Monday, April 30, 2007

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

It's rough to be left by your Dad on the East Coast with his new wife (the witch) and her snotty daughters (princesses #1 and #2). Worse, you are either ignored or forced to slave away for the family. It makes you think of Cinderella. But life is not really a fairy tale and when the cutest guy at school starts to notice you, you have to get a bit suspicious that it's all too good to be true.

Borrowing a bit of Meg Cabot's it's-to-fabulous-to-be-real-but-boy-ain't-it-fun-to-read-about style, Kantor steers treacherously through realism and fantasy, creating an engaging heroine and a promising dramatic story. Lucy is pleasantly cynical and witty. The stepmother is both vile (in Lucy's descriptions) and strikingly realistic. But the ending falls apart as things fall too conveniently into place. This is a guilty pleasure read (quick and funny) but having set up a great conflict with a difficult family situation, Kantor doesn't seem to know how to resolve the issue and side-steps her way out. So, a disappointing ending on an otherwise promising story.

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