Book Review: Cinder & Ella

About the Book

What would you do if your anonymous Internet best friend turned out to be Hollywood’s hottest celebrity?

Cinder458: Your blogaversary is coming up, right?
EllaTheRealHero: Do all those Hollywood friends of yours know you use words like blogaversary?
Cinder458: Of course not. I need your address. Got you a blogaversary present.

Cinder got me a gift?
My heart flipped.
Not that I was in love with my Internet best friend or anything. That would be utterly ridiculous. The boy was cocky and stubborn and argued with everything I said just to be infuriating. He also had lots of money, dated models—which meant he had to be hot—and was a closet book nerd.
Funny, rich, hot, confident, book lover. Definitely not my type. Nope. Not at all.

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancĂ©e—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

About the Author

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.

The Review

When I first started reading Cinder and Ella I didn’t know what to expect from the book. The book started beautifully with Ella talking about how fairy tales always start with tragedy. You realize then that Ella’s word is about to hit rock bottom. At the time when she is about to meet her horrible fate, Ella’s talking to Cinder. He’s her best friend in this whole wide world. They had met through her blog. (Something I can completely relate to. Because I have met a number of people through my blog and sometimes they do turn into the best of friends to you.)

But the Ella’s car meets with an accident and then her whole world turns upside down. The only thing that happens as a positive is the fact that Ella’s no longer in Boston but in California – closer to Cinder. Only, he doesn’t know it yet.

Unknown to Ella her best friend is Brian Oliver, the hottest young actor in Hollywood at the moment. He correctly guesses that Ella wouldn’t want to be part of his world and therefore never asks her to meet him in person. When they reconnect, he’s happier than he’s ever been in his life. He’s been pretending to be engaged to Kaylee Summers but the news of his Ella’s return breathes back life into him.

What I loved about the book was that the female protagonist wasn’t a nerdy, out-of-luck but so pretty underneath all that kind of girl. She had spunk. She was witty. She had survived something as serious as a car accident and seventy percent of her body had been burned. Throughout the novel, she struggles with her self-image, and what is concern from her new family’s side is often misinterpreted by her. It goes both ways however.

In her new family, Ella has inherited not one but two stepsisters, Anastasia and Juliette. The latter turns into one of her best friends, and as the year progresses Ella’s life rises and falls as though someone had strapped her onto a roller coaster and she was the helpless victim!
Midway through the novel I thought that when Cinder and Ella finally meet in person it would be dramatic and swoon worthy. Thank you, Kelly Oram, for proving me wrong. That meeting was the best, effortless, co-incidence meeting to be written in any book I’ve ever read so far! I had put down my book and whoop for joy when that happened.

I loved the easy language of the book. I loved how in certain parts the story broke my heart and I was filled with tears. I loved Ellamara, I loved Brian Oliver and I especially loved Juliette being there for a stepsister when she realizes her own sister is being an idiot. Maybe in certain cases it seemed a little far-fetched or dreamy. But the point of books being books is that fact that it allows you to dream.

I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Happily Ever After, and I am hoping the story will surprise me, startle me and make me happy all at once.