Calendar Girls July: Best Fairy Tale Retelling

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love fairy tales and magical stories of all sorts. I have a special place in my heart for retellings, especially movies. Really, any sort of retelling is good by me. 10 Things I Hate About You, anyone? I’ve read a couple of interesting ones, mostly YA or middle-grade, but it isn’t in anyway difficult to pick a favorite.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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To start with, Cinderella has never been my favorite fairy tale. I don’t know what it is, but she just never interested me the way other characters do. However, the story itself is so timeless that it just begs to be retold in a new way. There are so many ways to work with it! Cinderella retellings are always fun.

But Ella is different from the other Cinderellas. She’s no sweet, perfect, always nice princess. Nope. Ella is defiant, snarky, and oftentimes downright mean. But only if you deserve it. Ella doesn’t fall in love with prince charming at first sight. In fact, when she meets Char she is too young to see him as anything other than a friend. Ella doesn’t talk to animals, but she has a knack for languages that allows her to rescue herself even from Ogres. Ella can take care of herself.

Except she can’t. No retelling is complete without a good twist. Ella Enchanted’s is my favorite. Ella is cursed so that she has to obey any order.

I love this twist for a couple of reasons. One, it’s the only plausible reason a character as capable and confident as Ella would be a servant for her step-mother. Two, I LOVE MAGIC! Especially unique magic, and I’ve never read any spell quite like this one! Finally, this twist gives so much more depth to the fairy godmother element of the story. Ella’s real fairy godmother never does a lick of magic, aside from making extra-tasty food.


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Calendar Girls Books is a monthly discussion hosted by Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie at MNBernard Books. To find out more about the Calendar Girls, visit either of their July picks. Here’s Flavia’s and Melanie’s.

I can’t wait to find out what everyone else picked! I wish I was joining the read-a-long, but alas, vacation calls. I’m not alasing THAT much.


Honorable Cinderella Mentions (because, movies)

  • A Cinderella Story
  • Ever After
  • Into the Woods (whichever version you want, they are ALL good)
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16 thoughts on “Calendar Girls July: Best Fairy Tale Retelling

  1. Ahhhh! I love this choice and I’m so excited you joined us because no one else offered this one up, but it DEFINITELY needs to be recognized! I haven’t read the book, but I’ve seen and own the movie! (I love Anne Hathaway!) And this is such an epic retelling of Cinderella for all the reasons you said: she’s not stupid, she’s not meek, she’s not all googly-eyed for a prince. Ella Enchanted was definitely the powerful, doesn’t need a man princess, WAY before Elsa and Anna! 😀

    P.s. Glad to see you joined Calendar Girls! 😀 Sorry to see you won’t be able to make the read-a-long, but I understand. Maybe another month. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is one of those great books that passes the C. S. Lewis tests of “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” and “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” (also, the movie was a travesty)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet! Although, in my defense, I didn’t really grow up in North America, haha. I was living in Austria until I was 9 or 10, (and must not have come across a translated copy, if there was one then), and when we came to Canada…I kind of read books that were for age groups which were higher than my own, lol. I will definitely have to take some time and read this one though! Thanks so much for participating, for sharing your choice, and we hope to see your posts for more Calendar Girl months to come! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m very fortunate to have been in the target age group just the year this book made such a splash. I might never have read it otherwise! But I’m so glad I did, because it introduced me to other books of hers which I also loved.

      Liked by 1 person

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