Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Cinderella Society
Author: Kay Cassidy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Jess Parker survives by staying invisible. After nine schools in ten years, she's come to terms with life as a perpetual new girl, neither popular nor outcast. At Mt. Sterling High, Jess gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret club of the most popular girls in school, where makeovers are the first order of official business. But there's more to being a Cindy than just reinventing yourself from the outside, a concept lost on Jess as she dives tiara-first into creating a hot new look.
With a date with her popular crush and a chance to finally fit in, Jess's life seems to be a perfect fairy tale. That is until the Wickeds--led by Jess's archenemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers her new sisterhood is about much more than who rules Mt. Sterling High School. It's a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys need Jess on special assignment. But when the mission threatens to destroy her new dream life, Jess is forced to choose between this dream realized and honoring the Sisterhood. What's a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore? (Product description taken from Amazon)
I have spent over fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to start this review. I have never encountered a book where I could easily book talk it to librarians and teens as being easy to read and good for even reluctant girl readers and yet it took me weeks to read it. I also have never had a book where I grumbled through the first 12 chapters and then went on to finish it and sincerely wanted to read the sequel.
Kay Cassidy's debut novel THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY is really a little less about Cinderella and a little more about girl empowerment. On the day of the book's release, I tweeted Cassidy something to the effect that the message of the book was important whether you were a 15 year old teen girl or 45 year old professional woman. And as I attempt to sort through my emotions or feelings about the book, I realize that in many ways my grumbling was really my inner teen insecurities protesting at being disturbed. Most days I can hide behind the "I am a successful, professional woman" facade and pretend like those feelings or struggles with self-esteem or self-worth are safely in the past. However, to be honest, most adult women I know who are successful have gotten there through the support and encouragement of other successful women mentoring them at various times in our lives.
Cassidy took very real struggles and issues that girls face throughout high school and gave them names. The Cindys, a secret club of popular girls whose mission is to embrace their strength and be extraordinary, and the Wickeds, mean girls bent on making life miserable for the Reggies, or regular girls. The Cinderella Society is a sorority or sisterhood that 16 year old Jess Parker finds herself being initiated into after moving into a new town and being the target of the leader of the Wickeds.
The story contains make-overs, hot boys, and a mission to find out the plans of the Wickeds and stop them from the way they torment the Reggies, but the real power of the story is Jess' transformation from the beginning of the book to the end. Without giving too much away, Jess learns that make-overs and having a hot boyfriend and being popular may not always be what it is cracked up to me. There are somethings that may just be more important.
Thanks Kay for reminding me of all of the women who were there to support me since high school and empowered me to become the woman and the professional that I am today.
In honor of the book, I have 10 Cinderella Society bookmarks to give away to the first 10 people who comment about a woman mentor who has made a difference in their life. Please remember to include an email address so that I can contact you about your prize. And even if you don't include a comment, please go out and thank a woman who made a difference in your life.