My Rotten Stepbrother . . . Did What???

Anyone who has ever read a fairy tale knows that step-family members are nothing but trouble. Wicked stepmothers, horrible stepsisters, the list just goes on and on.

Fairy-tale-loving Maddie has a stepbrother who is rotten. Horrible. Simply unbearable. Holden does whatever he can to ruin Maddie’s life.

You may remember that Holden ruined Maddie’s Halloween—and the story of Beauty and the Beast—in My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Beauty and the Beast. I’m delighted to have the chance to review the other books in the My Rotten Stepbrother series!


The series starts with My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Cinderella. When Maddie gives a class presentation on her favorite fairy tale, Cinderella, Holden points out to the class that Cinderella’s feet would be sore and swollen after walking home from the ball. He also questions whether someone’s foot size is a good way to identify them, demonstrating with a poll of raised hands that half the class wears the same size shoe as Maddie.

That night, Maddie and Holden discover that Holden’s pointed questions did more than ruin Maddie’s presentation. They ruined Cinderella! Maddie and Holden are magically sucked into the story of Cinderella. It’s the day of the wedding, but instead of marrying Cinderella, the prince is marrying one of her stepsisters! Cinderella’s feet were swollen from walking home and wouldn’t fit into the glass slipper—but one of her stepsisters had the same size feet as her. The prince mistakenly believes the stepsister is his true love. Can Maddie and Holden fix Cinderella?

I have to admit that, just like with the question raised by Holden about Beauty and the Beast, Holden’s questions about Cinderella never occurred to me. Holden is one of the most creative (and skeptical) kids I know!


By the time Holden ruins Aladdin (in book three of the series), Maddie and Holden are experts at the ruined fairytale! In fact, this time, Holden deliberately puts himself and his stepsister into the story of Aladdin.

Not only do Maddie and Holden have to share a home now, but they also share a birthday. Maddie is having a great birthday—her stepmother has helped create an Aladdin theme for her sleepover party. Holden, on the other hand, is having the worst birthday ever. To top it off, he doesn’t receive the hoverboard he really wanted for his birthday present.

After pointing out all of the problems in Maddie’s most recent annoying fairytale, Holden storms off to his room. A few hours later, he sees a picture of Aladdin riding a hoverboard. He realizes that if he and Maddie go into the story of Aladdin, he will get to be Aladdin.

Once magically sucked into the story of Aladdin, Maddie and Holden again have to work together to fix the fairytale Holden has broken. I have to say, this is definitely the funniest of the fairytale situations that Maddie and Holden have found themselves in!

Snow White

The fourth book of the series starts a little differently, with Maddie finding the plot holes to Snow White. Could it be that with Holden out of town, she is actually missing her rotten stepbrother?

Snow White gives Maddie and Holden a chance to examine their own family and their relationship, as they watch the way the seven dwarf brothers act together. They also compare the relationship between Snow White and her stepmother and father to the one they have with their parents at home and realize how fortunate they are.

Over the course of the four stories, Maddie and Holden’s relationship grows from intense dislike to grudging acceptance. They begin to recognize that they need each other, and they get better and better at working together to solve the fairytale challenges before them. (Of course, they still have a lot of work to do, leaving the door open for plenty more installments in this series!) Holden also goes through a journey of self-examination and maturation over the four books.

This series is one of my new favorites, and I’m looking forward to seeing many more from author Jerry Mahoney. Thanks to Mr. Mahoney and Capstone for the opportunity to read these books!

Have you read any great books lately?

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