Friday, January 16, 2015

Cinder and Ella

Cinder & Ella I read Kelly Oram's Cinder and Ella purely for fun, in about two days. It was a quick read and a lot of fun, but after reading I have a few hesitations about the story.

Ella (short for Ellamara, for the heroine of a fictional fantasy series that plays a big role in the novel) has a great relationship with Cinder, a playboy with some connection to Hollywood entertainment industry--but their relationship is purely online. They've never met.

When Ella is horribly injured in a car wreck that kills her mother, she spends eight months recovering before being sent to LA to live with the father who abandoned her, his new wife, and twin step-daughters. Of course by this point, Cinder is pretty sure she's dead, and no one in her father's family is excited to have her. In fact, the step-sisters make her life a living hell at the snotty new prep school she goes to.

But then she reaches out to Cinder and they reestablish their friendship. Unbeknownst to her, Cinder is really actor Brian Oliver, who's been cast to play Cinder in the new theatrical release of the book that made them friends in the first place. Cinder wants to meet her--but things are complicated by a truly witchy girlfriend, who threatens Cinder, his father, and most of all Ella if he doesn't maintain their relationship.

My favorite part was probably Ella's evolving relationship with her father and step-sisters (I actually cried at one point). And I liked that the family issues and Ella's struggle to accept her newly-scarred body added some gravitas to the book--but ultimately, there were some issues I had a hard time accepting.

First, I didn't love Cinder. By the end, his support of Ella made me like him more, but at the beginning, he comes across as a pretty convincing jerk. The love triangle that's introduced felt a little unrealistic--I liked that a nice guy gave Ella confidence, but his open acceptance of her love for someone else felt a little too much. And the conclusion seemed just a little too pat. I also struggled a little with the fact that, while Ella had all these horrible scars, her face was still undamaged and she was clearly very pretty. I would have loved to see Cinder (and everyone else) love a girl whose face was also scarred.

I will say, though, that none of these hesitations kept me from whizzing through the book.

I'm not sure how to categorize this genre-wise. I've seen some NA, since Cinder is 22, but since most of the characters (including Ella) are in high school, it also works as YA.

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