Friday, February 4, 2011

Review - THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY

The Cinderella Society - Kay Cassidy
Genre: YA Contemporary
# of pages: 322 (hb)
Publisher: Egmont


Sixteen year old outsider, Jess Parker, gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join a secret society of popular girls dedicated to defeating the mean girls of the world. The Cinderella Society guides all new recruits through its top secret ultimate life makeover. It’s all part of preparing them to face down the Wickeds and win. Determined not to let the Cindys down, Jess dives in with a passion. Finally, a chance to belong and show the world what she’s made of.
… be careful what you wish for.
Jess’s transformation wins her the heart of her dream crush and a shot at uber-popularity. Until the Wickeds–led by Jess’s arch enemy–begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a high stakes battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… a
nd herself.


Okay, this is what happens when you make notes about a book, then lose the notes. On top of that, it's been about two weeks since I read The Cinderella Society, and I had been reading three books at the same time. So the bottom line is: I really liked this book, but it kinda bums me out that I forgot some of the specific things I'd written down to talk about.
First things first, The Cinderella Society was a book that I could appreciate. I love books with themes, messages, points...anything useful the reader can take away and perhaps apply to their life. This is a book that is just good for your self-esteem. For one, author Kay Cassidy created a protagonist that most girls will be able to relate to and easily sympathize with. Jess Parker is a smart girl, good head on her shoulders, easily likable and cheer-worthy. But (and there's always a but), she's not without her issues. See, she moves around a lot. And when you're in high school, that's not really a good thing, image-wise. She also has very real insecurities about herself, from her personality to her looks. No matter what your situation or body type is, I think we can all relate to (sometimes, at least) feeling uncomfortable in our skin. As the story progresses, of course, Jess steadily grows in confidence and self-awareness, and it was rather pleasant to watch a character grow, but not grow out of herself.
Even though this is a Young Adult contemporary novel, it kind of had a fantasy feel to it. With the Cinderella Society and their archenemies, the Wickeds, I kept expecting for magic or something to come into the picture. It's a story that's almost a modern-day allegory, especially since it takes so much inspiration from the story of Cinderella. You know how you're supposed to 'suspend disbelief' when you read a work of fiction, especially fantasy/paranormal? Well, as much as I liked this book, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a story, and to just go with the flow. I had a hard time believing that all the girls in the Cinderella Society were so good, and nice, and unpretentious, while the Wickeds were so bad. It's like a good-evil battle, except with semi-good characters on one side and bad, but not 'evil' characters on the other.
For me, even though the concept seemed a little incredulous (even for a story) at times, I can appreciate it for the story's larger messages about self-confidence and so forth.
There was only one thing, story wise, that I still don't know how to process. If you're looking for a book that says that it's only what's on the inside that counts, that materialistic stuff doesn't matter, and neither do looks...this book may disappoint. Because the Cinderella Society is made up of kind, generous, accepting, but also pretty girls. And they still place a big emphasis on fashion, makeup, and things that many may consider 'materialistic.' Some girls may be put off by that. I wasn't, but I will admit to being a little bored by the main character's lengthy fashion and makeover descriptions. But many girls will be able to relate, and again, the message is about promoting what you have and drawing attention away from other parts of you...it reminded me a lot of "What Not to Wear," which is a great show, by the way :)
I will admit to the plot sometimes being a little non-engaging for me, but I read this at the same time as one of my teen friends (16), and she breezed through it. Darn you, dissertations! You've *ruined* my ability to concentrate! Characters were all really strong, and many were downright inspiring. I didn't really like the 'villain' character, but that's the point, isn't it? The only character that really bugged me was the love interest. I don't even recall his name, but he just seemed really fake, and kind of jerky. The protagonist was such a sweet, endearing character, I wished she had better taste in boys! It's one of those YA relationships we're all familiar with: attraction only (and the attraction nearly always starts out one-sided, with a head-over-heals girl and an apathetic jerk/boy) and you're wondering what exactly she sees in him.
Overall, it was a fun, lighthearted read that will definitely speak to teen girls. I'd definitely recommend this book to my younger friends, just with the advisory: "I hope you have better taste in boys than Jess does!"

5 shout-outs!:

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I'm not going to lie...I didn't expect to see this book on your blog! Lol. It didn't seem like one you'd pick up. I'm glad you did though, because I was planning on completely skipping this one, and now I'm putting it on my TBR list. Shows what can happen when we venture outside the box a little bit, huh? Lol.

Liz said...

I actually really liked the descriptions of the makeover! I felt like Cassidy put that in to make a point about how much higher your self esteem is when you like the way you look.

I'm glad you were able to find a contemp that appeals to you!

Blueicegal ♥ said...

Oh my god, Nat! I just said the exact same thing to Amelia on twitter right now! Lol, either we don't know you well enough missy, or we know you to well! It's not my kind of read and I have a feeling it's not really yours either, but I'm glad you grew to like it :)

Christina T said...

I felt the same way about the makeover parts but when I was a teen I know I would have loved it. I think the book has a positive message and hopefully that will be more apparent in future books because they likely wouldn't focus so much on the makeover aspect. Great review!

You might like The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg a little more.

~Sara said...

Great Review! I think I am going to look into it.

 
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