Book Review: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back

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Author: Sariah Wilson
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance


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.

My Lazy Thoughts:

Rarely do I read light YA books with minimum sexual content and not too angsty characters. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is definitely a breath of fresh air with it’s light contemporary feel. And I’m glad I managed to get a hold of it.

You’d think it’s a full-fledged fairy tale-like story judging from the title and book cover. But not really.

We’re introduced to Mattie Lowe, a daughter of a wealthy famous painter, who resents her stepsister Ella. Ella is everything she’s not (or at least she thinks she’s not) – pretty, popular, and smart. Oh, and angelic too. Mattie’s insecurity toward Ella puts a strain to their relationship, preventing them from developing a sisterly bond.

Enter the popular Jake Kingston, Mattie’s secret longtime crush and Ella’s boyfriend. So you could only imagine how much Mattie “hates” her stepsister.

The author throws a couple of cultural references – from the 80s up to the present. I haven’t seen a John Hughes film but the way Sariah Wilson incorporates them into the story makes me want to watch one. You know, just to get the reference.

I love a well-crafted character development and good family dynamics. And this book certainly delivers. Mattie is a very likable character despite her insecurities toward her sister and her tendency to reject the people around her. Her quick wit and humor make her endearing to the reader that you’ll want to root for her from the start.

The romance is sweet and cute that it leaves you sighing and giggling afterwards. Oh, how I wish I met a Jake during my high school days. My only complaint is that Mattie and Jake’s romance didn’t happen until 90% of the book. But the ending scene is so worth it. Gotta love Jake’s style of wooing Mattie.

This book is highly recommended and I can’t wait for Ella’s story.



4 point 5


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