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Just Ella

(The Palace Chronicles #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  32,587 ratings  ·  1,600 reviews
The Cinderella legend gets a realistic twist in this enchantingly believable adventure from New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix that Booklist calls "provocative and entertaining."

Ella dreams of going to the royal ball and marrying Prince Charming, just like every commoner in the kingdom of Fridesia. But after she is chosen to marry the prince (no
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Paperback, 188 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published August 28th 1999)
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Kimberly Wick yes this is a very good book for anyone who likes girls rights and a good fairy tale gone wrong it is very good book to read and I recommend it for at…moreyes this is a very good book for anyone who likes girls rights and a good fairy tale gone wrong it is very good book to read and I recommend it for at least 7th grade and up because there are some "unpleasant" words especially for young readers (less)
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…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

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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  32,587 ratings  ·  1,600 reviews


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Lola
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.
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Merphy Napier
I'll never get tired of rereading this book
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
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Sheri
Dec 08, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reads like a twelve year old wrote it. Inconsistent, whiny, and altogether unlikeable main character.
Cara
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cara by: Valerie
Shelves: fairy-tales, fantasy
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.
Jess
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
V.E.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Weezie
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
*sighs*

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

Get your shit together.
Sylvia
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Debbie
Oct 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  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
Debbie
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 ...more
Mel
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.
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
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 Readaholic Jenn
A interesting twist on the classic tale
Emily Michelle
Mar 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeness
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
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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
Kirstysbookishworld
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 -
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Reggie
Aug 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 ...more
Agnė
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.
Susan
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.
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Nafiza
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
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Jerry
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
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Abbie
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.
Joey Reyes
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.)
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Teen Girl Clean B...: Great Book!!! 1 11 Nov 07, 2017 09:25AM  
Amazing Heroines ...: Just Ella 1 20 Apr 01, 2012 05:38AM  

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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 ...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)
“...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.” 178 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.”
32 likes
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