{Review} CINDER AND ELLA by Kelly Oram

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I did a really fun interview with author Kate Avery Ellison last  year during FTF about THE CURSE GIRL.

I've also featured an interview with Kate about OF SEA AND STONE, along with an excerpt, and always love chatting with her! I was so glad to finally have time to read THE CURSE GIRL for this year's event!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

   THE PROBLEM WITH FAIRY TALES is that most of them begin with a tragedy. I understand the reasoning behind it. No one likes a pampered heroine. A great character needs trials to overcome--experiences to give them depth, to make them vulnerable, relatable, and likable. Good characters need hardships to make them strong. The idea makes sense, but it still sucks if you're the heroine.
   My life had never been much like a fairy tale. I'd had no magical wishes come true, but no real tragedy, either. My dad had an affair and left Mama and me when I was eight, but other than that, I'd had it pretty good.
   I'm sort of pretty--long, wavy black hair and smooth golden-brown skin, thanks to the Chilean heritage on my mother's side. But I have my dad's big, bright-blue eyes. I'm sort of smart--mostly A's without ever having to study much. And I'm sort of popular--not exactly the prom queen, but never without my friends or a date on Saturday night, either.
   I may have grown up without a father, but my mom was my best friend and that was good enough for me. Life, in general, was good enough.
   Then, last November, my mom decided to surprise me with a weekend ski trip to Vermont for my birthday, and I got my first real dose of character-building tragedy.
(pg 5, US e-book edition)


CINDER AND ELLA first hit my radar when fellow book blogger Literally Jen mentioned that she was editing Kelly Oram's new book and it was going to be a Cinderella retelling. The two of us are friends on Facebook, and as the book's launch approached, I was invited to a big launch party for CINDER AND ELLA that would have various authors and guests visiting Facebook and posting about Cinderella, and lots of prizes, too. The e-book would also be a special price that day only, so of course I snapped it up and took part!

Ellamara had it all...until the day a fatal car accident changed her life forever. Her mother didn't survive, and she only barely did. She was in a coma for six months and has deep scars that will last the rest of her life. When Ella was little, her father left and remarried. Now, Ella must live with him, her stepmother, and her two stepsisters. Everyone pities her for her experience, and at school, she's brutally made fun of. Her only solace is when she turns on the computer to chat with her e-mail penpal Cinder. What she doesn't know is that Cinder is really Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver. Brian was just cast as the leading character Cinder in the next best-selling movie franchise The Cinder Chronicles, based on a best-selling book series. This is the same Cinder whose alias he has claimed online and been using all these years, and the book series is the same one that Ellamara's mother named her from! Their worlds will never collide because the two will never meet...right?

I love the way this book is a little bit of a retelling, but also not. It's very modern-day and original, too. The idea of splitting up the name Cinderella, turning it into two names, and pulling the reasoning from a best-selling book series is pretty interesting. This is also a book that celebrates Geek culture, which events such as FantasyCon reminding me of the craziness that takes place today at Comic-Con. Panels, character dress-up, all that good stuff! It also explores social media and the way you can be amazing friends with someone online despite never meeting, or perhaps only talking to that person on the phone. I was in an online writer's group years ago and became close friends with several of them. Some of them, I've exchanged Christmas cards with, spent hours on the phone with, and/or even met in person. I understand that culture so well, and completely got the way Cinder and Ella could bond so closely over something they loved without ever meeting.

I also like the fact that Ella isn't your stereotypical blonde, but of Chilean descent. Here's another book to proudly wear a badge in the campaign to bring more diversity to YA literature!


 There are a lot of other cliche Cinderella stereotypes missing from the novel as well. Ella isn't a servant in her own home. Her stepmother isn't evil. Her father is still alive. Etc, etc. I'll leave it to you to discover what's the same and what's new, because part of the fun in reading a retelling--to me, at least--is the surprise in finding these little nuggets myself, rather than having them all spoiled for me.

CINDER AND ELLA is a fun, fast read. It's both light-hearted and serious, both fairy tale and not. It's a modern-day, contemporary novel without any fantasy elements (Unless, of course, you count the genre of wish fulfillment novels as fantasy, which I sort of do, lol!). I was able to read this in one sitting, and would recommend it if you're looking for something different and new. 
~*~
C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13  ( Kissing; sexual innuendo )
Language: PG15  ( Sexual innuendo and sexual references to things various characters have done )
Violence: --
Other: --  
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C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover is fun. It ties the tale of Cinderella together the modern age of social media. That's hard to do on a cover, but that's the essence of this book!

It's not my favorite cover, but it works for the story.

The interior is also cool because the shoe from the cover is also present to mark every new chapter!
  ~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: CINDER AND ELLA
Author: Kelly Oram
Release Date: August 15, 2014
Publisher: Bluefields
Received: Purchased!
It looks like the e-book has been pulled from all stores except Amazon
(It was definitely previously on them b/c I bought it on my nook!)
You can buy the e-book exclusive from Kindle for $4.99
You can also buy it everywhere in paperback!

SUMMARY:

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.…

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.



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