Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review - The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

Title: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back
Author: Sariah Wilson
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 194, ebook
Goodreads Rating: 3.92 stars
My Rating: 3/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG (Nothing more than kissing)

Summary from Goodreads: Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back was a quick, cute read that I found myself enjoying despite some flaws.  I was expecting this to be a fairy tale retelling, but it's really not.  The only resemblance it bears to Cinderella is the fact that the girls are stepsisters and that the "perfect" sister's name is Ella.  Instead, this is simply a contemporary YA romance with a main character who sometimes compares her life to fairy tales.  

The negatives:
  • Underdeveloped (or unlikeable) characters.  With the possible exception of Mattie (and, to some extent, Ella), most of the characters in this book weren't particularly well-developed.  Mattie's father is oblivious, her mother is just kind of evil (why? I'm not sure, she just is.), and her best friend is completely without personality, except for what you're supposed to glean from his goth appearance.  Mattie, on the hand, comes off as pretty shallow and spiteful at first and her true love, Jake, comes off as a jerk.  Ella is really the only completely likable character in the book!
What I enjoyed:
  • It gets better.  Despite everything I just said about the characters, I still found myself kind of liking the book, especially once I got to the second half or so.  Once Mattie decided to stop feeling so sorry for herself and to stop hating her step-sister just for being a good person, she became a much more sympathetic character and I found myself hoping things would go her way after all.  Likewise, while Jake started off on the wrong foot, he definitely grew on me as the story went on.  The book ended up having a cute kind of charm in the end.
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back turned out to be a cute little YA romance that will especially appeal to younger YA readers.  I recommend it if you're up for a quick, light read.  3/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author and Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***