I just finished Donna Jo Napoli’s YA spin on Cinderella: Bound. I’d recommend Bound to any YA reader. In addition to simply being a good story with interesting characters, Bound could be used in the classroom to discuss adaptations and the recurrence of tales across cultures and times. My only criticism is that the ending unravels very quickly; perhaps I just wanted more. Bound is listed as a Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice and a Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth.
Set in a cave in ancient China, Xing Xing is subservient to Stepmother and Wei Ping, her step-sister with bound feet. Xing Xing is good at poetry and calligraphy, and she’s a dreamer. Guided by the spirits of her dead mother and father, Xing Xing works to escape the consequences of Stepmother’s greed. Napoli works with classic motifs of the older Cinderella stories, including reincarnation of human spirit into an animal and the power of the animal’s bones to help the one in need. Xing Xing is exceptionally clever and resourceful, as well as compassionate.