based on fairy tales, especially those that try to make them modern fairy tales. Although this one took place in the past, it was rather predictable. I understand that might be the point of basing a book on a fairy tale in the first place, but I didn't find any places whatsoever where there was a plot tw...more
Jan 01, 2009 Jodi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young adult women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cat Conner
Apr 26, 2010 Cat Conner rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fairy tale fans.
Don't let the cover of this book fool you, for it did me. One might think that this is a novel about foot binding in China. While foot binding is an element of the novel, the word "bound" comes to take on several meanings.
"Bound" centers around Xing Xing. Xing Xing has recently experienced the death of her father and her mother died when she was seven. Xing Xing is now fourteen and lives with her stepmother and half-sister in a cave home in Ming China. Xing Xing had a close relationship with her...more
Chris Murray
Napoli, Donna Jo. Bound (2004)
Boundis a novel based on a Chinese version of the Cinderella story. It is the story of Xing Xing, a young girl living with her stepmother and half-sister in ancient China. Since her father’s death, she has become the household slave. As her stepmother binds her daughter’s feet in hopes of a marriage prospect , Xing Xingrealizes that she is bound to a life of servitude and neglect with no possibilities of marriage and a life ofher own. I have mixed feeling about this...more
Text Summary
Xing Xing, a teenage girl living during the Ming Dynasty, is bound...
to a life of servitude and loneliness now that her father and mother have passed on. She is left in the “care” of her stepmother, who shows no care for Xing Xing at all. Xing Xing is expected to complete all chores around the cave, including cooking and cleaning, and ironically Stepmother still refers to Xing Xing as “Lazy One.” All of the care and attention is given to Xing Xing’s stepsister, Wei Ping, who is bein...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Taylor Rector for

Xing Xing is a young woman who is treated like the classic lower class stepchild in Donna Jo Napoli's BOUND.

Her mother died when she was very young and her father then remarried. The woman that takes care of her (if you want to call it that) is her father's new wife. Xing Xing has a stepsister who has bound feet and can't walk, so she is treated by her stepmother as though she were a maid.

The story is told in the classic tale of Cinderella, with th...more
This story is an ancient Chinese re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Xing Xing is bound to her dead father's second wife and her daughter Wei Ping. It is a life of servitude and tied by bonds of family and culture. Girls in this position can expect nothing and are treated little more than slaves.

Wei Ping's feet were bound immediately after her father's death and are extremely painful. Her father did not agree with this practice but her mother wants to negotiate a good marriage for her and see...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Reading this retelling of the “Chinese Cinderella” story was a painful experience for me. I could not even tell if it is well told, as stories go, because I was so distracted by all the inaccuracies in Napoli’s portrayal of Chinese cultures, customs, characters, and philosophies.Here are some examples of my understanding that does not coincide with Napoli’s text. Granted, I need to do more research and see if maybe my understanding is not universally correct.. A second wife of a man is not the “...more
Yang-Ha Kim
Very interesting historical fiction, mixing it with the tale of Cinderella. Though short, it is filled with facts of Ancient China and explains its story through the mind of a compassinate Chinese girl, including poems. It's one of my favorites.
Xing Xing, named "Stars" from her beloved dececsed mother, now serves her stepmother and her half sister after her father dies. Bound and in pain, her step sister Wei Pang lives a life only of being served and only with the goal of being married to a rich...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gillian Strothenke
The book Bound is a story that relates to a Cinderella tale. The main character is a young woman named Xing Xing, and she was bound to her father's daughter and second wife after Xing Xing's father passed away. Xing Xing was living a life of a slave to her stepmother and sister, and was destined to live a life of an unmarried woman. The author of this book really went back into Chinese history to when woman were treated as if they were livestock, and that woman needed to be petit and fit for mar...more
I really liked this retelling, but the reason I give it four stars instead of five is not because of the writing, but rather because the Cinderella part of the story doesn't come into the plot until literally 20 pages from the end of the book. I wish Napoli had gotten rid of the unnecessary chapters with that doctor guy and concentrated more on the climax. I mean they were interesting and I would have been okay with it had the doctor somehow come back into the story or if the book had been longe...more
I remember reading this book when I was in the sixth grade. Now, going back into it and reading it all over again I seen it way less brutal than I thought it was at thirteen. There is some scenes of unflinching gore involving the harming of an animal which might make some with a sensitive heart like myself feel sick to their stomach. Although, in the book's defense they are living in dire and older times so their actions towards other animals and people are often less planned out and empathetic....more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It takes quite a bit to make me squirm when it comes to horrific things. I can handle lots of horror movies. Ghosts, ghouls, slasher movies, none of that really gets to me. There are, however, a few things that I just can't handle. One is parasites. The other is really grotesque body horror in which the body is rotting away, or having mutilations done to it. So one can imagine that the process of foot binding just squicks me out. Really, really badly. BOUND, as the name so implies, has a lot to...more
This book is about a girl in China named Xing Xing. She lives in a cave in a village. She is treated like a slave girl. This story is a basic Cinderella story, but with more of a Chinese touch to it. I thought the whole first half of the book dragged for a long time with useless information. But it all pulled together in the end to create a really cool cinderella twist.
I enjoyed the way the author retold Cinderella through Chinese history. The author's choice of words were interesting as they made you feel like you were there during that point in time. The poetry was also beautiful. However, I felt that Xing Xing gained her confidence and new fierceness a little too quickly. I felt that she should have built it up slowly throughout the book since she has to learn to be more independent now that her parents are gone and is under the care of her strict stepmothe...more
Another fairy tale retelling from Napoli. This one takes the earliest known version of Cinderella (from ancient China) and explores gender roles in the "romance" tale in context of the YA novel's interest in the journey of the protagonist to agency. One of the main texts I looked at for my MA thesis.
Cinderella retold. This would be better for 7th SS as far as lexile goes.

How it ties in with the standards:

Ming China
Geography (Han River, Yangzi River)
Foot binding
Chinese inventions
Worship of ancestors
References to Buddhism
Cathryn Betz
A Cinderella story set in Northern China during the Ming Dynasty. Well told, kept my attention. Another good read from Donna Jo Napoli, she has taken a well known story and made it new. Xing Xing (shing shing) lives with her stepmother and half sister in a cave near their village. Ignored or sentenced to all of the chores in her home, she still loves her stepmother and half sister. This new twist on the story brings up topics of abuse without being graphic, the question of how far a mother will...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Correct Page Numbering for "Bound" 4 54 Feb 05, 2014 07:07AM  
6DRAKE: 2 book project 1 4 Nov 16, 2013 12:35AM  
  • The Nightingale
  • The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale
  • Straw Into Gold
  • Shiva's Fire
  • The Persian Cinderella
  • Out of the Wild (Into the Wild, #2)
  • Fitcher's Brides
  • The Rumpelstiltskin Problem
  • Winter's Child (Once Upon A Time Fairytales)
  • White as Snow
  • Bella at Midnight
  • The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)
  • Keeping Corner
  • Toads and Diamonds
  • Red Rider's Hood (Dark Fusion, #2)
  • A True Princess
  • Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
  • Spirited (Once Upon A Time Fairytales)
From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to...more
More about Donna Jo Napoli...
Zel Beast Sirena Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale Spinners

Share This Book

4 trivia questions
1 quiz
More quizzes & trivia...
“Secrets could never be rushed. They had to come of their own accord, on their own schedule. That way ,when they came , the offered themselves as a gift.” 21 likes
“If you fall into water, you may still be saved. But if you fall down in literary matters, there is no life left for you.” 7 likes
More quotes…