What teenage girl feels like an outsider? What teenage girl wants a place to belong? What teenage girl wants to be invited to be a part of a secret society of women, spanning across decades and destined for greatness and influence? Certainly sixteen-year-old Jess Parker fits into all of the above and when she does receive the invitation to be a part of The Cinderella Society, she is overwhelmed and feels undeserving of the privilege. When she makes a few mistakes and doubts her ability to remain a part of the TCS, there are decisions to make, not only in her life, but in the lives of the other Cindys.
By looking at the pink dominating the cover of this novel, as well as the glass slipper and script writing, you would assume that the book is about drama, fashion and other girlie things. And you would be right. But once you get into the depth of the plot and get to know the characters, you will find that there is much more to this novel than high fashion, name-dropping and boyfriends.
Jess Parker is a likable character, one that most readers could relate to, new kid in town living in the shadows of her soon-to-arrive twin brothers and working hard to buy herself a car. Her transformation from the beginning to the end of the novel is, in my opinion, the best part. She encounters real-life difficult decisions, from boyfriends to real friends, from mothers to grandmothers, from fashion to breaking and entering. The confidence she gains as she grows and molds into a true Cindy is potentially inspiring to high school readers struggling with identity and self-worth.
Speaking of high school, I did find the actions of the students involved to be hyped-up and often hard to believe. Yes, teenagers are dramatic and catty. Yes, teenage romance is superficial, but the degree to which the teenage characters react and act in this novel is rather high. However, the emotions that are involved in these actions and reactions are spot on, making the situations and story believable in the end.
The Cinderella Society
by Kay Cassidy
Published by Egmont USA