Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella

Author: Kelly Oram
Publisher: Bluefields
Pages: 269 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: October 1st 2014


It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.


I’m always so happy when a book that I expect to be average turns out to be one of the best I’ve read in a long time… and especially when I’ve been in such a terrible, never-ending book slump.

I remember that a couple of months back my book friends were raving about Cinder & Ella. I would have added the book to my TBR pile right then if not for my skepticism for the author. As it turns out, this book has all the elements that I completely adore in a book. But before I go all gaga over my love for the story and the characters, I’ll just give you a brief synopsis of what to expect in this lovely, feel-good, fluffy romance.

As the blurb promises, we have Ella and Cinder, two internet book buddies (BOOK BUDDIES YOU GUYS! LIKE US!! YAASSSS!) who share their love for a book series called the Druid Chronicles and are secretly in love with each other. Everything is good in their lives, till one day Ella has a horrible accident and loses almost everything. Cinder, knowing nothing about Ella’s real life, even her actual name, doesn’t know what to believe other than thinking her dead after her sudden disappearance. While Ella is hospitalized and recovering, trying to get a grip on her life that’s turned upside down, Cinder (a.k.a Brian) is getting all the media attention as the next “it” thing in Hollywood. They find each other again after months and realize that their feelings for each other are stronger than before; but… if only relationships in real life were as easy as the online ones…

So as the story goes, the title hints towards this being a rendition of Cinderella, and I won’t deny that it does have few Cinderella-sque moments, but the plot is so much more than a girl getting married to a Prince after one fine night at a ball! We have a female MC who has been through shit and has been treated like shit but unlike Cinderella, she doesn’t sit and weep in a corner waiting for a fairy godmother to fix it. She stands back, calls people out on their BS and doesn’t act rebellious or nasty for no reason. The story isn’t just about evil step mothers, step sisters and an aloof dad either. It also focuses on the strained relationships between the MC and her step family and as the story progresses, we see each relationship strengthen and witness the MC accept and begin to appreciate the importance of her new family and friends. But among all this, for me, the romance steals away the spotlight. The relationship that Ella and Cinder shared was beautiful and made me completely fall in love with this book. It was their friendship, their banter, their attraction, the way they understood each other, made each other happy, just about everything, that made their romance magical.

*happy sigh*

Anyway, the other thing I adore about this book, are the main characters. Ella is one of the most relatable and likable female characters that I’ve come across amidst all the angst ridden, snowflake, bimbo head cases we have as protagonists. As for Cinder, he is one of those characters you roll your eyes at but still really like. He uses cheesy lines, is a flirt, uses “woman!!” to address Ella way more than I like, treats Kaylee like shit (but she was a spoiled brat so I didn’t really mind) but is also a fellow book reader who follows bloggers, is passionate about his career and takes it seriously, (did I mention he reads books and gets into discussions about it?), is a celebrity with super-hot looks and is so in love with Ella that it just made me grin like a goof and like him more.

As for the other characters, well, Ella’s dad was an ass for majority of the book. The reasons he gave in the end gave me a better perspective on why he left Ella and her mom, but the way he reacted in certain instances just made me want to smack some sense into him. Ella’s principal and shrink were the worst actually. I think I disliked them even more than Ana. So get this, Ella’s shrink, who is supposed to help Ella, actually threatens to put her in a mental hospital because of her not socializing in school.

Anyway, that’s one crazy shrink. The other douchebag we have in the story is Ella’s principal. He thinks that Ella should be in a school for the disabled because she is scarred and limps. That guy actually had the balls to say that he wasn’t responsible for students bullying Ella because she seemed to invite trouble. Like, why is this man even running the school?

Apart from them, Juliette, Vivian and Rob were pretty cool. Even though I highly doubt the existence of guys like Rob.

All in all, this book was really fluffy and full of drama till the end. It entertained me a hell lot and had me feeling all sorts of warm fuzzies by the time I was finishing it. That hasn’t happened in a very very long time.

So, 5 stars for Cinder-Ella awesomeoness alone!


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