The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

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 by Sariah Wilson

This is a very cute high school romance that used all the common themes from the genre… and then turned them on their heads.

The pretty, popular blonde is nice and smart and a good friend.

The popular guy doesn’t turn out to be horrible.

The high school stereotypes are there, but people have more layers than clichéd personality traits.

The high school experience in America is so completely different to here in Australia that it’s like learning a foreign culture, but I think the author painted her setting really well.

I really, really liked pretty much everything about this story. The dramas weren’t over the top, and the inevitable trust issues and betrayal worked realistically.

One thing that bugged me at the start was how much the protagonist – Matilda – complained about how stupid and embarrassing her name was. There’re going to be a lot of young readers offended by that; ‘Matilda’ might not be a popular name in America, but it regularly makes it onto top names lists in other countries. It is enormously popular in Australia. I have a young cousin in Europe with the name.

But that’s about it for complaints. This book has a lot of very familiar YA themes, and yet it felt fresh and new. I loved it.

I picked up The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back when it was free, but I’d say it’s more than worth the $2.99.


Posted on 31/01/2013, in Books, Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Romance and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I love the idea of this book. I’m currently studying fairy tales and it’s definitely making me look at all the preconceived notions we associate with them like evil stepmother or ugly stepsister. I like that she gets her own voice. It kind of reminds me of the concept behind Wicked where you hear the story from the Wicked Witch of the West. It really makes you think.

    • I know what you mean! When I started studying literature at university, I was a little devastated at how we were made to look at traditional stories. Everything is so black and white, and so I started looking for versions that delved deeper into the characters.
      A lot of YA books make ‘Cinderella’ evil – which is what I was worried might happen here. So I liked that the author gave everyone their good and bad points.

  2. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing my book. I’m so glad you liked it! (And my apologies to all Matildas. That was Mattie’s hang-up, not mine. 😉 )

    • You’re welcome 🙂 I’m definitely going to reread!
      It’s funny how names are loved or hated in different countries. Our national women’s soccer team is even called the Matildas 😀
      I actually think the name is TOO popular here!

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