Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cinderella Story

Set in 14th century China, Donna Jo Napoli's Bound is a re-imagining of Cinderella that's sure to please fans of both fairy tales and historical fiction.

Following the death of her beloved father, young Xing Xing, 14, is doomed to a life of servitude at the hands of her cruel stepmother and spoiled stepsister, who was crippled by a botched foot binding operation. Xing Xing's only joy comes from her daily encounters with a beautiful white carp, who lives in a nearby pond (this carp, we learn, embodies the spirit of her deceased mother). When Stepmother kills the fish to punish Xing Xing, the teen secretly retrieves the bones from the trash and, in doing so, learns the hidden location of a beautiful silk gown and slippers. Dressed in this finery, Xing Xing sneaks out to attend an annual festival and, there, encounters a prince who, of course, is enchanted with her beauty and naturally tiny feet. In effort to beat Stepmother and stepsister home, Xing Xing flees, leaving a single slipper behind. And, well... you know the rest of the story.

As a fairy tale retelling, Bound is particularly interesting in that it incorporates historical details of life in ancient China. And author Donna Jo Napoli manages these small history lessons without drying up the greater story. Even though the story is decidedly predictable (everyone knows what happens in Cinderella), it's still very worth reading. --AJB

p.s. Bound is currently being featured on our Staff Picks shelf, located next to the New Book Shelves at the entrance to the Teen Area.

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