Cinderella is Dead

Kalynn Bayron

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (2020)

Plot Summary

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all--and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.


GLBT Reviews (February 15, 2021): “[...] a girl-power story that encourages reflection on and questioning of stories, whether fiction or not.”

Kirkus (April 26, 2021): “This promising debut deals with themes around rebellion and empowerment as well as the toll that rejecting the status quo can take on relationships. The atmospheric setting is a particular strength, and the twists and turns will keep readers in suspense.”


Wordery Children’s Book of the Year Winner, 2020

Books are My Bag YA Fiction Winner, 2020

We Need Diverse Books Book Shimmy Award, 2020

YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2022



YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2021

Rise: A Feminist Book Project, 2021


Response to challenges

Katy, Texas-March 23, 2022: “Having access to affirming content is imperative to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students.”

September 19, 2022: “It’s kind of emotional for me, but to get an email from somebody that says, I read Cinderella is Dead, and it made me decide to stay alive one more day, to try one more time. I think that my readers deserve so much, and not just with Cinderella Is Dead, but so many of these books that are being challenged and being banned. To know that it’s resonating with them in this way is incredibly meaningful. And it worries me that Cinderella Is Dead is being banned because I fear for the readers who won’t have that chance, who might not have that opportunity to feel seen.”

Collier County School District, Florida-August 5, 2022: “Every child deserves the right to learn from a diverse set of voices and perspectives.”


Reference list

Bayron, K. (2021, April 26). Cinderella is Dead. Kirkus Reviews.

Books Are My Bag—Previous winners. (n.d.). Books Are My Bag. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from

Florida School District Slaps Stigmatizing and Alarming Warning Labels on Books Deemed “Unsuitable” for Children. (2022, August 5). PEN America. school-district-slaps-stigmatizing-and-alarming-warning-labels-on-books-deemed-unsuitable- for-children/

Galluscio, E. (2022, September 19). Banned in the USA Q&A: Kalynn Bayron calls challenges ‘clearly homophobic.’ PEN America. homophobic/

Orozco-Sahi, N. (2021, February 15). Book Review: Cinderella is Dead. Rainbow Round Table Book and Media Reviews.

Presenting the Winners of the 2020 *Book Shimmy* Awards! (2021, January 8). Epic Reads.

Samuels, C. (2022, March 23). Texas Students Distribute BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Books During “FReadom Week” Initiative. National Coalition Against Censorship.

Social Responsibilities Round Table Feminist Task Force. (2021, February 10). 2021 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List [Text]. American Library Association. feminist-book-project-list

Wordery’s Book of the Year Winners. (2021, January 29). year-2020-60142f596bf7a

Young Adult Library Services Association. (2021, January 5). 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers [Text]. Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Young Adult Library Services Association. (2022, February 3). 2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults [Text]. Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Book Resume created by Virginia Library Association and PDSAL