Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!
Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!

The Ugly Princess

The Ugly Princess encourages young women to look within themselves to find beauty and power, and to open their eyes to their own magic. This coming-of-age must-read is based on the multi-award-winning screenplay of the same name.


by Henderson Smith


In one word, this book is: adorable. But a case could also be made for "empowering." This is a definite must read for young girls, which is well defined from the start in the author's dedication page. The author does a delightful job of exploring the meaning of beauty. For the ugliest people are those who sacrifice a piece of themselves the most. While the most beautiful are those that have given up their powers to help others. I can tell one of the authors main points is to illustrate that people can be seen for their deeds instead of only by their outward appearance. I think this is sweetly discovered by the main character. This main character was compelling, enduring, and relatable. How often young girls undervalue themselves and think nobody understands them or that nobody can truly love who they are inside. 

This book has good characterization, especially with some of the animal characters. I was sad her grandpa never showed up again at the end. However, overall the story is extremely enjoyable for adult readers and should resonate with younger readers, especially with all the commercialized air brushed beauty they see around them in magazines, on movie screens, etc. 

Were they are predictable moments? Yes. But the author also has some good surprises for you too, particularly in the last chapter. There is going to be more, and I'm so excited about it!


I think my favorite moment was when Olive becomes the prophesy. The magic was enchanting, and I liked how it tied to the early Winnowwood. But a truly character-defining moment was when Olive first saw herself after the transformation, and she wasn't impressed. She wasn't that girl. At least that's not what she saw herself as. She had never valued beauty. She never needed it. And she knew it wouldn't change her especially since her magic returned to her.

Another good plot choice was that the prince who fell in love with Olive was not the most handsome prince. I'm so glad the author didn't feel she had to have a gorgeous-on-the-outside prince fall in love with Olive. The point is what makes a person beautiful is not how they look, and the author kept this consistent even with Olive's love interest. Having a handsome prince fall in love with her would have ruined the "beauty" of the author's message. The focus should never be by appearances alone.

This book is great. While I would have liked more moments to explore Olive's grandfather and mother, I know the author has more in store for us. I highly highly recommend this book. I think it's a rare piece of literature that is original in its theme about princesses, princes, and true love. 

READ THIS BOOK. Need I say more? Great writing by an inventive author.

My novels:

"Descendants of Avalon" 

Released via Inklings Publishing 

May 2018

"Heir of the Heretic"

("The Forgotten" volume 2)

Reviewed and awarded the

2016 Indie Editor's Choice

by the Historical Novel Society.

Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.

Reviewer for:

Historical Novel Society Volunteer

NetGalley Professional Reader

Reviews Published
25 Book Reviews
Challenge Participant

Top Goodreads Reviewer

my read shelf:
J. Else's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Goodreads profile at:

Print Print | Sitemap
© Jessi Hafeman