by Donna Jo Napoli


  • Linguistic and writer of children and Young Adult novels.
  • Has five children.
  • Lives outside Philadelphia.
  • Born February 28th.


  • 186 pages
  • Published August 1, 2006 by Simon Pulse
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  • “Secrets could never be rushed. They had to come of their own accord, on their own schedule. That way ,when they came , the offered themselves as a gift.”

Importance: This is a strange way of thinking and a very beautiful quote full of hidden meaning. It means that you shouldn't rush someone to tell you a secret, but should wait until that person tells you the secret so it has meaning.

  • "If you fall into water, you may still be saved. But if you fall down in literary matters, there is no life left for you."

Importance: This means that literary matters (aka books) are more dangerous than if you were to be drowning. This is very meaningful, especially if you are a bibliophile like me.

  • "And the world kept moving, not toward any goal, just going, because that's what life does. And its bound to be better with a companion who knows how to be tender, a companion you may grow to cherish.”

Importance: This means that life is easier to deal with when you have someone who knows how cherish then it would be to be alone. This is meaningful and has a good lesson behind it: you need friends to be happy.


Bound, written by Donna Jo Napoli, is a short novel that takes an interesting twist on the popular fairy tale known as "Cinderella". It takes place in China, where a girl named Xing Xing is bound to her stepmother after her father dies suddenly. Her mother had also died years earlier, so she was left with no parents to ensure that she was married. Meanwhile, her half-sister Wei Ping was currently in the process of binding her feet to make them smaller, and finding herself her own husband. As the village's annual festival draws near, Xing Xing's stepmother is desperate to find Wei Ping a husband, and thus forbids Xing Xing to go to the festival as anything but a lowly servant. Xing Xing defies her stepmother when she finds some of her mother's old beautiful dresses, and decides to attend the festival. There she loses one of her shoes, and it is passed among the people of China until it reaches the prince, who deicdes that the owner of the shoe must marry him. At the end, the prince finds Xing Xing and she reluctantly decides to marry him, even though he is not anything near being a fairy tale prince.


Although the novel was originally supposed to be a retelling of Cinderella, it was incredibly easy to forget. It more often follows Xing Xing around through her daily life, and shows the different things that came with her culture in China. It is not until the very end of the novel where the author seems to remember what the story was supposed to be about, and she pulls it all together into a sketchy portrayal of Cinderella.

Historical References

This novel shows China's incredibly interesting culture throughout. It all began with Wei Ping's foot-binding. Normally, Chinese girls have their "feet bound at the age of six" so that their feet would be "small enough to fit in a man's hand like a golden lotus blossom" (Napoli 17). This way, Wei Ping would most definitely be married. Other odd costums were how well they respected their dead. "Each day Xing Xing visited [her] fathers grave to say hello" (Napoli 13). It was also a possibility for Xing Xing's "stepmother [to] sell her, and with the money, she could buy a younger girl to help around the cave" (Napoli 22).


Altogether, Bound is a very interesting read. It is very light, but packed with interesting details about China's culture. I recommend reading it not for the plot, or for an accurate twist on Cinderella, but for the miniscule details throughout the book that make it so easy to breeze through.