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  • 6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

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    An Empowering Read

    First, the cover caught my eye. Then I read a teaser and loved it. Then I bought and read the book, and it turned out to be one of the best investments I've made in 2019. The book is spectacular and carries a message that so many young women need to hear. While the target audience is clear, this is still a book that can inspire anyone, and is told in a rich, beautiful style that allows for a read reminiscent of the fairytale that inspired it. The concept is unique and while I thought the book was going in a different direction, aka the deception of the prince while Isabelle takes Ella's place, that was not the route the author went, and I'm glad for it. The story followed the stepsisters and their mother as their lives fall apart, mainly following the bold and brash Isabelle. Her story is a tragic one, and with so many people shunning and condemning her without knowing her personal struggle, it's impossible not to sympathize with her. Fate and Chance are two god-like figures who attempt to control the path of Isabelle's life, and act as great symbols for her internal struggle. The story was also similar to the style of a fairy tale, though it was a little more dramatic in the beginning. Near the end, it's explosive and exciting and worthy of its complex lead character. And like all the characters, Isabelle is not the simple creature as she was portrayed in the book. She is tough yet vulnerable, strong yet self-conscious, and so sure that her past will lead to a terrible future. I found myself rooting for her early on, and being inspired by her in the end. She was not the only character I adored: Tavi is someone I would want to be my friend. She fights against the mold society has made for her. There is an obvious and clear "girl power" vibe throughout, and I could not appreciate it more. There are so many moments that say, "I'm a girl, and nothing will stop me," a message that is so deeply needed these days. I honestly cannot believe how much I fell in love with this book and encourage everyone to read it if they need a little empowerment in their lives. It's a wonderful story with a wonderful message, and I praise Jennifer Donnelly for writing about brash, bold, rough, powerful girls.

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