Word Spelunking

Seeing Cinderella - Jenny Lundquist Read the complete and original review at Word SpelunkingTHREE WORDS: Charming, Enchanting, HeartwarmingMY REVIEW: With a magical story, fantastic characters, and wonderful writing, Jenny Lundquist’s Seeing Cinderella has captivated and charmed me completely!Calliope “Callie” Meadow Anderson starts middle school believing she is as far from being like Cinderella as a gal can get. Her parents’ marriage is falling apart, her classmates call her Polka Dot, her best friend is getting chummy with a new girl, her crush doesn’t even know her name, and she’s stuck with the world’s dorkiest glasses. But Callie’s life gets even more complicated when she discovers that her glasses allow her to read people’s thoughts. Too bad she learns things she never wanted to know…like what people really think of her. Toss in a Cinderella play, a secret admirer and a new girl with secrets, and Callie’s middle school life is anything but a fairytale.Everyone who has ever survived middle school knows what a tough, confusing, downright frustrating time those couple of years can be, and Lundquist explores this with humor, honesty and a lot of heart. I adored everything about this MG book! Lundquist offers readers such a relatable, entertaining, and well-crafted story, which is both super fun and touching. The idea behind Callie’s magical mind reading glasses is fantastically unique and refreshing, but never feels over the top. The writing is smart, hip and pitch perfect for its audience. The dialogue sounds authentic and Lundquist’s middle school world is spot on. The main character Callie is adorkably awesome with all of her awkward, endearing charm. This is a character that every reader can relate to, especially us girls, because I think we’re all a bit of a “Callie”. I connected instantly with Callie and felt every ounce of her pain, confusion, joy and heartache. At every turn of the page I found myself nodding enthusiastically and saying out loud “I know EXACTLY how that feels!” or “That happened to me too!”. There’s a great and eclectic supporting cast as well. Callie’s fumbling journey from invisible girl to leading lady is full of crushing crushes, mean girls, unexpected realizations and some pretty big life lessons, and Lundquist maps out this journey beautifully. There are some pretty intense and serious real life situations and problems (divorce, cheating parents, child neglect, body image issues, etc) explored in this book, but Lundquist does a phenomenal job of approaching these things in a way that is both appropriate and easy to understand for her intended MG audience, without underestimating that audience or being cheesy. MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Jenny Lundquist’s Seeing Cinderella is a book that I wish I had as a 12 year old. I would love play the part of the Book Fairy Godmother, and place this novel in the hands of all young girls. This enchantingly sweet, funny and touching book will charm readers of all ages and leave them with a warm heart and a big smile. A definite MUST read!

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