Cindy Ella, Robin Palmer's debut novel, is a modern-day realistic Cinderella story without the fantasy elements. Instead of battling her evil stepmother, Cindy battles her frizzy hair. She doesn't have a horrible home life. In fact, even though she doesn't share their priorities, she gets along fairly well with her father, her half-brother, her stepmother, and her stepsisters. The latter are fraternal twins, popular at their school, anxious to get custom-made dresses for prom. Cindy's friends, peace-and-yoga-loving India and suave eighties film buff Malcolm, offer plenty of tongue-in-cheek commentary about the City of Angels and their affluent classmates. While the main characters acknowledge their wealth and the advantages it provides, Cindy herself prefers flip-flops to pricey shoes and doesn't care at all for shopping.
All in all, a fun read. The easily-flustered title character has plenty of embarrassing moments which will endear her to readers. Instead of scrubbing floors or waiting for her fairy godmother to appear, Cindy baby-sits her younger brother, hangs out with her friends, crushes on senior Adam Silver, and chats with her online pal BklynBoy. (Cindy describes her correspondence with BklynBoy as an "e-lationship." I love that.) She's an L.A. girl, yes, but she's very much an awkward teen, stumbling over her own feet rather than coveting glass slippers. Never aspiring for beauty or a crown makes Cindy a real winner. Recommended for fans of The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot or the Lizzie McGuire television series.
Personal Note: The only heels I own are my tap shoes. If someone offered me glass slippers, I'd probably respond, "May I have ballet slippers instead, please?"
Related Booklists: Fairy Tales Retold, Prom
Read my interview with Robin.
Visit author Robin Palmer's official website!