3.5 StarsCheck this review out at our blog!
Sometimes, you just want an adorable, sweet read to balance out your reading depression. Nothing too depressing like cancer or tragic pasts, but not too cheesy and fluffy. Thankfully, there are books like The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back here to fulfill this purpose. With a lot of heart and laughs, this book made me smile at every turn.
Mattie is the average girl that is continually being traumatized by her stepsister's perfectness. Not to mention, Mattie is having to deal with a sociopathic mother, a bully who knows how to press all of the right buttons, and an arrogant Jake Kingston. Life sucks, right? Even though Mattie is facing way too many issues for someone her own age, these problems are so relatable and similar to the stuff we face in real life. Initially, Mattie faces these issues cynically and does nothing to put a stop to them. It doesn't happen until Mattie is utterly humiliated when she decides to fight back. However, she receives help from the person she least expects: Ella. With Ella, Mattie goes to prove to the world that even an average person can defeat the extraordinary through the student council elections.
If you can't tell already, this is an underdog story. It's a story that brightens our day when we read about the underdog defeating everything standing in her way. Mattie is definitely a flawed heroine. She makes so many mistakes and assumptions throughout her journey to discover herself. But this makes her so likable because she actually learns from her mistakes and admits to them.
I admit, I really enjoyed this book. So many of the characters, not just Mattie, were so enjoyable to read about. We meet Ella, Mattie's perfect stepsister, who is so ridiculously nice and kind. Initially, Ella seems like a flat character because we only really see how perfect she is. Little by little, the history behind Ella's actions and personality unveil, soon making her my favorite character after Mattie. Jake himself wasn't too bad either. After piercing through his arrogance, we see the stereotypical male lead who is mean because he is pressured to get into a good college, so he vents out at others behind everyone's back. I mean seriously, there probably are more original reasons for why Jake was such an arrogant *beep*, but I guess this reason was believable, so kudos to the author for that. Additionally, many of the other characters were cute to read about, such as Mattie's dad, Trent (Mattie's best friend whose a guy), and Mattie's sociopathic mother (Yeah, she was really mean and nasty, but my mom is like that too. Therefore, I probably don't see Mattie's mom's verbal abuse as something completely wrong).
As a light, summer read, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is a perfect relaxing read. Snarky, adorable, and emotionally riveting, this book is a book that will bring a smile for it's dorky, but sweet ending. Despite a few clichés and extremely childish moments that were unsuited for the age of the characters, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is a fun, fast-paced read that will have you laughing, crying, and smiling with Mattie during her journey for identity.
Angie @ YA Novelties