Monday, July 29, 2013

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor -- OPTIONAL

Kantor, Melissa If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? 320 pgs. Hyperion Books, 2007. $8.99. Language: (19 swears, no 'f'); Violence: PG; Mature Content: PG-13 (some making out in cars, though it goes no further than kissing; some underage drinking and one drug reference, neither of which is condoned).

Ever since Lucy's father remarried, her life has been upended. First she had to move from Los Angeles to New York to live with her new family, which meant a new school, new rules, and no friends. Then her father began traveling back to California to work, leaving Lucy alone with her stepmother and two vacuous stepsisters. Lucy decides it's not fair; after all, even Cinderella got to have a prince. Instead, Lucy spends the first seven months at her new school being completely ignored. Then an ill-advised remark about basketball earns her the attention of the hottest guy in school. Too bad Cinderella may be getting to know her real Prince Charming in the form of a standoffish boy in her art class.

This was a cute read with a hopeful ending -- rushed and tidy though that ending was. As much as I wanted to enjoy the story, however, it was a struggle at times. Lucy often came across as self-centered, judgmental, and snotty, and her snide comments were often unearned by the other characters -- especially her stepmother and stepsisters who, while not perfect, were far from evil. Honestly, many of their problems could have been cleared up with one nice, calm discussion -- something Lucy refused to do because she had already written off her brand new family. It was also difficult to suspend disbelief at times. For example, Lucy is not only unpopular, but completely unknown. Yet with one comment about basketball, this quiet sophomore suddenly has a boyfriend in the form of the hottest guy in the senior class. Almost immediately the two of them start going on dates, making out in his car, and planning their prom. Lucy even has big aspirations toward winning Prom Queen. While the wish fulfillment there is sweet, their relationship is so rushed, and Lucy's turnaround from unknown to Miss Popular so sudden, that it's hard to have much stake in it. When the true romance happens in the end, the payoff is nice but very short-lived. All in all a fun but not particularly memorable story.

HS -- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by: Caryn.

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