Shell Belle's Reviews > Just Ella

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
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Mar 21, 2012

really liked it

I was amazed at how wonderfully thought-provoking Just Ella was for a YA book! It's one of those books that every girl should read, at least once. Not only is it an engaging read but it brings up many great thoughts. At its core it is a satire, challenging the dangerous unrealism that has perpetually threatened society, leaving day-dreaming females all over the world disillusioned in the face of their everyday lives and (gasp!) guys that actually have faults. I LOVE how it represents Ella's new relationship, so sweet and realistic; they remain themselves throughout. And their love is not based on appearances!

My only bone to pick with this book is how the main character, Ella, isn't always a very pleasant person. She is passionate and inspiring, but lacks the kind heart of the Cinderella of old. Though I suppose Ella's roughness is in order to appear "realistic" in the face of years of mistreatment, what made Cinderella a true gem was that she kept a kind, selfless heart even through her suffering. A loving heart doesn't mean that you are a doormat; Ella could have been much more compassionate and still stuck up for herself. In the book her bitterness makes her harder to love. Though she shows concern for the refugees at the end, it is clear that it is an afterthought of what fits in with her current situation. But just because her character isn't very inspiring doesn't mean that her actions aren't.

Overall, this is a wonderful, wonderful book, so thought-provoking! It deserves space on EVERY woman's shelf, not just children. Read it!
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