Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bound” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  4,607 Ratings  ·  502 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 ...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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

It’s not even February and I’m already eight reviews behind for the year. There’s not gonna be a whole lotta thought thrown in to this one. So basically, it’ll be just like all of my other reviews.

Bound was another tale that fell under the criteria for the library challenge “Classics Re-Mixed.” The spin this go ‘round was on the story of Cinderella. Xing Xing was once a cherished first daughter, but since the death of both of her pare
Lacey Louwagie
It's been so many years since I've read anything by Donna Jo Napoli -- I think more than a decade -- so I was pleased to find that she still "held up" after all this time, especially since I stopped reading her because I seem to have OD'd and found her books not "doing it" for me the same way they used to.

It's clear from Napoli's retellings that she has the utmost respect for her source material, and I admire that. She doesn't try too hard to find a "gimmick" or "twist" to make her retellings se
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
Apr 30, 2008 Lily rated it did not like it
Shelves: finished
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

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
This is a book that retells the Chinese version of the Cinderella story--which appeared centuries before the European one--with unerring faithfulness, the only major change being that the setting is the Ming Dynasty, not Qin or Han.

By the Ming, foot-binding was already in widespread practice, and Napoli's graceful prose does a good job of describing its effects without spilling into horror. Toes are cut off, blood and pus is a result of long-term wrapping/crushing of the foot, women are left una
Erin Howard
Jan 23, 2013 Erin Howard rated it liked it
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
Mar 29, 2016 Lexie rated it really liked it
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
Jul 12, 2011 Terry rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Erin Cataldi
Aug 26, 2016 Erin Cataldi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, pizza-and-pages
A fantastic rendition of the classic Cinderella tale. Years ago I took a class on fairy tales and we explored how many different cultures all across the globe have very similar stories and traditions, one of the most common is Cinderella. Last month we read Cinder which is a futuristic cyborg rendition of the Cinderella trope and this book, Bound, is a twentieth century Chinese retelling. Xing Xing lives in a cave with her stepmother and her stepsister Wei Ping and due to her feet being unbound ...more
Jul 11, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lucy Lawrenson
A quirky and original take on the classic Cinderella story, returning to the Chinese origins of this particular tale. This is certainly not the most gripping book I've ever read, but it is sweet and sad and perfectly lovely.
Cat Conner
Apr 26, 2010 Cat Conner rated it liked it
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
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
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Aug 31, 2012 Roxanne Hsu Feldman rated it liked it
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
Jun 10, 2010 Addie rated it liked it
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
Jul 14, 2010 Izzy rated it liked it
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
Jamie Lau
Jun 03, 2016 Jamie Lau rated it really liked it
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli is a one of a kind historical fiction that takes you on both an adventurous and emotional journey. It begins with a young girl named Xing Xing, who is right around 14 years old and lives during the time of the Manchu Dynasty in China. Both her mother and her father have died, leaving her in the care of her Stepmother and the company of her step sister Wei Ping. Not only does Stepmother treat Xing XIng more like a slave than a daughter, she also has selfish and unethical ...more
Dec 08, 2010 Chris rated it liked it
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
Jan 01, 2009 Jodi rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young adult women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2010 Dana rated it liked it
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
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
Yang-Ha Kim
Dec 22, 2012 Yang-Ha Kim rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 13, 2011 Asenath rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2015 Camille rated it liked it
Another enjoyable fairy tale retelling by Napoli. This is a Cinderella story set in China. Xing Xing lives with her step mother and half sister, unloved, unappreciated and doing all the chores. But she doesn't resent her life and her near constant positivity made her a likeable character. She was also quick to learn.

The saddest part of the book was predictable, but I don't mind. The ending was as well, but that's par for the course when you're reading a retelling of a tale you've heard a zillio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A retelling of the original Cinderella tale (as in, the one from China), where tiny feet are beautiful and the gown is a kingfisher cloak.

Xing Xing has spunk and plenty of opportunities to sabotage others, but she never does that - just relies on her entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit instead.

It seems well-researched, and it's held up to several rounds of comfort rereading. Sometimes I just want something familiar.
Apr 01, 2013 Pragya rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 19, 2008 Judith rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrensfiction
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.
Jun 27, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
LOVED this poetic Cinderella retelling set in ancient China. Beautifully written, really well-rounded characters, and a satisfyingly realistic ending (no spoilers, but there's more to it than just a prince sweeping her off her feet, hurrah). The foot-binding tradition makes an interesting extra layer to the tiny-shoe element of the story. This is one of my favorite DJN retellings.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Into the Forest: Bound Spoilers 21 18 Jul 06, 2015 12:20PM  
Into the Forest: Bound Spolier Free 10 12 May 19, 2015 08:52AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correct Page Numbering for "Bound" 4 55 Feb 04, 2014 10:07PM  
6DRAKE: 2 book project 1 5 Nov 15, 2013 03:35PM  
  • The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale
  • The Nightingale
  • Fitcher's Brides
  • The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of The Ballad of Mulan (Once Upon a Time, #15)
  • Into the Wild (Into the Wild, #1)
  • White as Snow
  • Shiva's Fire
  • Straw Into Gold
  • The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin (Once Upon a Time, #13)
  • Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella
  • Snow in Summer
  • Keeping Corner
  • The Rumpelstiltskin Problem
  • Ties That Bind, Ties That Break
  • Toads and Diamonds
  • Berserk, Vol. 27
  • Singing Songs
  • The Rose Bride: A Retelling of The White Bride and the Black Bride (Once Upon a Time, #12)
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 about Donna Jo Napoli...

Share This Book

“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.” 28 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.” 9 likes
More quotes…