Tag Archives: coming-of-age

Ella Enchanted

By Gail Carson Levine

Another comforting re-read.   This was the very first book I read when I started working at National Library School Services.   We spent our lunch hours, our commuter time, and a chunk of our evenings reading children’s and YA fiction.   It was taking work home with us –  but what awesome work!

Ella Enchanted is a retelling of Cinderella, with a lovely twist on the tale we all know.   Ella was given a fairy gift at birth – the gift of obedience.   This proves to be both an annoying and a dangerous gift.   And yes, Prince Char , the stepmother and stepsisters are all there, along with trolls, ogres, fairies, and finishing school teachers!   Just lovely.

Gail Carson Levine has also written a retelling of Snow White, called Fairest. I am stealing myself up to re-read it. Not because it is bad, but because our erstwhile heroines find themselves in very tricky situations and I feel for them too much! I have often thought that writers of children’s fiction are way better at getting to emotions than writers who write exclusively for adults.

Two thumbs up.


Hating Alison Ashley

By Robin Klein

I first read Robin Klein when I was working at National Library, and we went home each day armed with children’s and YA novels.    Many a bus trip did I spend  chortling, sighing, gasping, and sometimes openly crying over that day’s offering.

Hating Alison Ashley is a simple, often a funny and touching novel about a young girl, Erica Yurken,who knew she was destined to be a star.   Erica, nick-named Yuk (not by choice), attends a notorious school in the down-trodden neighborhood she lives in.   Hypercondriac by choice, Erica sets herself apart from her class-mates, believing herself to be better than her class mates.   Erica believes that she doesn’t need friends, or so so tells herself.

Then one day, perfect Alison Ashley arrives atschool, and Erica no longer is the top student.   Alison also has the added appeal for the teachers of not being a hypercondriac know-it-all.

The class heads off to school camp, where Erica sets out to cause her class mates to envy her, and oh yes, hate Alison Ashley even more.   Of course none of her class mates envy her, and Erica soon feels homesick.   Eventually Erica learns what she is good at, and finds a friend in the process.

Made into a movie in 2005 starring Saskia Burmeister as Erica, and Delta Goodrem as Alison Ashley.   Check out the movietrailer here