Bayron, Kalynn. Cinderella is Dead. Bloomsbury, 2020. 978-1-547-60387-9. $16.99. 400 p. Grades 9-12.
Once upon a time, a fairy godmother gave Cinderella the opportunity to attend the royal ball, dressed in a beautiful gown with glass slippers, where she met Prince Charming. They fell in love, and she moved into the castle, escaping her evil step sisters and wicked stepmother. 200 years later, the kingdom honors Cinderella’s story by hosting an annual ball. Every girl in the kingdom is required to attend, dressed in their finest attire, where they hope to be noticed and chosen as a wife. If they are not chosen, they become outcasts. If they are chosen, they belong to their new husbands, losing what little independence they had with their families. Sixteen year old Sophia is preparing to attend her first ball, and while her parents do their best to make sure she’s noticed by a man, she’d rather run away and marry her best friend, Erin. On the night of the ball, things go horribly wrong for Sophia. Desperate for an escape, she flees and meets Constance, the last living descendant of Cinderella’s family. With Constance, Sophia feels more like herself than she ever has, and quickly discovers there is more to Cinderella’s story than the fairy tale she’s memorized. Together with Constance, Sophia decides it’s time to fight back, and they set out to destroy the patriarchy once and for all.
THOUGHTS: Cinderella is Dead puts a new and unique twist on the classic Cinderella story. I’m a big fan of fairy tales and fractured fairy tales, and I really enjoyed reading this book. Parts of the book felt like it went really fast, but the story did wrap up nicely at the end, and I loved the many plot twists and the mystery surrounding Cinderella’s history (herstory, in this case!). This book is full of strong female characters who remind readers that it’s okay to take control of their life: Do not be silent. Raise your voice. Be a light in the dark.
Fantasy Emily Hoffman, Conestoga Valley SD