Have I told you how much I love fairy tale retellings?! I know I have…on more than a few occasions!
Today’s review is a contemporary version of Cinderella and its called, If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? by s Kantor.
Wicked stepmother? Check. Evil stepsisters? Check. Miserable life? Check.
Lucy Norton’s life has all the makings of a Cinderella story. Her dad’s always away on business, leaving Lucy with her cruel sstepmother and bratty stepsisters. She’s burdened with chores, and has a hard time fitting in at her new school. So when she sees Connor Pearson, the star player on the varsity basketball team, Lucy hopes her destiny has finally changed. With everything else going on in her life, doesn’t she at least deserve to get the handsome prince?
Sometimes the happy ending isn’t quite the one you’d expect. Lucy’s about to discover the truth about finding her real Prince Charming… and finding herself
This was an adorable and self-aware retelling of Cinderella. One of the things I always disliked about Cinderella’s story is that her father dies in the beginning. I really like how in Kantor’s version, Lucy’s father doesn’t die, he’s just a little (or a lot) absent and blinded to is new wife and stepdaughters’ behavior. The reader gets the same message, that Lucy’s alone without her being completely on her own forever.
Lucy is a pretty normal teenage girl. She’s unique because she’s an artist and a basketball fan, which everyone at school thinks is weird. She’s also the new girl and sits on her own at lunch almost everyday. So when a popular boy and a group of popular girls suddenly start paying attention to Lucy, she struggles with the excitement of suddenly being popular although she knows she doesn’t quite fit in. She see’s things happen at parties that make her uncomfortable yet she really wants the fairy tale prince.
I also like the way in which Kantor doesn’t completely villainize the Stepmother, Mara and the “evil” stepsisters. Yes, Mara and her daughters are at times (most of the time) just a pain in the butt towards Lucy. They don’t welcome her into their family in a fully loving way, but there are times when they all realize that they have misjudged Lucy and where Lucy is faced with the same realization. Lucy learns that the reality you expect isn’t always the reality you actually have (with Mara and Conner). All this said, I do feel like some of the resolution with Mara towards the end happened a little to quick. Was it really Mara’s behavior, or did Lucy just adopt a different mindset? Or maybe it was a mix of both?
What fairy tale would be complete without a cute prince for Lucy to fall in love with? Do not fret! We have a prince, but I can’t say anything more about that without giving important plot points away! Just pay attention for princely behavior!
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? is a fun and light-hearted Cinderella story that will appeal to middle school readers and up and is definitely geared towards girls, who will relate to Lucy’s troubles!
Author: Melissa Kantor
Publisher: Hyperion (Sept. 2, 2005)
Format: Hardcover (Library Bound)
Length: 288 pages
Buy the Book: If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince?