I'm a sucker for Cinderella plots. My first one was long ago and on the state reading list for eighth graders, you've probably heard of it: Ella Enchanted. The movie by the way is nothing like the book. The only similarity was the names and locations, but this review isn't about Ella Enchanted or the discrepancies between a novel and its movie makeover. Suffice it to say I have followed the Cinderella tale to other novels and movies and heard about Cindy Ella through Twitter not quite two weeks ago.
Cindy Ella takes place in L.A. at Castle Heights High. I found it to be pretty cleverly written. It's stuff full with lots and lots of trivia that will date the book in upcoming years because it's not going to be universally known... the pop culture references include everything from 80s movies, 90s pop music, fashion labels, and celebrities.
Cindy Ella has the usual trappings of the Cinderella plot with a stepmother and stepsisters, but other than that Cindy is relatively normal. Her dad is still alive and in good health. Plus she has a half-brother named Spencer. Also, while Clarissa and the Clones Ashley and Britney are clueless outside of fashion, celebrities, and popularity, they aren't mean like their traditional counterparts. Through in a therapist to help sort it all out and Cindy leads a basically normal blended life.
Cindy Ella Gold is 15 years old and considers herself average. She might be average in looks and smarts, but she's opinionated and has a fairly sassy wit that she channels into writing letters to her school's newspaper editor. They're never published, mostly because she's unpopular and a sophomore to boot. Until now... her letter to the editor about prom puts Cindy on the Untouchable list at school. Luckily for Cindy she has two wonderful friends to help her get through the period where she is socially ostracized.
Cindy has three crushes and no outstanding dating experience. While her social crisis is taking on epic proportions she's finding herself navigating boy drama. The first crush is a boy on internet, with whom she writes and shares her thoughts and daily life with in a way similar to You've Got Mail except it's all done via instant messaging. He refuses to share his name or picture and first contacted Cindy when she was still running a blog. The second boy Cindy crushes on is a boy in her real life. He's into sports (both soccer and basketball) and considered to be the most popular guy in high school. Did I mention he was a senior? His name is Adam Silver. Lastly and most recently added to the list is her 23 year old male SAT tutor, Noah.
Will Cindy be able to juggle boys, high school, and the prom?