Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Just Ella (The Palace Chronicles, #1)” as Want to Read:
Just Ella (The Palace Chronicles, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Just Ella

(The Palace Chronicles #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  33,251 ratings  ·  1,695 reviews
Being a princess isn't all that...

You've heard the fairy tale: a glass slipper, Prince Charming, happily ever after...

Welcome to reality: royal genealogy lessons, needlepoint, acting like "a proper lady," and—worst of all—a prince who is not the least bit interesting, and certainly not charming.

As soon-to-be princess Ella deals with her new-found status, she comes to rea
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Simon Pulse (first published August 28th 1999)
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 Just Ella, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jennifer Daniels She isn't queen yet, just engaged to Prince Charming. But the palace is oppressive in a different way, and she actually ends up losing some freedoms s…moreShe isn't queen yet, just engaged to Prince Charming. But the palace is oppressive in a different way, and she actually ends up losing some freedoms she had, like doing anything she is good at. She also realizes that the prince is really not so great. He's just a nice facade with no ability to make even the most trivial decisions. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,251 ratings  ·  1,695 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Just Ella (The Palace Chronicles, #1)
Cristina Monica
A feminist retelling of Cinderella, that could have used a more likable Cinderella and a more plausible plot, but that proved itself to be an entertaining read. Happy to see a fairy tale character that does NOT want a prince.
Mariah Roze
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all know the classical tale of Cinderella (or in this book Cinders-Ella), so I'm not going to restate it for you. This book takes place as an after-telling of what happens.

There was no "fairy godmother or magic. It was a fifteen-year-old girl in charge of her own future. She went to the ball not to meet her future husband but to get a break from the hard life she had. However rumors spread that she used magic because it is easier to believe than the prince falling in love with a commoner. "P
Merphy Napier
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll never get tired of rereading this book
Taylor Knight
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was ok

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
Dec 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Reads like a twelve year old wrote it. Inconsistent, whiny, and altogether unlikeable main character.
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
 Readaholic Jenn
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
A new twist to an old tale.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok

You can't call a book feminist if the MC regularly shames fat women.

Get your shit together.
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Duffy Pratt
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
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
Athena Archeron
"People would rather believe in fairy godmothers and... divine intervention, if you will- than to think that you took charge of your own destiny. "

Just Ella turns the classic Cinderella fairy-tale on its head. Taking place after the original tale has ended, the book follows Ella as she learns of her distaste for the palace and the life that comes with it. This story is that of girl figuring out who she is and what she wants to become, even when society expects her to be something complete differ
4 stars.

This was better than expected. It was quite humorous and a well done modern retelling of a sequel to the classic Cinderella. I liked that Ella stood up for what she believed in.
Oct 12, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Michelle
Mar 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
This story begins at the end of Cinderella's fairy tale, when Ella is engaged to marry Prince Charming. With the wedding only two months away, Ella is forced to learn restrictive palace protocol, sit through endless embroidery lessons, and learn the boring history of the royal family. Her meetings with the Prince are awkward and silent, and her only friends are the poor serving child, Mary, and the philosophy tutor, Jed. Ella begins to wonder if she really loves the Prince at all, and if she can ...more
Aug 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Over the years, I've seen many princess/fairy tale stories with a twist in celluloid form: Ella Enchanted, The Princess Diaries and its sequel, The Princess Bride, and all three of the Cinderella Story films. (Did you even know there was more than one?) This, however, is my first time reading one in quite a while. Though I enjoyed the spin on the classic fairy tale and how they empowered the heroine in a way that would make Anne McCaffrey (who once said, "Cinderella was a wimp!") proud, it was e ...more
Royal reality is no fairy tale, just ask Ella Brown, aka Cinders-Ella.

Just Ella is a smart, sobering, gritty, and entertaining retelling/continuation of a traditional fairy tale.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ever wonder what happened after the prince put that glass slipper on Cinderella's foot? Did you ever think if they really did live happily ever after? As a kid I never questioned it or even as an adult but this book helped answer those questions that you might have been wondering.

I couldn't believe someone wrote a book about what happened after the Prince and Cinderella rode off in the carriage and it was AMAZING. Now it wasn't the fairy tale we all thought, far from it, but I loved the story t
Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤
"I'd done something everybody had told me I couldn't. I'd changed my life all by myself. Having a fairy godmother would have ruined everything." - Ella Brown

Everyone knows the story about Cinderella. She was a beautiful orphan in the care of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, and her fairy godmother helped her get ready for the Prince's ball. There she winds up meeting the Prince, they fall in love after dancing the night away, only to have her run back home when the clock strikes midnight.
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
Anne Osterlund
Apr 17, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star-rating
Happiness is in the eye of beholder. Being a princess isn’t everyone’s dream and being loved for your beauty can lead to a cruel and lonely existence.

Ella is just a girl who was trying to escape her horrible living conditions and marrying the Prince seems like the way out, but marrying a man you barely know and who barely knows you can lead to all sorts of feelings.

Ella is entirely relatable and confident in who she is. To me she’s a princess in her own right. She’s what a princess should be -
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Teen Girl Clean B...: Great Book!!! 1 15 Nov 07, 2017 09:25AM  
Amazing Heroines ...: Just Ella 1 20 Apr 01, 2012 05:38AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fairest
  • The Two Princesses of Bamarre (The Two Princesses of Bamarre, #1)
  • Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1)
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball (The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy, #1)
  • Princess Ben
  • Ever
  • Ella Enchanted (Ella Enchanted #1)
  • Cinderellis and the Glass Hill (The Princess Tales, #4)
  • The Fairy's Mistake (The Princess Tales, #1)
  • Palace of Stone (Princess Academy, #2)
  • The Frog Princess
  • Book of a Thousand Days
  • Violet Eyes
  • Ascension (Water, #1)
  • Reunion (Water, #2)
  • Transformation (Water, #3)
  • Entwined
  • Dragon Slippers (Dragon Slippers, #1)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

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

Related Articles

If you love discovering great stories from new voices, then the past few months have been quite a treat in the world of young adult fiction!...
43 likes · 40 comments
“...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.” 182 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…