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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JCU chapter.

Cinderella was one of my favorite fairytales when I was a kid. I was Cinderella for Halloween one year and honestly, it’s a classic. When it comes to retellings I’ve read a couple of versions of Cinderella that were just…bad. (At least, I thought so.) But there’s some really innovative takes on this fairytale out there too, so here’s a look at some of the ones I’ve read:

                                                                                 Courtesy: Disney Movies

  1. Mechanica by Betsy Cornwall- This steampunk-fairy mashup retelling of Cinderella was set in a deeply fascinating world. It features lots of social commentary and a not-so-conventional ending which I loved. Not a whole lot of action here; it was a fairly slow-paced story, but I enjoyed this take on Cinderella as an independent, strong-willed inventor who took charge of her own story.

  2. The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson- I’ve tried a couple of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings, but have yet to find one I really enjoyed much. They have a Christian religious element that’s a touch too preachy for my taste, Also, she doesn’t add a whole lot of new elements or twists to her retellings, and I’ve found the characters to be pretty simplistic. Not my style.

  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer- This is the first in a quartet which each feature fairytale retellings with futuristic and space elements, which as a series I very much enjoy! Cinder isn’t my favorite of the series, but it was a solid start and the world in which it takes place really grabbed my attention. Now, Marissa Meyer has been criticized for setting Cinder in China and making her protagonist Asian (from “New Beijing) without really including any Chinese or Asian culture, which is true. You wouldn’t know that Cinder takes place in China if you weren’t explicitly told. As I said, I did really enjoy the series, but I understand why people may take issue with it.

  4. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine- Perhaps better known for the film which features a relatively young Anne Hathaway, Ella Enchanted is a great story. I think my current rating is a little harsh–I love the movie, and it’s been a while since I read the book, but this is a really fun take on Cinderella, which introduces a lot of new elements into the story, and leaves our protagonist a lot of room for action and growth, which not every Cinderella retelling does.

  5. The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett- On one hand, I think retellings that take the “villain’s” point of view are really interesting. On the other, they run the risk of being a bit too aggressive in their eagerness to support the inner good of the “villain” character, which I think was the case here. The message that Cinderella wasn’t just a sweet, mistreated young woman was pushed a little too hard for me in this retelling, but props to Barrett for flipping the story around.


I happen to be in the middle of a Cinderella retelling right now, Ash by Melinda Lo, so I’ll have to see how it measures up to these reads!


Mallory Fitzpatrick is a senior at John Carroll University, who loves reading, writing, and travel.