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5 / 30 books. 17% done!

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23 / 165 books. 14% done!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's Cinderella To Do When Her Fairy Tale's Looking More Brothers Grimm Than Disney Princess?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

For some girls, moving to New York, starting over at a posh high school, and buzzing to the city to visit trendy boutiques and galleries would be a dream come true. Not so much for sophomore Lucy Morgan. Her little fairy tale seems to be coming straight from The Brothers Grimm. She's got the absent dad, the wicked stepmother, even the evil stepsisters - if she resembles any of the Disney princesses, it's Cinderella. Pre-prince.

When Melissa Kantor's If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? opens, Lucy is the invisible new girl at Glen Lake High School. At home, it's more of the same - when her dad's not traveling for work, he's busy nuzzling his new wife; when her 12-year-old stepsisters (whom she dubs Princess One and Princess Two) deign to speak to her, it's usually to criticize her fashion sense (or lack thereof); and Mara, her new stepmother, blames Lucy for anything and everything that goes wrong. The only place she can find solace is in the school art room, where she can forget reality and lose herself in painting.

Then, one day, everything changes. Her offhand comment about basketball grabs the attention of Connor Pearson, the hottest guy at Glen Lake High. Suddenly, the cute senior not only knows she's alive, but actually wants to go out with her. Having been acknowledged by the prince, Lucy's popularity skyrockets. Just like that, she's going out with the coolest guy around, she has girlfriends to giggle with, and rumor has it she's in the running for prom queen. So what if things are a little rocky at home? She's finally living out her princess fantasy.

The funny thing is, the more Lucy gets to know Connor, the more she realizes they have nothing in common. She's much more natural around Sam Wolff, an annoying, but incredibly talented artist. Still, Connor's the hottest thing around. Besides, she reasons, "What did Prince Charming know about Cinderella besides her shoe size?" (54). With everything else going on, being with Connor just makes her feel good. Nothing else - not her dad, who always sides with Mara; not the Princesses who can't be bothered to lift a finger; and certainly not Mara, who cares more about finding antiques than getting to know her new stepdaughter - can give her that kind of satisfaction. She's Cinderella - so why isn't she dancing and singing with mice to celebrate her bliss? Where, exactly, is her happily ever after?

If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? is a lighthearted Cinderella story with lots of modern twists. Unlike Disney's bubbleheaded blonde, our heroine is smart, diverse, and not always sweet as honey. She's an EveryGirl, with whom teens will immediately identify. Her story's predictable, but still manages to be interesting and fun. Although Lucy does ask herself some big questions, there's not tons of depth to this novel. It's also not quite as innocent as it sounds - there's some language and while not explicit, there are references to underrage drinking, drug use and partying (see my note below). Overall, though, it's a fast, enjoyable read that will appeal to any girl who's stuck in reality but determined to make her own happily ever after.

Grade: B

If this was a movie, it would be rated: PG (for mild language, some suggestive content, and scenes involving drinking, drugs, and partying)


  1. I stumbled upon your blog and I love what you have to say! I've been reading past entries and may have to go to B&N to pick up a few good books. I also think you are so creative and cool with the book as a movie rating system - I teach 'tweens and that is very helpful for me!

  2. Great book review and you have a wide variety on your blog!


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