No Ordinary Cinderella

We all think we know Cinderella. That girl with the shoe, and the stepmother, and the prince. There is more to Cinderella then beauty and wishful thinking. All good Cinderella buffs know that the she was smart, fought hard, and sometimes didn’t end up with anyone. She made her debut in 9th Century China, and there are as many versions as there cultures around the world.

Today we can find her in the most interesting places. Especially as she pops up in YA literature. What follows is a list of some stellar Cinderella stories–what’s your favorite?



Cinder by Marissa Meyer
featured in The Hub’s January Debuts list
Cinder is back in China! New Beijing that is, and she is a cyborg who must save humanity. A fantastic sci-fi twist on the classic.




The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Nominated for the YALSA 2012 Popular Paperbacks list
A story of good vs. evil and of girl power triumphing against the wickeds. The Cinderella Society asks the question, “what’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?”



Ash by Malinda Lo
2010 Finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award
Ash is a fairy tale that takes Cinderella to a new level. A beautifully written fantasy story where Ash visits the fairy realm and must decide between a controlling fairy or the King’s Huntress. Truly magical.



Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Set in 17th century China, Bound honors one of the oldest versions of this tale. Xing Xing must undergo the torture of bound feet while she mourns the loss of her mother. Her intentions for marriage are commonsensical in a genre when they are anything but. Napoli excels at retelling fairy tales, and Bound is one of her best.



The Amah by Laurence Yep
Amy’s mother takes a job as an amah (Chinese governess), and in this story we see what it may be like to be jealous or in need of attention. Amy is also in the ballet version of Cinderella. Yep is a seasoned Chinese-American storyteller who grants us the gift of perspective in The Amah.



— Marie Penny, currently reading Cinderalla by Junko Mizuno

4 thoughts on “No Ordinary Cinderella”

  1. Excellent list! My favorite is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It’s a great combination of whimsy, adventure, and fantasy while still being very grounded in character.

  2. I see you are currently reading Mizuno’s version of Cinderella. I love the Cinderella story and have read many of the widely different versions of it, but I had never expected to come across one involving zombies! I enjoyed every page of it, and I hope you are too! If you are interested, I’d also like to recommend Mizuno’s Hansel and Gretel, and Princess Mermaid.

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