“I did not realize until the final chapters of the book that the story is a twist on the classic Cinderella fairytale. There are obvious clues that this is Cinderella. For example, the protagonist's name is Ella, her mother dies, her father remarries a mean woman with spoiled daughters, and the prince's name is Char (Get it? Prince Char?). But Cinderella haters should not avoid this book because of prior prejudices; this is not Disney's bird-taming princess--this princess tames ogres instead. Also, haters of the movies adaptation should give the book a chance, because the stories are not recognizably the same except for one fact: Ella has been "blessed" with the gift of Obedience. If someone gives her a command, Ella must obey it. That was a wonderful addition to the story, complicating the character's emotions and motivations, and making things more interesting.
Ella Enchanted is probably most appealing to upper elementary and middle school girls. Boys would shy away from it because it's about a princess (and not even a warrior princess). The book would be great inspiration for students to write their own new twists on a fairy tale, a great exercise for a writing or composition lesson.”