Ella Enchanted

Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: 1997

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Happy 20th anniversary to Ella Enchanted

When she was a baby, Ella received the “gift” of obedience from a fairy. Now, she must obey any command given, great or small. More of a curse than a blessing, this gift controls her, and no matter how much she struggles against it, Ella always obeys in the end. Though many give Ella commands unknowingly, there are some who manipulate her deliberately – namely, her two stepsisters.

Ella suffers countless miseries in addition to the curse: the death of her beloved mother, neglect from her selfish father, abuse from her stepsisters, an insufferable finishing school. But through it all, Ella remains kind, vivacious, and brave, with the help of her friends – her fairy godmother, and the prince, Char. As Ella’s childhood friendship with Char gradually turns into something more, she realizes that her curse could be used not only to harm herself, but Char. Will Ella find a way to undo her curse, or will she be forced to sacrifice her happy ending to ensure the safety of the one she loves?

I read this book for the first time over a decade ago, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. Gail Carson Levine has influenced my writing in a huge way. Her fairytales are one of the reasons that made me want to write in the first place. Re-reading this book reminded me of what I’m looking for in fiction, and what I want to write. If you haven’t read it, read it.

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