“The problem with fairy tales is that most of them begin with tragedy.”
Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram was equal parts predictable, tropish, and wonderful. I feel like I entered this novel knowing exactly what I would get and coming out with a few brilliant surprises that really sold the story home for me as one of my new favorite famous celebrity falls in love with random unknown girl stories. I think, naturally, my surprised love for this story did not come from the typical tropes that we often see with novels like this but rather from the nuanced and deeply intricate pieces that made the characters feel far more real than they normally do. I tend to have a weak spot for stories like this and often pick them up hoping for better. I’m usually vastly disappointed, but with Cinder and Ella I actually found myself immersing myself in a story that I felt emotions for. With that said, I do have to ask with the biggest eye-roll and a massive amount of annoyance, why is it that novels like this, where the guy is a celebrity, always focus on them having this horrible bad boy reputation that they need to fix with a subsequent fake girlfriend/fiancée who is either the main protagonist or the actual reason that the word bitch became what it is today?
Now, while that trope is 100% overdone, it didn’t really ruin the story for me in the end. I didn’t care for it, but I’ve come to expect it from books like this and therefore wasn’t disappointed when I saw it. Still, I really do think that we need to come up with something better than what we’ve done thus far in this regard. Maybe for once the fake fiancée could be nice? Or perhaps the guy doesn’t need her to fix his playboy image? Maybe people aren’t completely judged for having sexual relationships with more than one person? But I digress immensely, so now I’m going to move on.
I actually really did love Cinder and Ella. The witty banter between the two characters was, while somewhat cringe-y in how sugar-sweet it was at times, quite adorable. By far, I was most impressed with Ella’s character, development, and her family situation. Not only was there a completely different take on the evil stepmother and stepsisters tale, but Ella was a diverse character in a number of ways. First, she was a person of color, and secondly she was disabled. Now, granted, there could have been more representation, but I was still happy to see it. And even better, Ella herself was a book and movie blogger. Though this wasn’t the center focus of the novel, I really enjoyed it. I think the pacing of the story was perfect and in general there was never really a dull moment. As I came closer and closer to the end, I grew more and more eager to find out what was going to happen next.
I won’t say that Cinder and Ella is a perfect story. It definitely had a number of issues, from legal inaccuracies regarding Ella’s status (which all could have been solved by having her be a year younger), slightly over-the-top bullying, over-dramatized events that prevented the endgame couple from being together, overdone and somewhat forced issues between Ella and her family–the book thing comes to mind the most, though–and finally to my own personal and occasional issue with Cinder’s personality. But this last bit is something that I think will vary from person to person. I simply am not a major fan of overly sexualized characters and therefore that’s why I don’t read romance books. But I think the biggest thing about him that bugged the hell out of me was his nickname for Ella. Dear skies, WHY did Cinder have to call her WOMAN so damn often?
But for the most part this was a quick, enjoyable read that followed a rather cute relationship with two characters who you can’t help really appreciating. They were realistic, they were fun, and I’m really excited for this to have been the first normal girl falls in love with celebrity story that I’ve really enjoyed since…ironically enough, Geekerella, which I read quite a long time ago. And if you’ve not read that book, it’s mainly ironic because they are somewhat similar in a few ways.