Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A Brightness Out of the Blue by Jill Atkins (Young Adult, 8/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

Gorgeous cover!
November 2016, Raven Books, 200 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Content: teen romance (both going wrong & right)

Book summary
Ella's life is falling apart in front of her until she helps an old lady home. Little does she realise that this small gesture will lead her to discovering her fortune Ella's father is married to an evil stepmother and she is forced out of home and stuck in a dead end job. Ella is convinced life cannot get any worse. But then she meets the mysterious Martha, and finds herself irresistibly drawn to a woman hiding secrets of her own... Can Martha help Ella get the guy and get rid of her poisonous step-mother? Better yet, can Ella turn her life around?
Nayu's thoughts
This is a great modern twist on a classic fairytale as the back of the book says, but it didn't quite have the edge that I expected. I'd hoped that Ella would directly be with her step-mother, but as you will see from the tale she isn't. What I love about the Cinderella story in general is just how rough life is for the Cinderella character, and how magic and kindness help change that rough life. That doesn't make Ella's plight any worse/better than the average Cinderella. She has a hard life, and seeing Martha truly does change everything. 

I liked the subtle presence of magic, which doesn't always have a positive or predictable outcome and isn't all sparkles in the modern world which Ella resides in. I liked how she learnt that appearances can be deceptive, and what she thinks she wants isn't what she actually wants. Usually the father figure in Cinderella is kind and doting on his daughter (& usually dead...) but that's not quite true for Ella, creating moments when I wished her father was out the picture because his choices are simply awful for Ella. I liked the realism of Ella's romantic interest, I can't say more than that without spoiling the plot!

You won't be disappointed by the bittersweet ending, although it did have me wanting to know what happens to Ella in the future. I don't think I'll reread it, but I'm not sure yet, as some parts are very sweet. 

No comments: